Hattiesburg, Laurel residents file lawsuit against Obama administration

Lee, McDaniel
Lee, McDaniel

By Charles Herrington -  bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A group of Pine Belt residents are suing the Obama administration over the recently-adopted healthcare reform bill.

They say the new law is unconstitutional. Particularly, the mandate requiring all residents to buy insurance from private companies or pay a tax.

Friday, attorneys Chris McDaniel of Laurel and Doug Lee of Hattiesburg filed suit in Hattiesburg federal court on behalf of those residents.

"We are dead bang certain that we're in the right here," said Lee.

Several attorneys generals around the country are also suing the government on constitutional grounds on behalf of states, but McDaniel and Lee say this suit is among the first brought by individuals.

Many experts have stated such lawsuits will fail as the Constitution allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce and collect taxes.

"I don't think there are any really valid constitutional challenges to this legislation," said Timothy Jost on CPAN,  a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

There is no consensus among law experts, however, and most agree the health care bill moves Congress into new legal territory.

Ultimately, McDaniel and Lee hope to certify the case as a statewide class action lawsuit.

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