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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Bill Fails Constitutional Test

Don't Let the Facts Get in the Way   [Orrin Hatch]
Faced with plummeting public support, the White House is engaged in a scorched-earth PR campaign to justify its failure to listen to the majority of the American people who oppose this $2.5 trillion health-care bill. They've even started attacking my opposition to the unconstitutional federal individual mandate citing legislation that was introduced as an alternative to Hillarycare back in the 1990s.

To be clear, I supported this alternative to President Clinton's massive federal takeover of the American health-care system, because my number-one priority was the defeat of yet another big-government assault on health care that the people of Utah overwhelmingly opposed. It's that simple.

In the intervening years, I went back and carefully examined, in close consultation with constitutional experts, the legal problems with many of the bills being supported at the time. This needed to be done, because of the hasty nature of the debate which was thrust upon us in 1994. It is simply a fact that Congress has never imposed this kind of mandate before. We concluded, as would any intelligent scholar of the Constitution, that this federal mandate requiring Americans to either purchase health insurance or face a punitive tax exceeds the authority the Constitution has given to Congress.

I have gone to great lengths on the Senate floor, in newspaper columns, and elsewhere to explain my conclusions, because I believe that this is a very important debate. Something, I might add, this administration has not even begun to do because they don't seem to care whether the proposals they support are Constitutional or not.

In contrast, I believe our liberty still requires limits on government, and I am glad that the country is today debating constitutional as well as policy issues. We would all be better off if more "policy experts" took this rational approach.

It's regrettable that instead of examining the legality of their health-care monstrosity, the administration and its allies are simply going on a smear campaign. From one experienced legislator, let me give Washington one very important piece of advice: Don't think you are right 100 percent of the time with everything you do. Arrogance and power are a terrible mix, and one the American people will not support.

One thing is clear: When the legislative battle ends, the legal battles will begin. There's no disputing that fact.

— Orrin Hatch is a Republican United States senator from Utah.

And released from the Senator's office, on his web site 3.24.10

WASHINGTON – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, today said he supports Utah joining with other states to sue the federal government over a provision in the $2.5 trillion bill that requires every American to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced today that Utah will join other states in challenging the constitutionality of the health care bill adopted by the House on Sunday and by the Senate in December. Hatch said a challenge on constitutional grounds is in order.
“Congress has overstepped its legal authority by telling Utahns and other Americans that they must buy health insurance or else,” Hatch said. “The Constitution empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, but not to tell Americans what they can buy. And this is just one of the constitutionally suspect provisions in the legislation. So I commend Mark Shurtleff’s and other state attorney generals’ plan to challenge this unconstitutional Washington mandate that encroaches on states’ rights and Utahns’ personal liberty, and I will do all I can to assist them in their efforts.”  

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