Republicans might hire lawyer to sue over health reform

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 4:30pm

Led by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Tennessee Republicans began pressing their resolution Wednesday to urge the state attorney general to sue to block national health care reform, warning they might hire their own lawyer to take action if he refuses.

The Senate Judiciary Committee adopted the resolution 6-2 and sent it to the full Senate for almost-certain passage as early as Monday. The companion House resolution likely will come up for its first votes next week, legislators said.

At a news conference, Republican legislators said they believe the new health care law is unconstitutional, mainly because it mandates that all Americans buy insurance.

“If the federal government can start mandating that citizens buy a product from a private company, where does it end? So yes, it’s a dangerous precedent,” Ramsey said.

If Attorney General Bob Cooper refuses, Ramsey said the Republican-run legislature could consider hiring a special counsel to join 16 other states that already have filed suit.

“We’re taking it a step at a time, to be honest,” the Senate speaker said. “First, you urge him to do that. … If he refuses, then you look at the next step. I don’t know what that’ll be right now. But I think we would have the power to hire outside counsel if it came to that point.”

The states already suing charge that the law exceeds Congress’ powers to regulate commerce, violates 10th Amendment protections of state sovereignty, and imposes an unconstitutional direct tax. Cooper is reviewing whether to join that lawsuit, according to his spokeswoman, Sharon Curtis-Flair.

But Tuesday, he signaled his possible reluctance to do so in an advisory opinion on legislation that purports to nullify the national law. That legislation, the so-called Health Freedom Act, likely would be ruled a violation of the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which holds that federal law supersedes those of the states, Cooper said inhis opinion.

Republican senators also are pushing a proposed state constitutional amendment to require the popular election of the attorney general, who now is appointed by the Supreme Court. The Senate adopted the resolution two years ago, and the Senate Judiciary Committee passed it again Tuesday, but it has failed to advance in the House.

Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, said Cooper’s advisory opinion on the Health Freedom Act shows the need to change the way Tennessee picks its attorney general.

“We need to popularly elect our attorney general as all of the other states do so that he’s not beholden to anybody except the people of the state of Tennessee,” Beavers said. “I think he should defend the people of the state of Tennessee. There are a lot of questions about the constitutionality of the new health care.”

At Wednesday's Judiciary Committee meeting, only Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, spoke out against the resolution urging Cooper to sue. 

“Congress passed this legitimately by a majority vote, and the majority of the people in the United States are happy about this,” she said. “I think it’s a sad state that there are some people who are unhappy about this legislation, and they are taking it upon themselves to speak for the entire state of Tennessee.”

13 Comments on this post:

By: skyduck on 4/7/10 at 3:50

What an EXCELLENT way for the Legislature to spend some of that excess money the State has! What a bunch of goofy goons. The state is laying off employees right and left and they want to waste money on this.

Regardless of how you feel on the issue......THIS IS A WASTE OF MONEY AND WHOMEVER VOTES FOR IT SHOULD BE VOTED OUT!

By: nashvillecortes on 4/7/10 at 4:08

I dont support the current bill..

but I definately do not want 1 single penny of tax payer dollars to pay for a lawyer to do the job we are paying you to do.

you have 3 options ( to everyone in office... all parties )

1. figure out how to fix this mess every single one of you on all sides made right now, without farming out law making to the private sector.

2. wait till the elections , (by then maybe americans will actually know whats in the bill) and the people that Americans ELECT can fix this.

3. Get out now (and you ain't keepin the car)

we need to fix this thing for sure (meaning both this horrible bill, and folks not having insurance) <-- just making sure your listning

All Parties are smoke and mirrors.. if you go right down and vote all D's - R's - or TP's (is that pc ?) then you need to stay home and not vote. You are not helping. Do not be selfish on any side and think about only your needs wether you own a retail chain or are a construction worker.. rich folks or poor folks please think about what YOU (not what some one tells you)is needed to keep this country great for all citizens. We need retail chain owners and construction workers.. but what we need most is the ability for the construction worker to become a retail chain owner if he puts in the hard work . Sam Walton anyone ? This is the American Dream. This is what we need to protect with OUR VOTE.

disclaimer* I'm poor but working hard.. I don't have health insurance but need it. I do not in any way support the part of this bill that forces americans to buy health insurance no matter what their personal choice is. I think that is highly anti american.. and will start the country down a road we will never get back from as far as Fed control goes.

By: JohntheGreat on 4/7/10 at 4:10

If this legislation (healthcare) is unconstitutional because it mandates all Americans purchase insurance. Then the state's legislation that mandates all drivers of motor vehicles to purchase insurance must be unconstitutional as well. Stupid Politicians!!

By: nashvillecortes on 4/7/10 at 4:14

@ Jonathan. You can choose not to drive.. but you can't choose not to be born.

By: JohntheGreat on 4/7/10 at 4:35

nashvillecortes. And you can't choose not to get cancer. Your comment supports healthcare reform!

By: nashvillecortes on 4/7/10 at 4:42

yeah I do support healthcare reform. They popped a "zit" on my leg and I got a 3,000 medical bill. It took a nurse literrally 5 minutes (but i got charged 1,250 for a doctor) they used a needle and a piece of gauze and some iodine (but they charged me 700 for pharmacy) and some various other fees.

Does the current plan fix that ? Because thats why I cant afford Insurance.

just giving everyone the equal opportunity to get $3,000 zit popping care fixes nothing... and will break the country's back.

By: free thinker on 4/7/10 at 7:57

The Attorney General of Tennessee performed his job exactly as required. He analyzed the issue and advised based upon LAW. The Judicial branch of representative government has no room for politics, opinions nor emotions; those traits are expected to stay outside the door of justice. In this case, the attorney general did just that.

By: pswindle on 4/7/10 at 9:36

There are so many in TN that do not have health insurance, and this is a way to level the playing field. Why should a few pay for the many? This way everyone will pay to into the pot and it will make it easier for all of us.

By: morpheus120 on 4/8/10 at 8:19

Here's a case of why Democrats should have supported some kind of tort reform.

These junk lawsuits by greedy Republican trial lawyers are costing taxpayers and businesses money.

Tennessee Republicans are about as responsible with OUR MONEY as the national Republicans were when they took the Clinton surplus and ran up the largest debt in the history of our country.


By: morpheus120 on 4/8/10 at 8:28

Hey NashvilleCortes, that $3000 zit-popping operation was courtesy of your private sector healthcare industry.

You think Medicare would have paid that claim? Hell no.

And remember, Republicans fought against getting rid of this waste, fraud, and abuse because their donors in the insurance industry wanted them too. If liberals had gotten their way with the public option, you could have gotten a gov't insurance policy instead of a private sector one that would never have paid that $3K. Hell, the hospital wouldn't have even asked for it in the first place because they would be scared at losing 45 million customers who had the public option.

Y'all just need to use some common sense and get the facts instead of listening to those retards on Fox News who are just in it for ratings.

By: morpheus120 on 4/8/10 at 8:34

NashvilleCortes says: "I do not in any way support the part of this bill that forces americans to buy health insurance no matter what their personal choice is. I think that is highly anti american.. and will start the country down a road we will never get back from as far as Fed control goes."

It doesn't force you to do anything. If you don't have insurance, then you are one of the people who are driving up the costs for everyone else. It might be your fault, it might not, but you're still costing the rest of us money. So to offset that, you will pay a small tax to make up for what you are costing us.

Don't like that? Then go find a job that offers health insurance or pay for it out of your own pocket. It's your choice. No one is forcing you to do anything.

You don't know what you're talking about - quit listening to Fox News and right-wing radio. They are liars and are looking out for their sponsors - not you.

By: pswindle on 4/8/10 at 5:51

If you do not have insurance, and you get sick, who in the Hell do you think is paying for it? We that have insurance. That is why my insurance goes up every year with less coverage. If I do not have insurance, can I go to the doctor or hospital for free.
No, someone wil help pay for mine when they raise their premiums.

By: idgaf on 4/10/10 at 2:36

The Massachuttes plan which this was modeled on is a complete disaster. Higher premiums then anywhere in the country and increased waiting times to see a doctor (45 days)

Did we forget about our experience with TnCare so soon that threatened to consume the entire state budget?

Only a fool would think you can insure 30 million more people many who you have to subsidize for less money and maintain the same leval of care with the same amount of personel.

"Free" care which many will be getting will increase demand not reduce it.

It is a progressive fantasy that threatens this whole country. 50% pay no income taxes now (some even make money from it) so how are they going to contribute anything?