Via the Idaho Health Freedom Act, signed into law last week, the Idaho legislature directed the attorney general, Lawrence Wasden, to "seek injunctive and any other appropriate relief as expeditiously as possible to preserve the rights and property of the residents of the state of Idaho, and to defend as necessary the state of Idaho, its officials, employees and agents in the event that any law or regulation violating the public policy set forth in the Idaho health freedom act...is enacted by any government, subdivision or agency thereof." Hence, notwithstanding that the experts think it's pointless, Idaho has joined 12 other states in filing a lawsuit against the federal government to block implementation of Obamacare.
The plaintiff states filed a 23-page complaint today in the federal district court for the Northern District of Florida. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief: a declaration that the 2,409-page law is unconstitutional; and an injunction against its enforcement. Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 sum up the constitutional issues:
2. The Act represents an unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of individuals living in the Plaintiffs’ respective states, by mandating that all citizens and legal residents of the United States have qualifying healthcare coverage or pay a tax penalty. The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying healthcare coverage. By imposing such a mandate, the Act exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution and violates the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.
3. In addition, the tax penalty required under the Act, which must be paid by uninsured citizens and residents, constitutes an unlawful capitation or direct tax, in violation of Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution of the United States.
4. The Act also represents an unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states....
The two district judges in the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, were appointed by Reagan and Bush the Elder, respectively, so let's hope the forum was well-chosen and that this action will get a fair hearing. We shall see where this goes.
The 13 plaintiff states are: Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Some of these plaintiffs have left very few fingerprints in the annals of rock-ribbed Republicanism (with a capital "R"): Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington are all blue states. This reflects a point Rush Limbaugh made yesterday: the bipartisanship in the debate over Obamacare has been on the side of the opposition.
How pointless would this exercise be, I wonder, if all the states -- or even just a simple majority -- joined the suit.