According to the announcement, proponents of the health reform bill claim that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress authority to regulate commerce among the states, gives the federal government authority to require every citizen to purchase health insurance. However, Stenehjem said: “The US Constitution grants enumerated and limited authority to the federal government. It may only act in areas that are specifically permitted. In enacting this legislation, Congress stretches its authority under the commerce clause beyond the limit.”
The suit was originally filed by attorneys general in Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Louisiana, and Colorado – with Florida taking the lead (see Obama Signs Health Reform and the Fight Begins) and, according to the Stenehjem announcement, Indiana announced last week that it also would join.Virginia is pursuing its own lawsuit after lawmakers passed a bill banning mandated health insurance in the state (see VA Lawmakers Approve Ban on Mandatory Health Coverage), and in Georgia, Republican lawmakers are calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Thurbert Baker for not joining the suit (see GA Bill Would Require State’s Permission to Implement Health Reform).