Oklahoma to File its own Suit
By Hadley Heath
Today the State of Oklahoma announced that it is filing its own suit over Obama's health law. Along with the 21 states in the Florida case and the Commonwealth of Virginia in its own case, Oklahoma makes 23 states as plaintiffs.
Before 2011, former Governor Brad Henry had vetoed efforts to sue in the Sooner State. Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt made today's announcement with Governor-elect Mary Fallin's support.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Pruitt continued that because Oklahomans passed State Question 756, the Oklahoma Health Care Freedom Amendment, which amended the state Constitution to say that Oklahomans cannot be forced to purchase insurance, those two laws cannot coexist. Preemption does not apply when a federal law is deemed unconstitutional.
As such, he commented on his obligation to defend the Oklahoma law, “The most logical way to defend our state Constitution is in an Oklahoma federal court not in another state,” said Pruitt.
Pruitt expressed his sole desire in filing the lawsuit was to successfully defeat the requirement of the federal health care act that will force Oklahomans to purchase a product or face fines and penalties by the federal government. In legal terms, this is known as the individual mandate, which Pruitt believes to be unconstitutional.
The Attorney General-elect also explained that Oklahoma has the advantage of learning from the arguments the federal government put forth in the legal proceedings with Virginia and Florida, which will allow Oklahoma to introduce new and strengthened arguments to counter those.
Additionally, by filing in Oklahoma, the state will add another circuit of the federal court system considering arguments on the constitutionality of the act. This enhances the reasons for the Supreme Court to expedite a hearing of the issue.