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Oral arguments set in federal health care lawsuit

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 by Dara Kam

A federal appeals court in Atlanta has set June 8 for oral arguments in the the federal health care lawsuit but denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s request for a full court hearing.

The fast-tracked lawsuit by 26 states, including Florida, and the National Federal of Independent Businesses is ultimately headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are pleased that the 11th Circuit scheduled oral argument this June, so we can resolve this case and protect Americans’ individual liberties,” Bondi said in a statement. “This case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a case of such national importance should have no delay.”

Pensacola U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in January ruled the health overhaul unconstitutional, saying the U.S. Commerce Clause did not allow the federal government to require every citizen to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Doing so would give the federal government such sweeping powers that it could force its citizens to eat broccoli, he contended.

Vinson, who is based in Pensacola, declared the entire health act invalid.

Earlier this month Vinson put a stay on his ruling while the appeals proceed – meaning the health act could continue to be implemented – but gave the White House a week to appeal. President Obama’s administration filed the appeal on March 9.

Bondi asks for full court hearing in federal health care lawsuit

Friday, March 11th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Pam Bondi wants a full-court review of the President Obama administration’s appeal in the federal health care lawsuit.

Bondi filed a motion with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta seeking an en banc hearing, meaning the appellate review would be held before all 10 federal judges.

The reason for her request, Bondi said in a press release, “is to avoid any unnecessary delays that may arise if a three-judge panel decides the case and then refers it for a hearing by the full 11th Circuit.”

If the court agrees to her request, the case would be heard on June 6, according to Bondi.

“This case is so significant to all Americans that it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible,” she said in the release. “If granted, the petition would allow a faster track to the Supreme Court.”

Feds file appeal in health care lawsuit

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by Dara Kam

President Obama’s administration filed an appeal Tuesday afternoon in Florida’s lawsuit challenging the federal health care law, meeting a Pensacola federal judge’s deadline.

Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida, who struck down the law as unconstitutional, issued a stay Thursday of his earlier ruling, effectively ordering the 26 states that challenged it – including Florida – to continue to implement the law.

But e gave the White House until Thursday to appeal for his stay to remain intact.

The U.S. Justice Department filed the appeal to the Eleventh Circuit appeals court in Atlanta, but could have gone directly to the U.S. Supreme Court where the case will ultimately be decided.

Six more states join FL health care lawsuit against feds

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Six more states have joined Florida’s legal challenge to the federal health care law now awaiting a Pensacola federal judge’s preliminary ruling.

Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine are now among the 26 states, including Florida, challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law. Virginia has filed a separate lawsuit and Oklahoma is considering its own as well.

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed the papers in Pensacola to add the six states to the lawsuit initiated by her predecessor Bill McCollum.

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives are debating a bill that would repeal the law. That measure is expected to go nowhere in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats still have the upper hand.

Health insurance mandate like broccoli? Judge wants to know

Thursday, December 16th, 2010 by Dara Kam

A federal judge in Pensacola hearing oral arguments in a key lawsuit over the federal health care law this morning repeatedly questioned lawyers about whether the federal government was overreaching its authority by forcing individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson wanted to know if the health care law set a precedent allowing Congress to pass laws about anything that has an economic impact.

Congress could decide that “everybody needs to eat broccoli” because that would make them healthier and thereby reduce health care costs, Vinson proposed.

“If they decided that everybody needs to eat broccoli because broccoli is healthy they could mandate that everybody has to buy a certain amount of broccoli each week,” he asked David Rivkin, a lawyer for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and the 19 other states suing the federal government over the law.

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McCollum, Bondi solicit GOP support for federal health care lawsuit

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Bill McCollum and his successor Pam Bondi are urging fellow Republicans throughout the country to join his lawsuit against the federal government over the new federal health care law.

McCollum and Bondi, who will take over on Jan. 4., sent a letter to 13 Republicans who won election this month as attorneys general or governor hoping to shore up support for the lawsuit now working its way through the federal courts.

“Having a majority of the states litigating our constitutional rights is a powerful message,” they wrote.

Oral argument on the case is set for Dec. 16 in Pensacola.

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