Tennessee might use outside lawyer to sue over insurance mandate

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Well this is getting more interesting as it goes………….Good for the Senate Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey….

Tennessee might use outside lawyer to sue over insurance mandate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline)-If Tennessee’s attorney general will not file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionally of the new federal health care law, the leader of the state Senate said outside counsel might be needed to handle the matter on behalf of legislators.

Senate Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Wednesday that he is prepared to ask an independent attorney to challenge a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to have medical coverage by 2014 or face financial penalties.

More than a dozen state attorneys general are already challenging the provision, which President Barack Obama signed into law this month.

Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper and many other Democratic AGs contend that the group of mostly Republican attorneys general suing is misguided in their effort.

On Tuesday, Cooper said state lawmakers’ effort to sidestep the national health care overhaul may be preempted by federal law and thus be unconstitutional.

Cooper additionally said his office could not defend or enforce the proposed Tennessee Health Freedom Act, noting that the plan outlined in Senate Bill 3498 conflicts with the new national health care law by prohibiting laws that require individuals to have health insurance.

Cooper’s opinion stated that the legislation, now pending in the House Commerce Committee, would be superseded by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, he said the bill raises issues over the separation of powers.

But Ramsey, a Republican candidate for governor this year, said Cooper has not looked at the broader question of whether the health care overhaul itself is constitutional.

“The attorney general issued an opinion that said that the federal supremacy laws and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution takes precedence over state law,” Ramsey was quoted by Nashville Public Radio as saying. “I’m not arguing that. To argue that, you assume that this bill is constitutional. First you challenge the constitutionality of it, before you can say that the federal constitution takes precedence over the state constitution.”

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.


Constitutional Ignorance from the Tennessee Attorney General

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Here’s a great article from Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center who was on the Mike Slater show this morning explaining how Bob Cooper our AG didn’t know what he was talking about saying the “Supremacy Clause” in the Constitution made passing the Tennessee Healthcare Freedom Act unconstitutional. I agree with Michael Boldin, the AG doesn’t know what he is talking about. Bob Cooper the AG left out part of the Constitution talking about the “Supremacy Clause” when it says all law must be pursuant to the Constitution or in other words the law just passed and signed into law must fall into the category of being one of the “enumerated powers” granted them by the States in the Constitution before the “supremacy clause” applies.  Giving the federal government the authority to demand citizens buy a product isn’t one of the “enumerated powers”, therefore Obamacare is unconstitutional. (my comments in red.)

Constitutional Ignorance from the Tennessee

In an opinion released today on the Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act (HFA), State Attorney General Robert Cooper informs us that the Act is unconstitutional (and in essence, shouldn’t be passed by the legislature).

Here’s his argument, in short (read the full opinion here):

Congressional power to preempt state law arises from the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. The Supremacy Clause provides that the laws of the United States “shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding,” U.S. Const. art. 6, cl. 2. ( Bob Cooper left out part of it, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;” ….”pursuance thereof” ….in other words the law must be in accordance to the enumerated powers granted in the Constitution.)

He continues:

The Supremacy Clause results in federal preemption of state law when: (1) Congress expressly preempts state law; (2) Congress has completely supplanted state law in that field; (3) adherence to both federal and state law is impossible; or (4) the state law impedes the achievements of the objectives of Congress.

My first question to the AG is this – why did you leave the most important part of the “Supremacy Clause” out of your opinion….was it because you’re unaware of it, or were you intentionally trying to obfuscate and keep it out of the public discussion?

Reading the full clause should make clear to the reader why I ask this question:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. [emphasis added]

Interesting how Mr. Cooper didn’t include the absolute fact that for a federal law to be supreme, it must be a law made IN PURSUANCE of the Constitution….the very limited powers delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, that is.

HFA 1, Cooper 0

Also in Cooper’s “Federal Law is Supreme” rant, the AG seriously takes the position that Federal Law is supreme, as he alluded, pretty much as long as Congress decides to be supreme. In essence, he’s claiming that Congress has a VETO power over state laws that conflict with it. (Let’s see if I have it right, using the AGs logic if Congress passes a law banning the ownership of all guns and it’s signed into law, then the supremacy clause kicks in and it’s Constitutional in every state just because the bill was passed?…..Wrong! A bill can’t violate the Constitution and be legal, in this example the 2nd amendment would be violated by this hypothetical bill and therefore it wouldn’t be Constitutional even tho Congress passed it and the president signed it into law. Same with Obamacare, just because it’s signed into law, doesn’t mean it’s supreme law of the land, because it’s not one of the enumerated powers granted to the Federal government in the Constitution.)

This is verification, to me, that the AG either is lying about his constitutional knowledge, or is simply unaware of the history of the Constitution’s ratification.

The REAL history of federal power is this – during the Constitutional Convention, members proposed what became known as the “Virginia Plan.” This, if it were approved, would have given Congress the power to veto state laws as it saw fitand as the AG has claimed as well.

The problem though, for lovers of federal power (like the Attorney General of Tennessee) is thisthe constitutional convention considered this plan, and rejected it.

HFA 2, Cooper 0

So what the AG is arguing for is something that the Founders said NO to. Instead, they created the Supremacy Clause, which made clear that federal law is supreme only when in line with the enumerated powers in the Constitution – not whenver they want, which is what he is, in essence, claiming.

Bottom line? Either he’s unaware of this plain and simple historical fact (as most State Attorney Generals are), or he’s obfuscating in order to stop this essential measure from being passed.

My guess on this would be…


Here’s the reality of the situation – the Constitution means what the Founders and Ratifiers told us it means, not what the Attorney General of Tennessee hopes it means. (“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” –James Madison}

HFA 3, Cooper 0

It’s my hope that the legislature of Tennessee will continue to show the courage they’ve been showing in recent history – with passage of the state sovereignty resolution and the Firearms Freedom act – and defy these blatant falsehoods from both Cooper and the Federal Government.

CLICK HERE – for Professor Brion McClanahan’s essay on the Supremacy Clause

CLICK HERE – for the Tenth Amendment Center’s Federal Health Care Nullification Act

Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Tenth Amendment Center.com

UPDATE; Tennessee AG Will Not Join the Other 14 States Sueing Over Obamacare-Says Challenges Are Unconstitutional

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Here’s some updated info I just learned about late tonight, thanks to a friend in the Tennessee Town Hall forum:

Hey Mike, HB 3433 was filibustered by Rep Naifeh in the Commerce Committee this morning…they voted to adjourn to next week (not sure date and time as yet) to stop him. He was claiming the above comment by Cooper and began reading the letter by him including semi-colons etc. Not sure, but parliamentary procedure may have him talking and talking and talking next week when they reconvene. Rep Favors also tried to block this bill this morning. Next week, at this meeting, we need to all be there again with power to demand they pass this bill…..phone calls continue. Apr 15 Tn Tea Party is holding Tax Day Rally at Municipal Aud all day and we will march midday to Capitol to hear some of our legislators speak to this issue. (Still working the details of this).

I can not believe our AG is saying these challenges are unconstitutional. Well this just goes to show our AG doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The “supremacy clause” is not valid if a federal law isn’t one of their 17 enumerated powers, because therefore they don’t have the authority to enforce such a law. I can’t believe a man in that position said this. Even I know the supremacy clause isn’t relevant with this bill. At least 14 other States know it and may save the day for us and then the Bob Cooper will have egg on his face. Attorney General Bob Cooper 1-(615) 741-3491

AG says challenges to health care law unconstitutional

An opinion issued Tuesday by Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said legislation introduced to block health care reform legislation,
commonly derided as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional.

Cooper will not be joining 14 other state attorneys general in lawsuits to block the controversial health care law passed recently by
Congress. It also means tea party protestors aren’t likely to stop
coming by his office and shouting anytime soon.

The opinion (read it here) states, “A court would likely determine that SB
3498/HB 3433 and HJR 745 are preempted by conflicting provisions of the
federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” In laymans terms,
that means it’s unconstitutional.

Furthermore, the opinion states, “Congressional power to preempt state law arises from the Supremacy Clause of the United States
Constitution. The Supremacy Clause provides that the laws of the United
States ‘shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every
state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of
any state to the contrary notwithstanding.’ ”

States whose attorneys general have a differing opinion and are filing challenges include Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas,
Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington
State, Idaho and South Dakota. The suing attorneys general are all
Republicans except James “Buddy” Caldwell of Louisiana, who is a

In contrast, pro-health care reform attorneys general are going on the offensive in places like Oregon and Ohio, while the AGs in Georgia
and Kentucky have refused requests from their governors to fight the

Nashville City Paper