Chris Little, on Thursday’s District Court Ruling that the Federal Healthcare Mandate on Individuals is Without Precedent
The question below was asked to the campaign of Moderate Party Attorney General candidate Chris Little, following Thursday’s District Court ruling allowing the challenge to the Federal healthcare law challenge filed by a group of state Attorney Generals to go forward…
In April, Mr. Little responded to an inquiry from Providence Journal columnist Edward Fitzpatrick regarding the new Federal healthcare law by saying “it seems, in terms of how the Supreme Court has ruled on the exercise of the Commerce Clause, that whether we like it or not, Congress has the power to pass this bill”. This past Thursday, Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District Court of Florida disagreed, stating that “at this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call…The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent” in regard to allowing a challenge to the law made by 20 state Attorney Generals to proceed. Does this court ruling impact Mr. Little’s position on the actions he might consider taking on behalf of the citizens of Rhode Island, with respect to the new Federal healthcare law, if elected as their Attorney General?Chris Little responded by saying:
The only court to rule on the merits of the challenge to the mandate contained in the Act has been the federal court in Detroit, which ruled that Congress has the authority under the Commerce Clause to mandate the purchase of health insurance or assess a penalty. In Florida, Judge Vinson carefully noted:In this order, I have not attempted to determine whether the line between Constitutional and extraconstitutional government has been crossed. That will be decided on the basis of the parties’ expected motions for summary judgment, when I will have the benefit of the additional argument and all evidence in the record that may bear on the outstanding issues.Similarly, the court in Virginia stated that its decision was narrow and merely held that Virginia could bring its case and, like the situation in Florida, that the case should proceed for consideration in light of a more complete record.
Judge Vinson reaffirms what we all know. The mandate in controversy does not take effect until 2014.
There are many immediate and unmet duties of the Rhode Island Attorney General, including those affecting health insurance and Medicaid that should command our first attention, particularly in light of the fact that we have another 4 years truly to assess the impact of this law on Rhode Island.
In short, the opinion of the federal court in Florida does not change my position.