Attorney General Richard Cordray

  • November 4, 2010
    Republican gains in governorships following this week's midterm elections means additional states will join efforts to topple President Obama's landmark health care reform law, according to CQ HealthBeat News.

    Republican governors and attorneys general elected in five states - Wisconsin, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming - "have vowed to lend their support to a health care lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in Florida," CQ reports.

    The article notes that along with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, state Attorney General Richard Cordray was cast out by voters. Cordray had refused to join legal action against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saying such challenges were legally suspect and a waste of scarce public resources. In a column for The Plain Dealer, Cordray said Congress did not exceed its constitutional powers in passing the law. "I do not believe in wasting taxpayer dollars to pursue political agendas through symbolic lawsuits," he wrote. Many constitutional law experts concurred that the lawsuits are on wobbly legal grounds.

    New congressional members are also vowing increased opposition to the law.

    Republican lawmakers, such as Rep. John Boehner, likely the Republican speaker of the House and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have reiterated their desire to pass legislation repealing the health care reform law. N.C. Aizenman in a piece for The Washington Post writes that chances of repealing the health care reform law "are slim to nil at least through 2012."

    The article continues, "While the Republicans have regained control of the House, they will remain the minority in the Senate. So it's unlikely Congress could even pass a repeal bill. But even if that were to change, as long as President Obama remains in office it's a safe bet he would veto such a measure."

  • October 12, 2010
    Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray continues to garner attention for his efforts to hold large corporations accountable for their involvement in shaping one of the nation's worst economic eras. Last week numerous media outlets and blogs, including this one, noted Cordray's lawsuit against home lender, GMAC Mortgage, alleging that it filed false affidavits in scores of foreclosure proceedings.

    The New York Times profiles Cordray's work, noting that during his two years in office he has lodged lawsuits against "global financial houses, rating agencies, subprime lenders and foreclosure scammers." Cordray, the newspaper continues has "wrested about $2 billion so far," including "a $475 million Merrill Lynch settlement, $400 million from Marsh & McLennan and $725 million from the American International Group."

    The Times writes that the Ohio Attorney General (pictured) "is no William Jennings Bryan inveighing against the evils of monopoly capital. He can be eloquent about corporate misbehavior, in an eyes-downcast and soft-spoken fashion."

    Cordray tells The Times, "The notion that banks will just get things right over time is perhaps true. But over what time period, and at what terrible cost to the individual American?"

  • April 5, 2010
    The Ohio attorney general has stated he will not lodge or join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law. In an op-ed for The Plain Dealer, Ohio AG Richard Cordray spells out why a legal challenge to the law is a likely waste of resources.

    Cordray (pictured) writes:

    Two constitutional issues are raised in the lawsuits. The first is whether Congress exceeded its proper bounds by enacting a mandate for most Americans to purchase health care coverage. For seventy years, the Supreme Court has read the Commerce Clause broadly to authorize Congress to address our most pressing national economic concerns. In Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 decision, the court held that the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to prohibit the cultivation of marijuana for personal medical use because it has economic effects, even though no economic transaction was involved at all.

    ...

    The other constitutional argument is that the Tenth Amendment does not permit Congress to require states to establish insurance exchanges. But the new law does not require that. Instead, it gives states a choice, and if they decline, the federal government will take on that responsibility. Just as Medicaid is a voluntary federal-state program whose constitutionality has been upheld by the courts, this new law is entirely consistent with the Tenth Amendment.
    I do not believe in wasting taxpayer dollars to pursue political agendas through symbolic lawsuits.

    For more analysis of the legal challenges to the health care reform law, see a Huffington Post column from Simon Lazarus, the public policy counsel to the National Senior Citizens Law Center, here. Lazarus is also author of an ACS Issue Brief explaining the constitutionality of the law's individual mandate.