Florida, a states’ rights leader in health care, silent in Montana rights’ caseby John Kennedy | June 25th, 2012
Although states’ rights is a key part of the challenge raised by Florida and 25 other states to the federal health care overhaul, a similar argument failed to sway a majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices ruling Monday in a Montana campaign finance case.
The argument already failed to move Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who declined a request to have Florida join 22 states and the District of Columbia siding with Montana in urging justices to allow it to structure its own unique finance law.
Florida, however, is a lead plaintiff in the effort to overturn the federal health care law, on similar states’ rights grounds.
Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, was among those urging Bondi to intercede in the Montana case, especially given Florida’s aggressive defense of states’ rights in health care.
“I was surprised Florida isn’t on that list,” Clemens wrote Bondi in a letter last month. “If corporate interests are allowed to use the Citizens United decision to encourage corporate corruption and patronage at the state level, the likely outcome is that average, everyday citizens will lose their voice.”
Bondi’s own website says the state’s motive for challenging the federal health care law as unconstitutional is because the measure exceeds federal authority and infringes on individual liberty and states’ rights. Her office has said it did not see a need for Florida to intervene in the Montana case.
Justices ruled 5-4 Monday that Montana could not ignore the 2010 Citizens United decision, which ruled that the First Amendment bars limiting independent political spending by corporations and unions. The court ruled such expenditures “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”