Tennessee Republican Attorney General Herb Slatery Fights Obamacare, Democrat Predecessor Would Not

A federal judge in Texas recently ruled Obamacare is constitutionally flawed, and Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery, a Republican, played a role, however small, in challenging it.

Unlike his predecessor, Democrat Bob Cooper, Slatery fought the law on behalf of the Tennessee residents who want it gone.

Cooper wanted nothing to do with challenging Obamacare in court, even though Tennessee is overall a conservative state.

As Town Hall reported in 2014, Obamacare’s harsh effects throughout all of Tennessee apparently failed to persuade Cooper to join 27 other state attorneys general in fighting the law. This was one of the early challenges officials in several states filed after former Democratic President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010.

News Channel 5 asked Cooper at the time why he refused to join the other state attorneys general. Cooper said he was trying to save taxpayer money and chose not to fight.

“This office determined that Tennessee’s participation in the lawsuit would not have been an appropriate use of limited state resources because participation would have cost money during difficult economic times while providing no additional benefit to the state,” Cooper said at the time.

In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the individual mandate is allowed because the government enforces it through a tax penalty.

As TNJ: On the Hill reported earlier this year, though, Republican attorneys general in 20 states, including, this time, Tennessee, filed a new lawsuit, this one in Texas, asking courts to overturn Obamacare. The lawsuit contended that without the individual mandate Obamacare is unconstitutional. A recent tax cut package zeroed out the individual mandate.

“At the heart of this case is the Commerce Clause of our Constitution that, according to the court, prevents Congress from compelling Tennesseans to buy insurance, especially if they can’t afford it or don’t want it,” Slatery said in a press release.

“Ultimately, it is up to Congress to provide lawful solutions to healthcare coverage, not just debate or campaign on it.”

Tennessee Attorney General Appointed, Not Elected

Tennessee voters did not elect Cooper to his former position, nor did they elect Slatery. Instead, by state law, members of the state Supreme Court appoint the state attorney general to an eight-year term.

For that reason, it matters who sits on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The Tennessee governor appoints members to the state Supreme Court for renewable eight-year terms. At the end of their terms they face retention elections.

As The Tennessee Watchdog reported in 2014, groups affiliated with left-wing billionaire George Soros involved themselves in successful retention elections for three justices that year. Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed those justices.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Herb Slatery” by Tennessee Attorney General Office. 






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  1. […] As The Tennessee Star reported last month, a federal judge in Texas recently ruled Obamacare is constitutionally flawed because the lawsuit Slatery participated in alongside several other state attorneys general. […]