April 6th, 2010
06:20 PM ET
4 years ago

Pawlenty to file lawsuit against health care law

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday that he will contest the new federal health care law.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday that he will contest the new federal health care law.

(CNN) - Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minnesota, announced Tuesday he intends to file suit against the new federal health care law.

Critics of the law argue that its requirement for individuals to buy health insurance violates the Constitution.

"The federal government is now requiring citizens under penalty of a fine to buy a good or a service, and we think that's an unprecedented overreach by the federal government into the lives of individual citizens," the governor said following a meeting on education reform.

Pawlenty, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, did not say whether he will pursue his own lawsuit or join legal challenges from 14 attorneys general filed last month.

Related: States sue to block health care bill

"At this time, he is considering his options," Brian McClung, the governor's spokesperson, told CNN.

Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Hari Sevugan said in a statement Tuesday that the governor's lawsuit is, "Yet another political ploy by Pawlenty to pander to the radical right-wing of his party."

The Republican governor's remarks come a day after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democrat, informed Pawlenty that she would not file suit on behalf of the state.

"I have determined that a lawsuit by the state of Minnesota against the United States of America is not warranted and, accordingly, I will not be filing such a lawsuit," Swanson wrote in a letter to the governor.

Swanson added that she will file an amicus brief in support of the United States, "to set forth what I believe to be a correct reading of the Constitution."

Renee Landers, a law professor at Suffolk University in Massachusetts, recently told CNN that the Constitution gives Congress broad power to regulate commerce and promote the general welfare of Americans.

Swanson and Pawlenty are not the first attorney general and governor to butt heads over health care. Last month Georgia's Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, said he would pursue litigation against the new health care law, even though his state's attorney general, a Democrat, advised him not to.


Filed under: Health care • Minnesota • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Kendall

    IF your states Attorney General won't file the lawsuit that should speak volumes. I wish I could be on the phone when Holder starts to make phone calls. This should be intersting 15 states vs. The United States for a service that is for the betterment of the general public. Who will win? I got my money on the bigger dog.

    April 6, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Peter

    Loser what health care law??? The one that provides health care to cover pre-existing conditions? The one that makes sure that American children born with pre-existing conditions through no fault of theirs are not sentenced to a life of no health care coverage? Go ahead loser file you little law suit and wait for the crushing of your party in November!!! Vote Democrats everybody let finish what we started in Nov08 flush out these losers who dont care about America s Middle class.....

    April 6, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. JWB

    "The federal government is now requiring citizens under penalty of a fine to buy a good or a service, and we think that's an unprecedented overreach by the federal government into the lives of individual citizens"

    So if I don't want any Police protection or the Fire Department or Military action in the middle east, I can just opt out of these services? You know that this lawsuit won't go anywhere but why not squander taxpayer's money on this to gain popularity with the right wing fringe.

    Job well don Governor Pawlenty

    April 6, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Susan

    Hey aren't we already required to buy Auto Insurance? We get big fines now and your drivers licence taken away if you can't show proof of Auto Insurance....... don't blame the so called illegal aliens that are causing our Health Premiums going sky high, but it is these people who can afford it but don't want to pay for it so they go to the emergency rooms when they are sick and they are the ones that makes our Health Premiums cost so much..........go ahead Republicans you are digging your graves even deeper.......

    April 6, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. jm for sc

    You can tell the states that votes Republican. These are the states involved in this foolish lawsuit. Pawlenty knows he has no leg to stand on and just trying to create political unrest prior to the midterm election.

    If I were Republican these days, I would really be ashamed. I think the parents of all the soldiers killed or hurt in Iraq should file a lawsuit against the previous administration for their losses.

    April 6, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Indy

    Pawlenty must have Plenty other pressing issue to deal with other then a law suit that has no chance of doing anything but wasting tax payer dollars and the Governors time. This has been done to death and there is not going to be any state that will win this useless arguement. Time to move on Tim and serve your state in a positive and progressive manner. It is now the law that children and seniors and middle class with have health care so drop your stupidity and get to work Governor.

    April 6, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. Way to go Tim.....

    that's 16 states.......let's just keep adding them.....

    You know, the more Obama does, the more we are going to have to overturn when he's gone.....

    Reformers are always losers in the end....

    April 6, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Old Farmboy

    If Renee's statement is the blunt of her arguement then she's got a problem. She needs to understand the word promote. Promote means that you support, or stand behind something. No where does promote mean that you have to do something against your will. Let's see, President Obama said that he would make it where everyone would have healthcare coverage. That's what he did, he made it a law that everyone is required to buy healthcare. Now that he did that, he will raise taxes to pay for it. Way to go.....

    April 6, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. Perusing-through

    Pawlenty is a hypocrite.

    April 6, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. pc

    another scare tactic from the gop. the bill plainly says that nothing will be done to those that do not comply with this law. the repubs are the ones that wanted this in clintons bill to stop free-loaders from taking advantage of the emergency rooms. i quess they have forgotten that it was their idea!! i am sure fox will cover this for days spreading more lies to scare the uninformed. i wish americans would just read the bill. i sleep much better at night knowing i have such a wonderful president looking out for all america, not just the rich white people that just love to blow all the goverments money on needless wars but can't stand to help thy fellow americans in health care needs.

    April 6, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    pkm my home town is minnesota and i can not believe the land of i0000 lakes could put in a moran like tim in

    April 6, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. Eli

    All I can say is that if the Supreme Court doesn't strike down at least the mandatory insurance portion of this awful unconstitutional legislation, then the Republic is dead and we are not even close to being free.

    April 6, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Julie Thomas

    Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minnesota should not be getting his health care that is compliments of us the taxpayers until all US citizens have health care. What makes him so special? Oh yeah "a do as I say, not as I do" leadership.

    April 6, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. ib

    Go for it; this bill is nothing more but higher taxes and rationed healthcare for seniors. Remember in Nov. vote them out.

    April 6, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. obamamama

    Didn't he get the memo that it would be nothing but a waste of taxpayers $$ and thrown out of any court?? Jerk.

    April 6, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Harry

    "Pawlenty Stupid" throwing State money out the window for what every reputable legal authority has already said is frivolous.

    April 6, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. BeverlyNC

    Republicans morons can be found everywhere.

    This is just another political stunt which had no basis in law and will be never even heard in a court.

    When are the Republican followers going to realize how they have been used like fools by their so-called Party. They don't care one bit about People beneath their elitist class. They want an all-white, all-rich corporate Party and will do anything or say anything to keep the middle class and working families down.

    Republicans are NO friend to the People and cannot be trusted on any issue. How many lies do they need to tell before America wakes up to the total dishonorable, hate-mongering, fear-mongering "me first" Republican tactics???

    April 6, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  18. Matt from MN

    As a voter from Minnesota who has had to deal with Pawlenty for too long, I can tell you one thing for certain: he does not care about the people he represents. His only concern are his current image among far-right-wing conservatives and his political future. What a joke.

    April 6, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. John

    This will never pan out, but for the sake of curiosity lets assume it did.
    Lets assume he gets the mandate stricken, it will would totally change the bill.
    If everyone didn't have to buy in then insurance couldn't profitably eliminate the pre-existing condition clauses and insurance prices would go WAY up.
    It would destroy the effectiveness of the bill and it will be obvious who caused it.
    Then when Dems re-establish their super-majority (It will happen in the next 6 years) They will tackle the problem in a way that the republicans cant weasel out of... Single Payer, Medicare for all.

    April 6, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Michael from Ventura

    In a word: please! In two more words: go away!

    April 6, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. usualone

    At first I thought it was wrong to make people pay for health insurance. Then I remembered (from personal experience) that we all are paying for those without healthcare every time we go to a hospital. That is only one example. The way all will have to pay for it is fairer than expected. Therefore, I think this lawsuit doesn't really examine the issue carefully enough. Hospitals will have one less thing to pass on to us once those who use them as their primary care doctors seek other places to get their health care. Thus this governor is wrong to sue over this issue.

    April 6, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. diridi

    judges are not idiots like your supreme court judges...nor people..ok, what is wrong with health care law...are you out of mind??? do not be idiotic like GOP thugs...ok, people are watching in Nov. election every move RNC takes...ok, is it enough...

    April 6, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Blah blah blah, but I can almost bet you won't do anything about states that mandate the purchase of automobile insurance. Get over it and lets make this work for crying out loud!

    April 6, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    GRANDSTANDING.
    When does he officially announce his run for prsident?

    April 6, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. opticecho

    Wow, does this guy really think he's doing something good for the people here?

    He's really going to regret this decision in 20 years ...

    April 6, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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