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Attorneys general of 13 states file suit against health care reform law

[JURIST] The attorneys general (AGs) of 13 states filed suit [complaint, PDF] in federal court in Florida on Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [HR 3590 materials]. The suit comes the same day that President Barack Obama signed the bill into law [JURIST report]. The suit is being led by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is joined by the AGs of South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington and Colorado. Among the allegations in the suit are that the new law violates Article I, Sections Two and Nine, and the Tenth Amendment [text] of the US constitution by levying a tax without regard to census data, property or profession, and for invading the sovereignty of the states. The plaintiffs also assert that the law should not be upheld under either the commerce clause or the spending power [materials] granted to Congress under Article I. The suit asks for a declaratory judgment that the act is unconstitutional, an injunction against its enforcement, and attorney's fees.

The suit by the AGs is the latest chapter in the contentious issue of health care reform in the US. Last week, Idaho Governor CL Otter became the first governor [JURIST report] to sign into state law a bill barring the federal mandate to purchase health insurance. Earlier in March, the Virginia legislature passed a similar bill [JURIST report], that Governor Bob McDonald has indicated he will sign. The AGs who filed suit today originally threatened this action in December, after the Senate passed its version [JURIST reports] of the health care overhaul bill. The House of Representatives originally passed its version [JURIST report] of the bill in November.

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