Blumenthal responds to GOP Senators, will not join lawsuit against national health law

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has denied the request from all 12 Republican state senators to join the multi-state lawsuit challenging the federal health reform law.

Blumenthal said in a Thursday letter the lawsuit would have “virtually no chance of success” and “could be costly to the state.”

“It remains doubtful that the Act will impose on Connecticut the kinds of far-reaching fiscal harms alleged in other states’ lawsuits,’ Blumenthal said, adding some of the issues raise policy problems, not legal ones. “They should be addressed through legislation, and not through the courts.”

The senators wrote Blumenthal days after the health reform bill became law, saying it was full of “illegal mandates.”

Sen. Dan Debicella, R-Shelton, said Blumenthal’s decision sounds more political than actually based on law. Blumenthal is running for the U.S. Senate.

“It’s clearly a questionable law by the fact that so many other attorneys general are suing,” Debicella said, who is also a candidate for Connecticut’s 4th Congressional seat. “”The Attorney General is probably making a political call on this rather than reading the constitution.”

Blumenthal dismissed the main objection from the Republican senators; the claim that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance exceeds congressional power.

“Under clear and longstanding principles of constitutional law set forth by the United States Supreme Court,” Blumenthal’s office said the Act falls well within Congress’ power. “The Constitution vests Congress with broad authority to enact legislation to regulate interstate commerce, to establish and collect taxes for the general welfare, and to enact laws that are necessary and proper to effectuate proper federal legislative purposes.”

Sen. Sam Caligiuri, R-Waterbury, disagreed.

“The individual mandate is arguably unconstitutional,” Caligiuri said, who is running for the 5th Congressional seat.