Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obama DOJ moves to dismiss health reform lawsuits of 20 states

In a motion filed late Wednesday, the Justice Department asked the Federal District Court in Pensacola to dismiss lawsuits by  20 states challenging the constitutionality of  President Obama's health care reform law.  From The Associated Press:
The motion filed late Wednesday says the U.S. District Court in Pensacola lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over some claims raised in the suit. The motion also says other parts of the lawsuit fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted.

A key issue in the suit by the states, National Federation of Independent Business and several individual taxpayers is whether the federal government can require individuals to purchase health care insurance and fine those who fail to do so.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Thursday that the government's defenses clash with comments Obama made during the health care debate, "including the president's insistence on national television that the purchase mandate was absolutely not a tax."

In its arguments for the motion to dismiss, the Justice Department says the requirement to buy coverage is an exercise of Congress' constitutional power to tax and spend.

"The Supreme Court has long held that an exercise of this power is valid, even if it has a regulatory function, even if the revenue purpose is subsidiary, and even if the moneys raised are 'negligible,'" wrote a team of government lawyers led by Assistant Attorney General Tony West.

Karen Harned, executive director of National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center, called the administration's argument a "bait-and-switch move" because of Obama's prior no-tax statements. She said the law itself does not used the word "tax" for the insurance requirement.
The Investor's Business Daily calls out the Obama administration for overt duplicity in wrapping the issue in the Congressional authority to tax and spend:
According to Obama’s Justice Department, the individual mandate is constitutional because “requiring individuals to buy health insurance is an exercise of Congress’ taxing authority.” (The National Federation of Independent Businesses has more here.)

President Obama insisted repeatedly during the health care debate that the individual mandate is “absolutely” not a tax increase.

More broadly, the administration’s legal position could create a big political problem. Back on Sept. 12, 2008, Obama said:

I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.

On multiple occasions Obama promised, “you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime.”

Some argue that Obama already violated that pledge when he signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan bill that boosted cigarette taxes. And that may, indeed, be the case.

But the individual mandate “tax” hits almost everyone and gives people no choice.

If the administration continues with its legal position, Obama is admitting he’s violated his tax pledge, giving political fodder to Republicans. But if he stops the DOJ, that weakens the case for an individual mandate, a critical part of ObamaCare.

Maintaining a campaign pledge vs. ramming through the transformation of American society? That’s a no-brainer for this president.
The chicanery of the Obama administration continues to astonish.  But what do you expect when the Speaker of the House of Representatives got away with this?


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