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Ga. Republicans want to impeach AG

By John O'Brien | Mar 30, 2010


ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) - Frustrated with Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker's unwillingness to challenge federal health care reform, Republican state lawmakers are hoping to impeach the Democrat.

Baker, who is running for governor this year, said last week that the challenges filed by several state attorneys general around the country have "no legal merit" and predicted they would fail.

Rep. Mark Hatfield introduced the measure Tuesday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, had asked Baker to challenge the legislation, signed into law last week by President Barack Obama.

"By failing and refusing to perform his constitutional and statuatry duties, Attorney General Baker has abdicated his authority and has committed an act against the state of Georgia," Hatfield's measure says, according to the report.

"Attorney General Baker's shameful abdication of his lawful duties shows him unfit to serve the state of Georgia in the position of attorney general."

The report adds that 30 Republican House members have signed onto the bill of impeachment.

"While I understand that the new law is the subject of ongoing debate here in Georgia and around the nation, I do not believe that Georgia has a viable legal claim against the United States," Baker said last week.

Several Republican attorneys general and one Democratic AG filed a lawsuit March 23 challenging the constitutionality of the legislation.

They say the bill unfairly contains a mandate for individuals to have health insurance coverage or face an annual penalty of $695.

Businesses with more than 50 workers would have to provide coverage or pay a $2,000-a-worker penalty if any of their employees get government-subsidized plans on their own.

The lawsuit was filed in Florida federal court. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed his own suit in Virginia federal court.

Baker told the AJC that it is "very disappointing to see some members of the Legislature respond in a way that's not beneficial to the state."

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