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Legal Challenge to Health Care Law Gets McConnell’s Support

Correction Appended

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to file an amicus brief supporting a federal lawsuit challenging the health care overhaul championed by President Barack Obama, and he invited Republican Senators on Tuesday to join him.

In a letter encouraging all sitting GOP Senators to sign on to the amicus brief, McConnell cited the results of last week’s midterm elections as evidence that the American public opposes the health care law, while arguing that the statute is unconstitutional. A senior Republican Senate aide said Senators-elect are also welcome to sign on.

McConnell asserts in the amicus brief that the law’s mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. If the mandate is allowed to stand, he argues, there will be no limit on Congress’ power to regulate the citizenry, essentially granting the federal government “general police power” that blurs any distinction between Washington, D.C., and the states.

“While I strongly believe that we should repeal the law and replace it with the types of commonsense reforms Americans support, I also strongly support the efforts of over twenty States that have challenged this law in the courts,” McConnell wrote in the letter, dated Tuesday.

“As the Supreme Court has noted,” McConnell continued, “the Framers of our Constitution conceived of limitations on government ‘to ensure protection of our fundamental liberties.’ By preventing ‘the accumulation of excessive power,’ the Constitution is designed to reduce ‘the risk of tyranny or abuse from either’ state or federal government. … The [law] would remove an important bulwark of this protection. I hope you will join me in arguing to the court in the attached brief why that should not happen.”   

McConnell plans to file the amicus brief in U.S. District Court in Florida next week. The lawsuit challenging the health care overhaul was originally brought by a group of state attorneys general. In October, a federal judge ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, rebuffing an Obama administration argument that it was without merit.

Correction: Nov. 9, 2010

The article misstated to whom Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s letter was addressed. He wrote to Republican Senators on Tuesday.

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