PENSACOLA, Florida, January 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – It’s official: a federal judge has now granted permission for six more states to join the Florida-led lawsuit against the pro-abortion national health care reform law passed last March, making 26 states altogether challenging the law’s constitutionality in the same case.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson on Wednesday granted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s request that the states of Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine be allowed to join to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit “sends a strong message that more than half of the States consider the health care law unconstitutional and are willing to fight it in court,” said Bondi. “I look forward to continuing to defend Florida’s families and businesses against this unconstitutional law and upholding the Constitution.”
Vinson’s order means the six states will now join Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington in challenging the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Add Virginia with its own lawsuit against the PPACA, and the total number of states suing rises to 27; that number will soon become 28 once Oklahoma has followed through on its stated intention to challenge the law in its own suit. Similar to Virginia, Oklahoma has a separate statute (passed in a voter referendum) that forbids individuals from being forced to carry health insurance.
One of the core contentions of the states is that Congress has no authority under the U.S. Constitution to mandate individuals buy health insurance, or pay a penalty. That provision, known as the individual mandate, is the financial linchpin of the PPACA.
So far President Obama’s administration has won two lawsuits out of the three in which federal judges have issued rulings. But the score is expected to soon become even, as most anticipate Vinson will rule in favor of the states led by Florida.
During oral arguments in December Vinson seemed to lean in favor of the states’ argument that the individual mandate was an overreach of Congress’s authority, and not permitted under the Commerce Clause, which regulates interstate economic activity.
“It would be a giant leap for the Supreme Court to say that a decision to buy or not to buy is tantamount to activity,” Vinson said.
The states also contend that their Tenth Amendment rights are violated by the PPACA, and cite the fact that the law forces them to subsidize a substantial and costly Medicaid expansion, which 32 state governors, including Rick Scott, warned President Obama would force them “to cut other critical programs” in order to pay for the health care law.