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Side Claims

Challenging the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause is a common thread of the health care law challenges. But the suits have raised a host of other issues.

One target is the so-called employer mandate, the requirement that employers of a certain size must provide or pay for some level of health insurance. Judge Hudson didn't decide the issue in his opinion, and the challenge was rejected in the Liberty University and the Florida cases. "That is just textbook law," says Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. "The federal government has been regulating employee benefits, been the only one regulating them, since 1974, so that one is pretty wild."

In the Florida suit, 20 states are challenging the expansions to Medicaid the health care law would require, calling the related costs an infringement on state powers. Judge Roger Vinson heard oral arguments in the case Dec. 16, 2010.

Courts have rejected a number of other arguments, such as Liberty University's claim that the law violated the religious freedom clauses of the
First Amendment.

"They've been all over the lot," Jost says. "In the Florida case, the judge has already dismissed five claims: that the law violated the due process clause, that it violated the 10th Amendment--just a whole bunch of other garbage bag claims. Some of the private cases get pretty bizarre and raise arguments based on the wildest interpretations of statutes out there. The judges are throwing them out."

Staff Writer

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