McKenna can keep spot in health care challenge

John O'Brien Sep. 1, 2011, 1:36pm


OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that state Attorney General Rob McKenna can not be forced to withdraw his challenge to federal health care reform.

Washington, represented by McKenna, is one of 26 states challenging the reform signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The states filed a lawsuit in Florida that claims a mandate that forces individuals who do not purchase health insurance to pay a $695 annual penalty is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit agreed on Aug. 12. The city of Seattle wanted to force McKenna off the case.

"I'm pleased the court affirmed the authority and responsibility of the Attorney General to challenge the constitutionality of federal laws that threaten the constitutional rights of this state and its people," McKenna said.

"It's important that the state's constitutionally-established, independently-elected Attorney General - whomever it may be - have the authority to protect the legal rights of the state and its people in the years to come."

A 9-0 ruling released Thursday said McKenna did not overstep his authority, adding that state law grants the attorney general authority to act in any court on "a matter of public concern."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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