Governors, AGs to stay on sidelines of health care challenge

John O'Brien Jul. 1, 2010, 11:31am


PENSACOLA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Seven states will not be allowed to participate in the current stage of the lawsuit challenging federal health care reform.

Governors from four states and attorneys general from three states had asked U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to allow them to file amicus briefs in opposition to the challenge filed by 20 states. Vinson had previously ordered that amicus briefs concerning the federal government's motion to dismiss would not be accepted.

Friday, he refused to change his mind.

"After reading their motions, it appears that the proposed state amici might have positions and arguments that may be helpful to the court during the merits phase of this case," Vinson wrote.

"However, it does not appear that they have anything especially useful to add at the motion to dismiss stage, which is concerned primarily with discrete legal issues such as standing and ripeness."

The states challenging the health care reform signed into law in March by President Barack Obama say it is unlawful to require individuals to purchase health insurance or face an annual penalty of $695. They also say the increase of individuals eligible for Medicaid will put a financial strain on the states.

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, meanwhile, disagree with their respective state attorney general's decision to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff and asked to file an amicus brief.

The attorneys general who sought to file an amicus brief are Oregon's John Kroger, Iowa's Tom Miller and Vermont's William Sorrell.

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