(Apologies to my readers for the multiple edits and revisions to my posts concerning health care reform. The story is a fluid one, with developments cropping up as quickly as I can report on them.)
Alaska's Governor Sean Parnell and state Attorney General Dan Sullivan indicated Tuesday that the 'Last Frontier State' will be next to join Florida and twelve other plaintiff states in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of recently passed health care reform legislation.
Also on Tuesday, leaders of both legislative houses in Oklahoma announced that they too will be filing a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the new law. President Pro Tempore of the State Senate Glenn Coffee along with Speaker of the State House of Representatives Chris Benge are filing their own suit instead of attempting to pass legislation that would force State Attorney General Drew Edmondson to file on the state's behalf.
Edmondson, who has thus far refused to file said on Friday, April ninth, (that) "The health care bill is the flawed result of a flawed process, but that alone does not make the law unconstitutional."
Senator Coffee said he plans to find a lawyer who will take the case pro-bono, stating also, "It's not conclusive we will be successful, but I think it's important for us to try."
Whether the Oklahoma lawsuit will seek an injunction is unknown at this time, but it is unlikely. The preceding lawsuits filed by Florida and Virginia do not ask for an injunction.
According to a press release dated April seventh on Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's official website: Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona will join Florida and twelve other states in the first lawsuit filed that challenges the new law.
In another press release dated April twentieth, McCollum commended Alaska's decision to join the battle. The unofficial total stands at twenty, with some websites reporting as many as twenty-two litigant states. At the time of this post I am still attempting to find evidence of any new lawsuits being filed or any additional plaintiffs being added to existing suits. Rest assured I'll post that information as soon as I can verify it. Like I said...fluid.
On the leading with your chin front:
According to CBS News, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said during an April twenty-first press briefing in Singapore concerning Iran's nuclear program, "Military force is an option of last resort. It's off the table in the near term."
We must reserve the right to protect ourselves and our allies. Placing more of our best and brightest young people into harm's way is difficult; promising our enemies we won't do it is stupid.
Then there is Jon Stewart.
Mr. Stewart, you are not a journalist, but you play one on TV. The distinction is an important one. Unfortunately, people over sixteen that still laugh hysterically at the f-word might take you seriously. Even less fortunate is the fact that many of these uninformed miscreants can and will vote for whomever their idiot-box tells them to vote for.
This is the first and last time that I'll legitimize Stewart's pseudo-journalism by mentioning him here.
UPDATED FRIDAY, APRIL 23RD
Thanks to a promptly returned phone call from the Office of the Florida Attorney General I was able to ascertain that Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona have committed to join the Florida lawsuit. The additional states are expected to officially add their names to the complaint some time in May.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has retained Michael B. Wallace of Wise Carter, Child and Caraway, P.A., to represent the state after Attorney General Jim Hood declined repeated requests to do so. Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons faced similar stonewalling from State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. A press release dated April sixth stated that Governor Gibbons signed an Executive Order naming Mark Hutchison from the Las Vegas law firm of Hutchison & Steffen as Special Legal Counsel to the Governor. The firm will represent the interests of the people of Nevada without compensation.
In Arizona, the state legislature in a special session passed a law permitting Governor Jan Brewer to initiate a legal proceeding or appear on behalf of the State to challenge the health care reform law. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard declined in March to file a complaint on the state's behalf.
Links to the websites of all attorneys general and/or governors of participating states can be found here: