Tenn. Lawmakers Join Opposition to Obama Health Care Bill

By Andy Meek

A group of Tennessee lawmakers are joining their counterparts from around the country in registering with the U.S. Supreme Court their opposition to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation, the health care reform bill.

Oral argument before the high court is scheduled for March 27. And the Tennessee legislators have filed a brief with the court as amicus parties, or friends of the court, laying out their arguments challenging the constitutionality of the health care bill’s individual mandate provision.

Signing on to the brief were Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville; State Sen. Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville; Senate Republican Caucus chairman Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro; Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson; and Senate Judiciary Chair Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. They join 77 other Tenn. lawmakers, plus 26 other states and the National Federation of Independent Business in filing as amicus parties.

The centerpiece of their opposition is the component of the new health care law that requires almost all people in the U.S. to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

In a statement, Ramsey said “It is time that states push back to let Washington know that we are not going to stand by idly when this healthcare law so blatantly infringes on the constitutional rights of the states and the personal freedoms of our citizens.”

Norris said that opponents of the law believe state’s rights, individual liberties and “our ability to keep the federal government from infringing those rights” are at stake.

It should be noted Tenn. Atty. Gen. Bob Cooper has not gone along with calls to join in with other states in challenging the law in court.