Oklahoma Atty. General Drew Edmondson Won't File Health Care Lawsuit

By Carter, M Scott | THE JOURNAL RECORD, April 9, 2010 | Go to article overview

Oklahoma Atty. General Drew Edmondson Won't File Health Care Lawsuit


Carter, M Scott, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Despite calls by both houses of the state's Republican- controlled Legislature and at least one congressional candidate, Democratic Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Friday that he would not take legal action against the Obama administration's new health care plan.

Edmondson - a candidate for governor - said Friday that a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law would have little chance of success and would be a misuse of his office's fund and an exercise in futility.

"The process employed by Congress to secure passage of this bill reeked of partisanship," Edmondson said in a media statement. "The health care bill is the flawed result of a flawed process, but that alone does not make the law unconstitutional. This office does not enter lawsuits lightly nor do we enter lawsuits based on political expediency."

Edmondson said his office reviewed the law and the reconciliation bill from front to back, consulted case law and existing statutes and debated the pros and cons of every legal option. He said since the Florida lawsuit was filed in federal court, whatever result is achieved in that suit would be applicable to Oklahoma, whether or not the state filed suit.

"This lawsuit is not a slam-dunk," he said, "not by a long shot. That's why I chose a reasoned review over a knee-jerk reaction. It's easy for elected officials and political candidates with no seat at the table to posture, but it's an entirely different thing to sue Uncle Sam. There are consequences that must be weighed."

For several weeks now, Republican lawmakers had pushed the AG to bring legal action against the bill, claiming the measure is unconstitutional and would wreck the state's economy.

"We have to fight back against a government who is trying to be all things to all people without regard to cost or the will of the people," said House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. "Just because Congress passes a law does not make it constitutional. Attorney General Edmondson has an obligation to defend the people of Oklahoma against this heavy-handed mandate."

Lawmakers also sought to force Edmondson's hand by passing a resolution that called on Edmondson to bring legal action against the bill. …

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