St. Paul, Minn. (May 12, 2011) – Last week, Wednesday, Republican legislators from Minnesota and North Carolina filed an amicus brief supporting the twenty-six plaintiff states in their case against the federal government challenging the federal healthcare legislation signed into law last year by President Obama.
The act was found unconstitutional by Judge Roger Vinson in U.S. District Court. Led by Representatives Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) and Doug Wardlow (R-Eagan), the brief was joined by 92 Minnesota Legislators, including House and Senate Leadership, as well as leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly.
“Our amicus brief adds the voices of the representatives of the people of Minnesota and North Carolina to the growing chorus of opposition to ObamaCare’s unprecedented usurpation of state sovereignty,” said Rep. Wardlow.
In addition to the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate that fines or jails people for not purchasing health insurance, the legislators assert that the healthcare law exceeds Congressional spending authority granted in the U.S. Constitution and defined by the Supreme Court.
“State Legislators take an oath to uphold our state and federal Constitution, and it is our duty to not be complicit in allowing the federal government to violate the Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment-no matter how good or bad the legislation is,” said Rep. Westrom. “Today, we are defending states’ rights and standing up for individual freedoms our Constitution intentionally intended to reserve to the people and states.”
Both states express concern that massive new costs to states will crowd out established state spending priorities, and will inhibit the ability of legislators to address future state needs. “We will not roll over when federal authorities abuse their power and pass unconstitutional laws,” added Sen. Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate.
“Minnesotans want us to challenge ObamaCare in every aspect and at every level,” said Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen). “The financial burden on the state budget is immense and the extraordinary plan to require individuals to purchase insurance deserves close examination by our courts. Congress violated the limits of the Commerce Clause in imposing these new mandates; this provision in our federal constitution has never been used in this way.”
The brief was drafted, pro bono, by Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and counsel for the North Carolina General Assembly. Mr. Bader also crafted former Gov. Pawlenty’s brief supporting the states in this matter.