Minnesota Democrats sign brief to defend Affordable Care Act


Minnesota Independent
Minnesota Democrats sign brief to defend Affordable Care Act
By Andy Birkey
April 12, 2011


Thirty-four members of the Minnesota Legislature signed a “friend of the court” brief in the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A Florida judge ruled the ACA unconstitutional and the case is currently in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 11th District. The Minnesota legislators filed the brief in support for the ACA’s constitutionality, and they constitute one-fifth of the 154 legislators in 26 states that filed the brief. All are DFLers. The move comes as Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate have included provisions in the health and human services omnibus bills that would ban the ACA from being implemented in Minnesota.

The legislators argue that the ACA is constitutional using the following arguments:

The Framers Wrote The Constitution To Give The Federal Government Legislative Power To Address National Concerns, While Preserving The States’ Ability To Act In Matters That Do Not Require A National Response. The Framers Included The Commerce Clause In The Constitution To Allow The Federal Government To Legislate Affairs Among The Several States That Require A Federal Response. Under The Text And Original Meaning Of The Necessary And Proper Clause, Congress Has Broad Latitude To Employ Legislative Means Naturally Related To The Lawful Objects Or Ends Of The Federal Government. The Affordable Care Act Respects The Federal-State Partnership On Health Care And Preserves Constitutional Federalism.

The Constitutional Accountability Center filed the brief on behalf of the legislators.

“The Affordable Care Act is not only a constitutional exercise of the federal government’s power, it is an example of cooperative federalism at its very best,” CAC President Doug Kendall said in a statement. “Our clients strongly disagree with the state Attorneys General and Governors, some from their own states, about both the constitutionality of the ACA as well as the wisdom of the law, which they believe will strongly benefit their states.”

Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature have offered legislation that would ban the implementation, saying that the ACA violates the 9th and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. DFLers have said the move to ban “Obamacare” — as Republicans call it — was reminiscent of 10th amendment battles earlier in American history including that of slavery and civil rights.

The letter was signed by: Sen. Thomas Bakk, Rep. John Benson, Sen. Linda Berglin, Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Rep. Bobby Jo Champion, Sen. Richard Cohen, Rep. Jim Davnie, Sen. Scott Dibble, Rep. Andrew Falk, Rep. Patti Fritz, Rep. Marion Greene, Rep. Mindy Greiling, Rep. Jeff Hayden, Sen. Linda Higgins, Rep. Bill Hilty, Rep. Larry Hosch, Rep. Tom Huntley, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Rep. Tina Liebling, Rep. Diane Loeffler, Sen. Tony Lourey, Rep. Carly Melin, Rep. Rena Moran, Rep. Erin Murphy, Rep. Mike Nelson, Sen. Ann Rest, Sen. Katie Sieben, Rep. Nora Slawik, Rep. Linda Slocum, Rep. Paul Thissen, Rep. Tom Tillbury, Sen. David Tomassoni and Rep. Jean Wagenius.