January 31, 2011
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today praised a federal court ruling in Michigan's lawsuit against portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010, commonly referred to as "Obamacare." The ruling declared the controversial "Individual Mandate" requirement to be unconstitutional. Schuette's lawsuit, joined by 25 other states and the NFIB, questioned the authority of the federal government under the Commerce Clause to force citizens to purchase health insurance.
"I am pleased with this ruling because it confirms the Individual Mandate intruded onto the basic liberties and rights that the Founders envisioned and enshrined in our Constitution for every American citizen," Schuette said. "This is a victory for protecting the Constitution and the freedoms of our citizens."
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled that Congress and President Obama did not have the authority to force citizens to buy a product when they were not participating in the marketplace. In declaring the Individual Mandate unconstitutional and the entire act void, Vinson said:
"It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting --- as was done in the Act --- that compelling the actual transaction is itself "commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce" [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted." (p. 42)
Schuette was disappointed that a second count in the complaint, which challenged the commandeering of state resources to expand the Medicaid program in violation of Article 1 and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, was dismissed. He said he expects the 26 states to review the detailed ruling and discuss soon which action to take in response.