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Attorney General Corbett files lawsuit challenging constitutionality of health care reform law

March 23, 2010

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today joined attorneys general from 12 other states in filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation, signed into law by President Obama.

Corbett said the health care law imposes an unconstitutional mandate requiring citizens to purchase health insurance.

"Congress does not have the constitutional authority to enact this requirement," Corbett said. "This law threatens every citizen's individual liberties."

Through this law, the federal government asserts its power to regulate interstate commerce, forcing people to buy health insurance.

As part of the lawsuit, the attorneys general contend that regulating and penalizing private decisions would leave no areas of individual decision-making beyond the reach of the federal government.

Corbett said that although Congress can regulate insurance, it does not have the authority to impose an individual mandate to purchase health insurance.

"With one strike of the pen, our government has thrown out the constitutional framework developed by the Founding Fathers, and expanded the Commerce Clause to include unprecedented power to regulate and penalize private decision not to engage in commerce."
"The legislation signed today also creates a greater financial burden on the states and renders the Tenth Amendment meaningless," Corbett said. 
The Tenth Amendment, which was ratified on Dec. 19, 1791, restates the Constitution's principle of federalism and provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Corbett noted that the United States Supreme Court has previously ruled that Congress cannot regulate non-commercial activities in United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000).
Pennsylvania is joining Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Washington in filing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit will be filed in Federal Court in the Northern District of Florida.