Nevada governor expected to announce health care lawsuit

Chris Rizo Apr. 5, 2010, 3:21pm

Jim Gibbons (R)

Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)-The Nevada governor has a news conference planned for tomorrow to discuss how his administration will move forward on a lawsuit challenging the new federal health care overhaul.

Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons had pressed state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law signed this month by President Barack Obama.

Masto declined the governor's request last week, sparking outcry from Gibbon's administration.

Gibbons said last week that several private lawyers have come forward offering to challenge the law on his administration's behalf, at no charge to the Silver State. Gibbons is widely expected to take them up on their offer.

His press conference tomorrow is scheduled to take place at the governor's office in Las Vegas.

Declining to join a group of more than a dozen Republican attorneys general and one of her Democratic colleagues in challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Masto said she believes their lawsuit challenging the law is without merit.

The lawsuit contends that the element of the health care law what will require Americans to have medical insurance or face financial penalties is unconstitutional.

"There is no practical reason for Nevada to join in the litigation, absent a clear and separate legal interest that Nevada has apart from those other states," Masto said. "We are not aware of such a reason and you have not directed our attention to one."

Gibbons had sent Masto a terse letter urging her to conclude her legal analysis of the law and file suit.

"The health care legislation presents a question of federal powers versus states' power -- this is a second-year law school analysis," Gibbons wrote. "I understand your concern about spending public funds for frivolous lawsuits. However, a lawsuit initiated by 14 other attorneys general is hardly frivolous."

The health care overhaul is the most significant expansion of medical care since Congress created Medicare in 1965 for the nation's elderly and disabled.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

More News