Minnesota

This article is part of the State Status and News series related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On 05-Apr-2010, Minnestoa Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democratic Party member, rejected the order from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican Party member, to join civil litigation in opposition to the PPACA. In her statement, the Attorney General told the Governor that “he could file his own friend-of-the-court brief as governor to support the legal challenge.” In response, “the governor's office issued a statement saying that Pawlenty will join other Republicans in fighting the law. 'Governor Pawlenty believes that the federal government is overreaching by subjecting citizens to a fine if they do not comply with a mandate to buy a good or service,' the statement said. 'Governor Pawlenty intends to participate in this litigation'.”1)

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has rejected a request from Gov. Tim Pawlenty to sue over the new federal health care law.

Instead, Swanson said Monday she will file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the federal government in a lawsuit filed by 13 state attorneys general.

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Pawlenty had asked Swanson to challenge whether a requirement that individuals buy health insurance is constitutional.

Swanson tells Pawlenty he could file his own friend-of-the-court brief as governor to support the legal challenge.

In response to Swanson's decision, the governor's office issued a statement saying that Pawlenty will join other Republicans in fighting the law.

“Governor Pawlenty believes that the federal government is overreaching by subjecting citizens to a fine if they do not comply with a mandate to buy a good or service,” the statement said. “Governor Pawlenty intends to participate in this litigation.”

Baran, Madeleine (Associated Press). “Swanson Won't Sue To Stop Health Care Reform”. Minnesota Public Radio MPR NewsQ. April 5, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-05.

Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty wishes DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson would have filed a lawsuit over the federal health care bill, but appreciates Swanson indicating that he as governor could do so.

“We'll do that,” Pawlenty said this morning at an event in St. Paul.

The governor indicated he had not yet decided on an exact course of legal action.

Pawlenty argues the health care bill is illegal, because it requires Americans to have health insurance or face a fine.

It's vast overreaching by the federal government, he argues.

Democrats have dismissed Republican legal arguments against the legislation, saying they're based on legal misinterpretations and bogus states' rights theories.

Budig, Tim. “Gov. Pawlenty Will File Lawsuit Over Health Care Bill”. Hometown Source (blog). April 6, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-06.

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When outgoing Minnesota governor and aspiring 2012 Republican presidential nominee Tim Pawlenty announced yesterday that he plans to sue the federal government over the new national health-care law, almost nobody in Washington raised an eyebrow. After all, Pawlenty had earlier asked Minnesota's Democratic attorney general, Lori Swanson, to sign onto the suit filed by 13 other AGs declaring Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional, so it was no surprise that the governor decided to take matters into his own hands when Swanson refused. As Pawlenty put it yesterday, “The federal government is now requiring citizens under penalty of afine to buy a good or a service, and we think that's an unprecedentedoverreach . . . into the lives of individualcitizens.” How could a true patriot stand idly by as Big Brother destroys the American Dream?

The only problem? Back on Sept. 13, Pawlenty explicitly ruled out taking legal action against Obamacare. Asked by George Stephanopoulos whether he would consider invoking the 10th Amendment—the one that reserves powers to the states—in order to prevent the law from taking effect in Minnesota, Pawlenty hemmed and hawed, invoking “common sense” to argue that “we need to have a clear understanding of what the federal government does well and what should be reserved to the states.”

Romano, Andrew. “Pawlenty Flip-Flops on Health Care”. Newsweek (blog - “The Gaggle”). April 7, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-07. Hyperlinks in original.

1) Baran, Madeleine. “Swanson won't sue to stop health care reform”. Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ. April 5, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-05.