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Opponents Work To Block Health Bill At State Level

Publication Date: 
March 23, 2010
National Public Radio (NPR)
Nina Totenberg

Professor Michael McConnell talked to National Public Radio's Nina Totenberg about constitutional conflicts arising from state challenges to federal health care reform legislation:

Once President Obama signs the health care bill into law, look for opponents of the bill to move quickly to the next front: attacking it as unconstitutional.

Opponents have been gearing up for the legal fight for months. Some of the challenges that will be filed in court are widely viewed as frivolous, while others are not.

The first will likely come from states that have enacted laws to exempt themselves from the bill. The Goldwater Institute's Clint Bolick is among those who have spearheaded the drive in the states to opt out of various provisions in the law, including the mandate to buy health insurance.


Conservative scholar and former federal appeals court Judge Michael McConnell agrees that states' opt-out laws are legally meaningless.

"If the mandate is constitutional," he says, "then the state statutes are pre-empted" — they are trumped by federal law. And "if the federal law is unconstitutional, the state laws are unnecessary."