Intrastate Fights Over Healthcare Legal Challenge
The blawgs have, obviously, been chock full o' stories on the passage of the health care bill and the lawsuits challenging its constitutionality that began rolling in literally within minutes of the President's signing it into law. Here's a link to the WSJ Law Blog post on the suit by several state attorneys general, as just an example.
But there hasn't been a lot of focus on the internal political rifts that seem to be muddying the waters in at least a couple of states as to whether they wish to participate in the challenge. In Nevada, the attorney general is resisting the governor's demands to hop on the bandwagon. And in Michigan, vice versa.
In both cases, the question is the same. Is the governor the client, and the AG ultimately subject to his or her demands? Or does the AG, as the state's chief legal officer, have some room to exercise independent judgment.
In Nevada, AG Catherine Cortez Masto, responding to Governor Jim Gibbons, played the old Rule 11 card -- "I ain't signing it if I don't believe it." And in Michigan, Governor Jennifer Granholm used AG Mike Cox's own prior words against him, quoting him as having previously said to the press: "And any case where the state of Michigan is being sued or a state agency is being sued, she's the boss, she's the client. Unless it is clearly unconstitutional, I am obligated to do what she [Governor Granholm] says."
Should be interesting to watch this play out as the legal wrangling continues.
UPDATE:The governor of Washington, Chris Gregoire, is also none too pleased with her state AG's decision to join the suit. Maybe she should attend his presentation tomorrow at Washington State University, where he'll be explaining it as part of the "Coffee & Politics" lecture series.
Posted by Eric Lipman on March 25, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink
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