TOPEKA -- (January 12, 2011) -- Attorney General Derek Schmidt today sent a letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi requesting that Kansas be allowed to join the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Obama/Pelosi health care law.
Schmidt, who was sworn in Monday as attorney general, said joining this lawsuit will be one of his first official acts as attorney general.
“This lawsuit is about standing up for the rule of law and protecting the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution,” said Schmidt, who had promised during his campaign to bring Kansas into the legal challenge. “Our federal government is designed to be a government of limited, enumerated powers, and we do not believe it has the power to order citizens into commerce so it can then regulate their conduct under authority of the Commerce Clause. Whatever the merits or demerits of health care reform, the ends cannot justify an unconstitutional means.”
Schmidt requested that Florida file a motion asking the federal district court in Pensacola, Florida, to allow Kansas to join the 20 states that originally brought the lawsuit. Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming are also requesting to join the suit. The litigation also includes the National Federation of Independent Businesses and two individuals.
If the motion is granted, the total number of states challenging the constitutionality of the health care law will grow to 26; 24 in Florida, and Virginia and Oklahoma each bringing separate lawsuits.
A federal judge in Virginia recently ruled in favor of Virginia's claim that the individual mandate provision of the health care law is unconstitutional.
Schmidt said he anticipated the novel constitutional question raised by the federal government's "unprecedented power grab" in the health care law would eventually be decided by the United States Supreme Court.
"The legal precedent that will be set in this case will reach far beyond health care," Schmidt said. "This is an historic defining of the relationship among our federal government, the states, and the liberty of individual American citizens. For those of us who believe that not all wisdom resides in Washington and, therefore, neither should all power, this is a constitutional fight worth fighting."