South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has joined in another lawsuit against the federal government, this time arguing that the health care plan is a violation of state sovereignty because it mandates that citizens have insurance coverage. Attorneys general of 13 states sued only minutes after the bill was signed Tuesday. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Pensacola Florida.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina stood near the president when the bill was signed Tuesday. Clyburn says there is precedent for opposition to such lawsuits. He says Senator Strom Thurmond and many other officials in the 1960’s opposed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, but they remain law. Clyburn says he views the health care plan as a kind of current-day civil rights bill, because he says health insurance coverage is full of examples of discrimination.
(Clyburn on McMaster MP3 3:15)
Clyburn on McMaster
Legal experts say the lawsuit has little chance of succeeding because under the Constitution federal laws trump state laws.
Most Americans will be required to carry health insurance in 2014, through their employer or the U.S. government, or by purchasing it. Those who refuse will face penalties from the IRS.
Medicaid and tax credits will help assure that everyone is covered.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is leading the lawsuit, joined by McMaster and attorneys general from Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Idaho, Colorado, Louisiana and Washington. The only Democrat in the mix is Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana. McCollum says the bill will put a financial burden on the states.