January 5, 2011
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the renewal of Michigan's constitutional challenge to the federal healthcare law commonly known as "Obamacare." Schuette will file paperwork in the U.S. District Court in Florida adding his name as a representative of the People of Michigan in the case. Schuette's lawsuit questions the authority of the federal government under the Commerce Clause to force citizens to purchase health insurance and challenges the vast expansion of the Medicaid program in violation of state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment.
"For the first time in history the federal government is forcing us to buy a product under the threat of a penalty, in violation of the U.S. Constitution," said Schuette. "I will fight Obamacare tooth-and-nail to protect our citizens from this constitutional overreach."
Michigan is joined by twenty states and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in the healthcare lawsuit filed in the United States Northern District Court of Florida. On December 16, 2010, District Court Judge Roger Vinson heard oral arguments for the case. A written ruling is expected in the coming weeks.
NFIB Michigan State Director Charles Owens praised Schuette's decision to continue the legal challenge. "We are thankful that Attorney General Bill Schuette has the courage to stand up to this federal overreach and we are proud to join him and the other state Attorneys General in continuing this lawsuit," said Owens. "We are disappointed that the current administration finds the U. S. Constitution to be an inconvenience. Small business owners everywhere are rightfully concerned that the unconstitutional mandates, countless paperwork requirements, rules and taxes in the new healthcare law will seriously impair their ability to create jobs at a time when our country so desperately needs them."
On October 14, 2010, Judge Vinson denied the Obama Administration's efforts to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing the states' two primary claims to proceed: one count challenging the Constitutionality of the individual mandate, and a second count challenging the commandeering of state resources to expand the Medicaid program in violation of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
Michigan's challenge to the healthcare law is separate from the lawsuit filed by Virginia, which has already earned a favorable ruling from the court. Like Michigan's case, the Virginia case questions the federal government's authority to force Americans to purchase a product as the price of citizenship.
On December 13, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson issued a ruling in favor of Virginia's challenge to federal health care legislation. Judge Hudson struck down the individual mandate, noting in his opinion that the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power" (p. 38). Judge Hudson also rejected the Obama administration's arguments regarding congressional authority under the Commerce Clause.