[JURIST] The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) [association website], a small business lobby group, joined a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Friday challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted health care reform law [text; JURIST news archive]. The NFIB joins 20 states in a legal battle that began in March when a complaint seeking injunction and declaratory relief was filed [JURIST reports] in a Florida federal court. The president and CEO of the NFIB commented [press release] on the association's decision to join the lawsuit:
Small business owners everywhere are rightfully concerned that the unconstitutional new mandates, countless rules and new taxes in the healthcare law will devastate their business and their ability to create jobs. They are also concerned about their personal freedoms. This law is the first time the federal government has required individuals to purchase something simply because they are alive. If Congress can regulate this type of inactivity, then there are essentially no limits to what they can mandate individuals to do.Also Friday, Nevada joined the lawsuit [AP report] challenging the constitutionality of the new law.
Among the allegations in the suit are violations of Article I and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, committed by levying a tax without regard to census data, property, or profession, and for invading the the sovereignty of the states. The plaintiffs also assert that the law should not be upheld under the commerce clause. Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed [JURIST report] its first response [brief text] to one of several lawsuits challenging the controversial new health care law. In a brief filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website], the DOJ defended the law, asserting that Congress acted within its powers to regulate interstate commerce. The suit [complaint, PDF], filed in March by conservative public interest group the Thomas More Law Center [advocacy website] on the same day President Barack Obama signed the bill into law [JURIST report], argues that the mandate that all individuals carry health insurance is unconstitutional.