More than Half of the States Now Suing to Overturn Obamacare

By Fred Lucas | January 20, 2011 | 11:07am EST

A hearse labeled ‘Obamacare’ joins the Tea Party march on Washington on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009. ( Starr)

( – A majority of the states in America now challenge the constitutionality of the $1 trillion health-care overhaul, commonly called Obamacare.

Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming have petitioned the federal courts to join 20 other states legally challenging the constitutionality the health-care law. With the separate Virginia lawsuit, a total of 26 – more than half the states in the country – are now seeking to challenge the law in court.

The five states have joined a 20-state lawsuit being led by Florida challenging the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance. Virginia filed a separate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the mandate.

The Supreme Court is expected to ultimately decide on the matter. Virginia was victorious at the district court level. The Florida-led suit is still pending. Other jurisdictions have ruled the mandate is constitutional.

“This lawsuit is about standing up for the rule of law and protecting the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement. “Our federal government is designed to be a government of limited, enumerated powers, and we do not believe it has the power to order citizens into commerce so it can then regulate their conduct under authority of the Commerce Clause. Whatever the merits or demerits of health care reform, the ends cannot justify the unconstitutional means.”

Maine Attorney General William Schneider announced his state would ender the lawsuit on Tuesday.

“The federal health care reform law mandates that all citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a costly penalty,” Schneider said in a statement. “This would be an unprecedented expansion of federal power, violating the 10th Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.”

The Florida-led case, of which the small-business advocacy group the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is also a plaintiff, is currently before U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Fla. Oral arguments were held on Dec. 16. This case first challenges the constitutionality of the mandate. But it also challenges the law on 10th Amendment grounds, charging the new law imposes significant costs and burdens on states with Medicaid costs.

“Having more than half of the nation’s states involved in this case, along with NFIB, who represents more than 350,000 small businesses nationwide, sends a strong message to the courts that this law is detrimental to the entire nation and must be overturned,” said Karen Harned, executive director, NFIB Small Business Legal Center.

“The healthcare law sets a dangerous precedent of giving Congress unlimited power to force citizens to purchase private products,” Harned said. “This unconstitutional power grab by the federal government violates the rights of individuals, small business owners and the rights of states to function as sovereign entities. We are excited these additional states have joined our efforts against this unconstitutional law.”

The NFIB announced Wednesday that Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming were joining the fight.

“The federal government simply does not have the right to force someone to buy a product – be it health insurance or any other type of goods or services that an individual may or may not want – or face a penalty,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the Constitution “places limits on the power of the federal government, and these limits must be defended or they will disappear.”

He added: “Never before has the federal government required an individual to either buy government-approved insurance or pay a penalty. And nowhere does the Constitution authorize Congress to regulate in this manner.”

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