Together with former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, CIR filed an amicus brief in Florida v. HHS, now pending before the Supreme Court. Today’s brief was filed on behalf of a group of former Attorneys General and officials of the Justice Department, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, Attorney General William P. Barr, Assistant Attorney General Timothy E. Flanigan, Attorney General Edwin Meese III, and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.The brief challenges the government’s view that Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce includes the power to compel individuals to engage in intersate commerce for the purpose of purchasing health insurance. The brief explains that constitutional text and history, 18th Century usage, and early Supreme Court cases all make clear that the power to regulate interstate commerce was understood to mean the power to regulate existing interstate commerce, not compel the creation of new commerce. The brief notes that the government’s expansive view of Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would convert that clause from a grant of a limited, enumerated power into limitless authority to address any inactivity that in the aggregate creates a national problem.
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