Roadblocks continue to be put up against President Obama’s health care law; earlier this week, a U.S. District Court judge in Florida ruled that the law was unconstitutional, becoming the second federal court to rule against the law.
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, who filed an amicus brief supporting the law in the Florida case, appeared during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on the constitutionality of the health care law.
Also testifying at the hearing were former U.S. Solicitors General Walter Dellinger and Charles Fried. In his opening statement Fried defended the legality of the law based on the commerce clause, explaining that insurance has been considered commerce by the Supreme Court since 1944, and if “health insurance is considered commerce Congress has the right to regulate it.”
Conservative governors and state attorneys general in 26 states have objected to the law, which was enacted last March. They’ve specifically railed against the individual mandate or individual responsibility component that will take effect in 2014 and require all Americans to carry health insurance or face a tax penalty.
Opponents argue that the provision violates the Constitution by allowing Congress to compel the purchase of health insurance. In total, four federal courts have taken up consideration of the law. A federal judge in Michigan upheld the law while a Virginia judge struck down parts of the law.
Republican members in the Senate have begun their own repeal efforts. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sponsored an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill that will repeal the health care law.