AG Shurtleff on States Filing Suit Against Federal Government And Health Care Reform

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff was interviewed by Sean Hannity last week regarding the lawsuit the states are filing against the health care bill.

The following are highlights from the interview:

MR. HANNITY: We've been talking to other attorneys general around the country and a lot of them looking at the commerce clause, there are others looking at other constitutional issues. What specifically are you planning on doing?

MR. SHURTLEFF: Well, right now we are in litigation. We have our first scheduling conference already set for the 14th of April, and that one has two things. Number one, individual mandate, absolutely unconstitutional. Number two, Medicaid expansion, unconstitutional, violation of Ninth Amendment, Tenth Amendment, individual states' rights. In Utah we are unique, and this is what we are contemplating, adding our own cause of action, and that is that we are already, our legislature already decided they needed to do something on a state level, a local level, with regard to this issue. So, they created an exchange. Only in Massachusetts and Utah have exchanges. Now what you have is federally elected officials telling state-elected officials what they have to do.

MR. HANNITY: Violation of the Tenth Amendment? Which are you looking at?

MR. SHURTLEFF: Tenth Amendment, separation of powers. You don't have, you can't have a federal government telling your local elected officials what they can and cannot do, especially when it comes to insurance. And our argument in this is, insurance has always been left to the states. That is why it is not a commerce clause, and this expansion --

MR. HANNITY: Do you disagree with you fellow attorneys general from around the country and their argument about the commerce clause, or do you buy that argument?

MR. SHURTLEFF: Absolutely. We are part of that also.

MR. HANNITY: Maybe explain the commerce clause as it relates to the mandate so that people that are not attorneys can understand it.

MR. SHURTLEFF: All right, number one, everybody should know this, the federal government only has so much power as the Constitution says they have and if it doesn't say it, it belongs to the states and the people. Now, for a hundred years the federal courts have expanded that commerce clause saying, well, you can reach out there and do almost anything you want, just say its interstate commerce. That's been what has happened for 100 years.

Last decade, we've had a couple real important decisions and they said it is not unlimited. When it came to guns in schools, the court said, it's unlimited power. Number one, it has to be something that wasn't traditionally left to the states, which insurance has been; and number two, it has to be commerce at its core. Now, a person's decision on whether to have a health procedure, who is going to do it, how I'm going to pay for it, that has nothing to do with interstate commerce. It's unconstitutional, and we want the court to stay implementation of that law until the Supreme Court of the United States, we hope, five-four, will rule it's unconstitutional.


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