Steve Dotterer at 3:47 PM ET
[JURIST] Attorneys general from several states said Monday that they plan to file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform bill [text, PDF] passed [JURIST report] Sunday by the US House of Representatives [official website]. Attorneys general from at least 12 states – Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia – plan to file challenges after President Barack Obama signs the bill into law. Virginia plans to file a separate lawsuit from the single lawsuit to be brought by the other states. At issue in the lawsuits is the power of Congress to require individuals to purchase insurance. Congress has the power under Article I, Section 8 [text] of the US Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, and the states have decided to challenge this power’s application to health care legislation. Obama is scheduled to sign the bill on Tuesday.
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Last week, Idaho Governor CL “Butch” Otter (R) [official website] became the first governor to sign [JURIST report] a bill [H 391 text] into state law banning any federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance. The Idaho Health Freedom Act orders the state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the national government over any law making health insurance mandatory. Two weeks ago, the Virginia General Assembly [official website] passed [JURIST report] a similar bill [text, PDF]. The bill, called the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, says that no individual shall be held liable if they refuse to sign up for health care. Governor Robert McDonnell (R) [official website] has said that he will sign [WTVR report] the bill into law. About 30 other states are working on similar measures to negate [ALEC report] the federal mandate for health insurance.