When will Thurbert Baker speak up for Federalism?

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, on his official website, touts his “responsibility to protect the public as well as to uphold the laws and the Constitution of Georgia.” As a candidate for Governor, it would also be safe to assume that he recognizes the important role the office he aspires to has with regard to state’s rights, as the chief executive of Georgia.

Why, then, is he silent about the unconstitutional aspects of ObamaCare?

Down in Florida, their Attorney General (and, coincidentally, a gubernatorial candidate, as well) Bill McCollum, has penned a detailed evaluation of several aspects of ObamaCare and their inherent unconstitutionality. In particular, McCollum said Tuesday that provisions to force Americans to buy health care or pay a fine are not legal and he will file a lawsuit if they become law.

Meanwhile, the sound of silence emanates from the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia.

In particular, McCollum makes several key points:

In a memo sent to the House and Senate leadership, the attorney general called the mandate requiring Americans to get health care a “living tax” that unconstitutionally penalizes people for being inactive.

“Never before has Congress compelled Americans, under threat of government fines or taxes, to purchase an unwanted product or service simply as a constitution of existing in the country (a ‘living tax’),” McCollum wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., Minority Leader Mitch McCollum, R-Ky., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Pa., and Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

According to the attorney general, a citizen’s choice not to buy health insurance cannot rationally be construed as economic activity subject to the Commerce Clause.

“The Commerce Clause gives no authority for Congress to transform a citizen’s individual choice to be inactivein the marketplace into a compulsion to purchase apparently unwanted insurance or be penalized,” he wrote.

McCollum also said that taxes that are directly applied across the citizenry have to be “apportioned by the population of each state.”

McCollum wrote that as attorney general of Florida he is in a position to file suit.

“While affected citizens of every state may pursue judicial relief from the individual mandate provisions, states have standing to sue the federal government to protect their sovereign and quasi-sovereign interests,” he wrote.

Again, I urge one and all to review McCollum’s correspondence to Congress.

Constitutionality cannot be trumped by politics or partisan ideology. There are serious questions of constitutionality related to aspects of pending health care legislation and now is the time for the chief law enforcement officer of Georgia to speak up about these issues. His silence is most telling about the kind of Governor he would be and, for us, most unfortunate.

22 comments

  1. UGAalum says:

    Why is he silent?

    That’s easy – he’s a black democrat.

    His team is not Georgia.

    His allegiance is to The Obamessiah.

    • trainsplz says:

      Uh, no. He’s a Democrat. Race has nothing to do with it, except, apparently, to you. We think either A) it’s as “constitutional” or any other tax is, or B) enough people are raising a stink that it will get appropriately vetted through the Supreme Court when necessary.

      • UGAalum says:

        Of course race is relevant and you are kidding yourself if you think differently.

        I am not suggesting race is relevant TO ME, but I definitely believe that Baker is a proud black man who will fight for his buddy, the first black president.

        • I am not suggesting race is relevant TO ME, but I definitely believe that Baker is a proud black man who will fight for his buddy, the first black president.

          Wow… this may be the most self-delusional sentence that I have ever read. It doesn’t even wait for the next sentence for the contradiction, but rather folds back into itself prior to the period. It’s like a linguistic Möbius strip of ignorance. Kind of beautiful actually, in a strange way.

        • trainsplz says:

          Sure dude, they’re both black. Congratulations. They’ve also both got J.D.s. and y-chromosomes. Perhaps it’s also some sort of dude lawyer conspiracy? I think you’re kidding yourself if you think the fact that they’re both black invalidates my points A and B above.

    • Republican Lady says:

      I read somewhere in December tht Baker is being groomed to take over a federal of course, district court judgeship in Augusta maybe? Did anyone else read that?

  2. bgsmallz says:

    I’m not a big commenter…but it seems odd having family in the health care field that we can compel doctors, hospitals, health care providers to provide services regardless of the ability to pay but we can’t compel those who are guaranteed to be in need of health care at some point…b/c they are alive…to pay for those services pre-emptively(either through a mandatory health savings acct or mandator health insurance mandate), but rather, we allow the system (i.e. insured, gov’t, and health care providers) bear those costs for that person.

    O.C.G.A. § 31-11-82 provides that health care providers must provide economic services regardless of the ability to pay and that isn’t unconstitutional, but when we flip the equation to ‘access must be provided so at some level, you must contribute to maintain that access’ it becomes unconstitutional? I just don’t think it has legs as a strong counter argument and seems driven more from a political agenda than a constitutional law agenda.

    Anyway….”the Commerce Clause gives no authority for Congress to transform a citizen’s individual choice to be inactive in the marketplace into a compulsion to purchase apparently unwanted insurance or be penalized….” isn’t that almost the definition of Social Security taxes? We are forcing those who might choose otherwise to purchase a retirement plan (i.e. insurance at being broke when you are old (vs. insurance at being broke when you get sick…b/c don’t kid yourself into thinking that providing care for a sick person isn’t mandated by law. see OCGA above) or be penalized.

    Regardless, you can’t tell me that even if this mandate would run afoul of the commerce clause that the right to health care might not be found somewhere in the penumbra of the bill of rights. Practically every state has taken the position that at the point of critical care, a person shall not be denied such care based upon ability to pay, race, etc.

    Anyway, I’m not really in support of the health care reform as proposed, but I’m typically of the mind that being conservative means when you declare a service must be provided by law, that typically that service is funded by the gov’t (or help us…provided by the government) and that the burden of its cost is paid for collectively by the citizens that have declared that right to be so.

  3. Rick Day says:

    Sounds like the prudent thing to do.

    Which part? Well, pick one.

    The part whereby he lets other states do all the legal legwork, waiting to see what is crafted, and (having evaluated the complaint on its merits until we can join the other states as co-plaintiffs), probably saving GA millions (ouch) in legal fees. A MOST FISCAL DECISION

    or

    The part where, unlike OTHERS, he does not attempt to abuse his elected position for cheap headlines or petty gain.

    or

    At least he is not banging AGL lobbyists.

    heyoooooooooo

  4. Progressive Dem says:

    Its not a law! It can still change. This how you want Baker to spend his time? It’s a bit premature for state attorneys general to spend their legal resources at this time, unless they believe there is something to be gained politicaly.

    And UGAalum, you got issues, dude.

    • Pete Randall says:

      This how you want Baker to spend his time?

      To write elected officials about the constitutionality of proposed legislation in his capacity as a law enforcement officer? Uh, yeah, that’s how I want him to spend part of his time.

  5. ByteMe says:

    Oh, look, it has a Pete Randall byline and a black politician in the article being attacked for not doing what Pete wants. Wow! It’s a new day!

  6. bluedogdemocrat says:

    I guess Florida doesn’t require car owners to have auto insurance.

    Surprised by the level of racism in this thread.

    Bottom line is you can’t challenge something in court that isn’t law. Even if you are black.

  7. Ken in Eastman says:

    I think some of McCollum’s points may be valid and yes, I think that part of AG Baker’s job is to be an attorney for the state of Georgia and that involves disputes with the US Government. Required purchase of health insurance will be a part of any Dem-based plan so preparing a brief based on that is not a bad idea.

    Besides, settling it in court is much better than hanging federal officials or beginning a shooting war with, oh say, Tennessee.

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