Wis. AG gets permission to join health care challenge

Jessica M. Karmasek Nov. 11, 2010, 2:46pm

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker is giving state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen the green light to join a federal lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care reform package.

Walker, a Republican, made the announcement on Tuesday, according to the Badger Herald.

Van Hollen, who was re-elected last week, had requested permission to join the suit in the spring but was denied by state officials, most of whom were Democrats.

Now, the state has a Republican governor and the GOP is in control of both chambers of the state's Legislature.

Walker beat out Democrat and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett last Tuesday. The incumbent Van Hollen also bested his Democratic opponent in last week's general election, Scott Hassett, with nearly 58 percent of the vote.

The lawsuit argues that requiring citizens to either have insurance or pay a fine violates states' rights.

A federal judge ruled in October the 20-state lawsuit, led by outgoing Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, could continue after the Obama administration requested the case be thrown out.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson issued a 65-page ruling on the federal government's motion to dismiss the challenge, dismissing four of the lawsuit's six counts.

Proceeding, though, is a group of 20 states' main argument -- that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or face a $695 yearly penalty is unconstitutional.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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