Florida Attorney General promises lawsuit against unconstitutional health care bill

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by Sharon Rondeau

Florida's state seal was adopted in 1868, shortly after the first state constitution was written

(Mar. 21, 2010) — Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has written a letter to Jon Bruning, President of the National Association of Attorneys General, inviting him to “join me in preparing a legal challenge to the constitutionality of whatever individual mandate provision emerges, immediately upon the legislation becoming law.”  The letter was sent March 16, 2010 and includes an analysis of what McCollum perceives as unconstitutional provisions of the bill being contemplated by Congress.

Among his many objections to the bill, McCollum cites:  “…the individual mandate, whether levied as a tax or as a tax penalty, is a capitation or direct tax that is not apportioned evenly among the states as is constitutionally required.”  The closing paragraph of the six-page document states, “While affected citizens of every state may pursue judicial relief from the individual mandate provisions, states have standing to sue the federal government to protect their sovereign and quasi-sovereign interests.”

According to his website, McCollum has also called for a group of state agencies to analyze the financial impact of any federal health care legislation on his state.  Participating would be the Office of Insurance Regulation, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Health, among others.

McCollum is a candidate for governor of Florida.  He has stated that the Florida Constitution has a provision which guarantees “the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into [their] private life.”

On Thursday, March 18, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster announced that he would join McCollum in legal action if federal health care legislation is passed.  McMaster reportedly said, “”It is my belief and that of other attorneys general that this is clearly unconstitutional. That’s why we’re moving forward. We need to protect the sovereignty of our states and the liberty of our people.”

Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also plans to launch a lawsuit if Congress passes health care legislation.  According to The Washington Post, Cuccinelli has also written a letter to Nancy Pelosi challenging her consideration of the “deem and pass” measure which would “deem” the Senate’s version of the bill passed without actually taking a vote.  Cuccinelli stated in his letter to Pelosi that that option would “expose any act which may pass to yet another constitutional challenge.”

The Commonwealth of Virginia passed a Health Care Freedom Act on March 13, 2010 which will enable it to opt out of any federal mandates.  Idaho followed suit on March 17.

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