No public policy goal–no matter how important or well-intentioned–can be allowed to trample the protections and rights guaranteed by our Constitution. To protect all Texans’ constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation’s founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states have filed a legal challenge seeking judgment from the courts that the federal health care take over is unconstitutional.”
The thirteen-state coalition, which includes Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, and Idaho, filed its legal challenge in the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Florida. It was filed shortly after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. The legal action specifically challenges the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and names the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor as defendants because those federal agencies are charged with implementing the Act’s constitutionally impermissible provisions.
HOUSTON — A Texas high school student’s decision to bring a .38-caliber handgun to school in 1992 could end up at the center of the legal fight over President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan. Alfonso Lopez Jr.’s arrest at Edison High School in San Antonio set in motion a legal battle that may prove crucial to 13 state attorneys general fighting the new law.
Lopez, a senior when he was arrested for handgun possession in March 1992, ended up facing federal charges of violating the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. But the Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, threw out his conviction five years later on the grounds that Congress exceeded its regulatory authority under the Constitution when it approved the 1990 law, which makes it a violation of federal law to possess a firearm in a school zone.
In filing a lawsuit last week challenging the new health care law’s mandate that everyone must have health insurance, the 13 state attorneys general — including Greg Abbott of Texas — cited the same legal reasoning that went into the Lopez ruling. At issue in both cases is the Constitution’s commerce clause, which limits the regulatory powers of Congress to matters involving interstate commerce.
In the Lopez decision, conservatives on the court led by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that the 1990 gun law was unconstitutional because it had nothing to do with commerce between states. Upholding the federal government’s right to control guns in school zones would give Congress “a general police power of the sort retained by the states,” Rehnquist wrote for the majority.