Georgia Department of Law, from the office of Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General


Olens: "If the individual not stricken, there are no conceivable limits on federal power"

March 27, 2012

This morning, the Supreme Court heard two hours of argument on the constitutionality of the individual mandate—the requirement that individuals obtain health insurance or face a financial penalty. Georgia, along with fellow plaintiffs, argues that Congress lacks constitutional authority to force individuals who are not participating in the insurance market to enter the market and purchase a government-prescribed insurance product. Click here for a transcript of today’s argument.

Attorney General Olens released the following statement on the argument: “Authority that is not expressly granted to the federal government by the Constitution is left to the states. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the jurisdiction to force an individual to participate in commerce. If the individual mandate, the linchpin of the law, is not stricken, there are no conceivable limits on federal power. The idea that the federal government can compel individuals to purchase a product is a radical one and is completely at odds with the Constitution and principle of federalism.”

Olens will attend the final day of oral arguments in the Supreme Court tomorrow. At 10 a.m., the Court will hear 90 minutes on the issue of severability. At 1 p.m., the Court will hear one hour of argument on expansion of Medicaid programs.