[JURIST] Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum [official website] announced Tuesday that Georgia will join [press release] 18 other states in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted health care bill [HR 3590 materials]. The lawsuit was originally filed [JURIST report] last month in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website]. McCollum issued a statement welcoming Georgia to the judicial efforts, reiterating the states' belief that the health care bill is unconstitutional, and stating plans to take the suit to the Supreme Court if necessary:
We welcome Georgia to our efforts to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens as well as the sovereignty of our states. The federal government cannot mandate that all citizens buy qualifying health care coverage or be forced to pay a tax penalty – this is unconstitutional. We will aggressively pursue this lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary to prevent this unprecedented expansion of federal powers, impact upon state sovereignty, and encroachment on our freedom.
The 18 other states involved in the suit are Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada, and Arizona.
Georgia joins the suit after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced last week that Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona would be joining the suit [JURIST report]. Among the allegations in the complaint are violations of Article I and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution as well as the commerce clause. Last month, Idaho Governor CL Otter signed a bill [JURIST report] barring the federal mandate to purchase health insurance. Virginia Governor Bob McDonald has indicated that he will sign a similar bill [JURIST report] recently passed by the Virginia legislature. Also in March, President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act [JURIST report] into law, which addressed concerns raised by the original bill, including provisions to help uninsured Americans pay for coverage, concerns over the effects to Medicare, and lowering the penalty for not buying insurance.