HOUSTON, April 4 (UPI) -- U.S. state attorneys general challenging the new healthcare law will use a 1995 Supreme Court decision in a gun case as a central argument, experts say.
In a lawsuit challenging the law's mandate that everyone must have health insurance, the 13 state attorneys general, including Gregg Abbot of Texas, cite the court's ruling in a Texas gun possession case in their arguments, The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday.
A Texas high school student was convicted for bringing a gun onto campus in 1992, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1995, saying Congress exceeded its constitutional regulatory authority when it approved the 1990 law banning firearms in a school zone, the newspaper said.
The Constitution's commerce clause limits the regulatory powers of Congress to matters involving interstate commerce. In the Texas case, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1990 gun law was unconstitutional because it had nothing to do with commerce between states.
The attorneys general argue healthcare does not meet the legal definition of interstate commerce, so the congressional mandate that all Americans must purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.
"In the past 15 years the Supreme Court has scaled back Congress when they've tried to inject themselves into purely state matters," Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said.
Those critical of the lawsuit say the U.S. healthcare system is national in its scale, and rises above state lines.