Liberty Counsel Will Sue if Current HC Bill Passed

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President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have made a deal with the nation's top labor unions on the health care plan.

The deal settles a dispute over a plan to tax high-end health care plans. Labor unions have agreed to the plan, but got a deal that will significantly soften the impact of the proposed tax.

But some lawyers question the constitutionality of parts of the bill and if it becomes law, they may take it to court.

People may think the White House and Capitol Hill are where the future of health care in America is being decided. But if some conservative legal scholars have their way, it will actually be decided in the Supreme Court

The attorneys say the proposed reform is clearly unconstitutional, especially the absolute mandate that everyone in America must buy health insurance.

"If you're sitting at home minding your own business, you have no choice," said Ken Klukowski, senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union. "You must purchase health insurance or you will be violating federal law and subject to penalty from Washington D.C."

Attorney Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, said if that mandate is in the final bill, the Liberty Counsel will sue.

"This is a huge power grab that goes beyond health insurance, because if Congress were to have this kind of authority, then Congress could micromanage every aspect of our private lives, override our liberty, and trample state sovereignty," Staver said.

The president has suggested this is no different than the mandate that states have that their citizens must buy car insurance. But critics say that is really not true.

"If you choose to use public transportation, if you choose to walk, if you choose to ride a bike, or if you choose to travel on private roads, you do not need car insurance," Klukowski said.

The special deal cut to get Sen. Ben Nelson's, D-Neb., vote for health care reform appears so unconstitutional to the attorney generals in 13 states, they are threatening to sue if it is not removed.

"Then the rest of us who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution will have to begin looking at what remedies are available to us to vindicate and protect the Constitution," said Alabama Attorney General Troy King.

Some say the federal government can use the interstate commerce clause as a justification for making everyone buy health insurance. But legal experts point out that clause is about regulating buying and selling, not forcing it.

"Congress is now trying to force you to purchase a product," Staver said. "Clearly, Congress doesn't have that authority."

Even if President Obama and Congress can agree on a bill, that does not mean the fight over health care reform legislation is over. Opponents hope that the justices sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court will decide the measure is basically unconstitutional.

*Originally published January 15, 2010. 

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.