ATLANTA -- After Thursday's Supreme Court decsion on the Obama Administration's health care reform law, reaction from Georgia officials was fast in coming.
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Georgia is among the 26 states which filed lawsuits against portions of the health care reform law.
State and local political leaders were varied in their opinions, but much of the support and criticism came along party lines, with Democrats for the most part, supporting the president and the law, while Republican lawmakers were resoundingly against it.
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(Follow coverage of today's decision on Twitter #scotus)
Governor Deal issued the following statement after the decision:
Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court of the United States decision to uphold Obamacare, Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens highlighted the need for Congress to repeal the government takeover of health care, which puts crippling mandates on the taxpayers of Georgia. Georgia was one of 28 states to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
"My battle with Obamacare didn't start when I was elected as governor of Georgia," said DeaI. "I wear with pride my bruises and scars from the fight against its passage in the U.S. House. Today, the highest court in the country let the American people down.
"While we recognize this is a huge setback for fiscal sanity and personal liberty, we are not giving up. Georgians and the American people deserve high-quality, sustainable health care. Congress must now work steadfastly on repealing this law and replacing it with reforms that help taxpayers instead of hurt them."
Olens said the ruling carries with it the strong implication that, contrary to the text of the Constitution and the vision of this country's Founding Fathers, there is no longer any meaningful limit to the power of the federal government.
As Georgia's chief legal officer, Attorney General Sam Olens has led the state's legal fight against the president's health care reform law. Immediately following his swearing-in as attorney general in January 2011, Olens joined the multistate lawsuit against the law. He has steadfastly defended Georgia's interests throughout every phase of the litigation.
"I disagree with this decision. Congress explicitly said this was not a tax," said Olens. "I call on Congress to act swiftly, repeal the law and replace it with real reform that respects the Constitution as written."
Prior to today's Supreme Court decision, two lower courts ruled for Georgia and its fellow plaintiffs, finding the individual mandate unconstitutional.
"Governor Deal and I are grateful to the outside lawyers who have served Georgia in this lawsuit as special assistant attorneys general at no cost to the state: Frank C. Jones, Jason Alloy, Josh Belinfante, Pitts Carr, Ben Mathis, David Oedel, John Parker, Mike Russ, and former team member and Supreme Court Justice-designate Keith Blackwell," Olens said. "Their pro bono efforts have ensured that Georgia could participate fully in this vital lawsuit at minimal cost to taxpayers."