New solicitor general expected to argue mandate cases


He noted that the 26 state attorneys general who filed one of the mandate lawsuits are represented by Paul Clement, who served as solicitor general under President Bush.

“I’m sure the Obama administration is going to want to match the firepower of the opposition,” Lazarus said. His organization has filed a brief defending the mandate.

He said he doubts that any other part of Verrilli’s new job is as crucial as defending the coverage mandate — a cornerstone of the healthcare law. Even the federal government has acknowledged that without the mandate, it would be almost impossible to require insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Critics of the coverage mandate say it's unconstitutional because Congress does not have the power to make people participate in an economic activity. Supporters argue that the mandate simply regulates how people pay for healthcare services they will inevitably need, saying it falls well within Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.