Oklahoma

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

“We have very good faith arguments and what I think very compelling arguments that the legislation is unconstitutional,” said Kevin Calvey, Congressional candidate.

Thursday night a lawsuit against President Obama was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

In it, Calvey, a Congressional candidate, claims President Obama is violating the rights of Americans with his health care plan.

“You don't have to get very far into this law to see that it is terrible. The mere fact of how it came about shows how bad it is. It raises taxes and it increases our debt massively,” said Calvey.

As of now, the suit has 16 plaintiffs, but the group says the fight would be much stronger if the Attorney General would get involved.

So far, Drew Edmondson has refused.

“It's a mystery to me, politically it would seem like a huge victory. Obviously this was a state that spent all 77 votes against the President,” said OK County Commissioner Brian Maughan, District 2.

Our calls to Drew Edmondson's office have not been returned.

For more on this story, watch KSBI Thunder TV at 5, 5:30 and 6.

“Oklahomans Sue President Over Health Care”. KSBI-52 Tunder TV. April 8, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-08.

With another lawsuit on the horizon, Republican leaders in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are continuing to push Attorney General Drew Edmondson to file suit against the Obama administration’s new health care plan.

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Carter, M. Scott. “Committee passes resolution to force health care lawsuit” (Oklahoma) Journal Record. April 8, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-08.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson on Friday said he will not sue the federal government over health care reform.

He said the state's chances of prevailing in such a lawsuit were unlikely.

“The process employed by Congress to secure passage of this bill reeked of partisanship,” said Edmondson, a Democrat who is running for governor. “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.”

Leaders of the GOP-controlled statehouse have repeatedly called on Edmondson to file suit, as has U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma, who is also running for governor.

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Hoberock, Barbara. “Oklahoma attorney general will not sue over health care”. Tulsa World. April 9, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-09.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson announced Friday that he will not join in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care bill approved by Congress.

After spending hundreds of hours pouring over the 2,500 page healthcare bill, Edmondson said he, along with 17 other attorney's, came to the same conclusion.

Edmondson said he believes the health care bill is a flawed bill, but he said he and his team of attorneys have been combing over it for the past couple of weeks and they could not determine whether there were constitutional questions. Because of that, he said he decided he would not file what he calls a frivolous lawsuit.

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Lawmakers could still pass legislation to challenge health care reform. If they do so, state statute requires Edmondson to file the lawsuit. That's something that may not have much democratic support.

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But regardless if lawmakers can force Edmondson's hand, Kevin Calvey, a candidate for Congress, and 15 other Oklahomans have filed their own lawsuit trying to stop the new health care law. Calvey said Edmondson's decision is exactly why his lawsuit is necessary.

“It just makes it all that much more crucial we stand up for ourselves and fight this thing in court,” Calvey said.

Calvey said since he publicly announced his lawsuit Thursday, he has received support from hundreds of Oklahomans, many of which he said are even asking to be included in the lawsuit.

Oklahoma's entire congressional delegation, including lone Democrat Rep. Dan Boren, voted against the bill.

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State House Speaker Chris Benge shared his disappointment with Edmondson's decision.

“I am incredibly disappointed that Attorney General Edmondson has chosen to ignore the will of not only the Legislature, but also a majority of Oklahomans by refusing to join 19 other states fighting federally-mandated health care,” said House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. “The Oklahoma people have made it clear that they do not want this legislation, nor can they or the state afford it. However, this move will not stop our resolve and we will be looking at all of our options moving forward as we continue to fight against this heavy-handed approach to health care.”

State Representative Glenn Coffee said he was also not in favor of Edmondson's decision.

“Today we have taken a giant step backwards. By filing this lawsuit, we could thwart the liberal left's push to encroach on the liberties of all Oklahomans. Attorney General Drew Edmondson has refused to make this bipartisan move to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare. But we as a legislature will continue to fight for the state of Oklahoma and not allow the government to strip away our liberties one mandate at a time.”

Jordan, Jon. “Attorney General Drew Edmondson Will Not Join in Lawsuit Against Health Care Reform”. NewsOn6. April 11, 2010, 2:49 PM ET. Available online as of 2010-04-13. Emphasis added.

Leaders of the Oklahoma House and Senate said on Tuesday they plan to file a lawsuit to block President Barack Obama's reform of the U.S. healthcare system.

House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, both Republicans, said they plan to sue the U.S. Congress, president and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to prevent provisions of the act Obama signed into law last month from taking effect.

Their announcement follows the refusal earlier this month of Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson to join a multi-state lawsuit led by Florida's attorney general. Edmondson, a Democrat, said he would join the lawsuit if required by legislative action.

“Our concern is that the attorney general's effort would be lackluster, at best. We have an obligation to our citizens to challenge this unconstitutional bill, which will lead to unprecedented control of a large portion of the U.S. economy,” Benge said in a statement. “The high taxes required in the law will be a burden that we cannot afford.”

A resolution authorizing the legislative leaders to file the lawsuit and allowing Oklahoma residents to opt out of mandated health insurance is heading toward final passage.

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Pierog, Karen (Reuters). “Oklahoma lawmakers to sue over federal health reform” Washington Post. April 20, 2010, 5:44 PM ET. Available online as of 2010-04-20.