Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today appeared in federal district court, where he represented the State of Texas during legal arguments over the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law.
Last March, Attorney General Abbott and a bipartisan coalition of state officials from across the country challenged the constitutionality of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Today’s oral argument was the final court proceeding before U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is expected to rule on the law’s constitutionality sometime next year.
“The federal health care law violates our Constitution by imposing an unprecedented mandate on individual Americans and requiring states to spend billions of additional dollars on health care programs,” Attorney General Abbott said.
“Congress has limited powers and cannot simply force Americans to purchase health insurance. Just this week, a federal court in Virginia agreed with our interpretation of the Constitution, ruling that Congress exceeded its authority and striking down the insurance mandate as unconstitutional.”
Today’s hearing follows Judge Vinson’s October 14 decision rejecting the federal government’s motion to dismiss the States’ legal challenge. In a similar lawsuit being brought against federal health care reform by the Commonwealth of Virginia, a federal judge ruled on Monday that the law’s individual mandate provision is unconstitutional.
In addition to Texas, the 20-state coalition challenging the federal health care law includes Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Alaska.
The lawsuit is filed in the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Florida. The states are joined in this lawsuit by the National Federation of Independent Business, and individual plaintiffs Mary Brown and Kaj Ahlburg.
The States’ legal challenge was filed immediately after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. It specifically 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.
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