26 states vs. Obama’s lawyers in health care reform law appeal

healthcare reform newsTwenty six states have argued against lawyers representing President Barack Obama in an appeal over the government’s healthcare reform law. 

This new law is one of the foundation elements of Obama’s presidency and has been met with significant controversy.  The arguments were presented in Atlanta to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

According to Neal Katyal, senior administration lawyer, the main argument of the government is that the health care reform law is constitutionally sound for three primary reasons: 

  • Under the constitution, congress has the authority to regulate the interstate commerce issue of requiring everyone to have health care coverage.
  • If that requirement did not exist, it would damage the ability of the government to regulate the health insurance market.
  • The federal deficit will decrease as a result.

Katyal said that these points are each an independent argument that gives constitutional grounds to the act, and that “each becomes even weightier still when viewed alongside the current standard rule that a strong presumption of constitutionality inheres to acts of Congress.”

On the other hand, Paul Clement, former solicitor general, representing the 26 states pursuing repeal, has said that there is no precedence for the use of the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by the government in order to require citizens to join a market or buy into something that they may not have, if the obligation had not existed.  

When speaking to the court, Clement said that when all is said and done, what must be decided is if the federal government is within its right to “compel an individual to engage in commerce the better to regulate the individual.”

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