Flashback: Leahy on Obamacare's Constitutionality: 'Nobody Questions' Our Authority

August 12, 2011 - 2:51 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- While a federal appeals court ruled today that the mandate in Obamacare requiring individuals to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dismissed a question in 2009 about Congress' constitutional authority to impose such a mandate.

At the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 22, 2009, CNSNews.com asked Leahy, “Where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?”

Leahy said, "We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there is no authority? … Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there’s no question there’s authority. Nobody questions that.”

In today’s ruling, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Atlanta, stated: “This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives.”

Michael W. Chapman contributed to this report.