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petegz28
04-12-2011, 07:23 AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Democratic attorney general broke with his party on Monday and urged a federal judge to invalidate the central provision of the new health care law.

The filing of the brief by Attorney General Chris Koster, a onetime Republican state legislator who switched to the Democratic Party in 2007, underscores the act’s political tenuousness in a critical Midwestern swing state.

Mr. Koster’s action followed months of pressure from state Republicans that he join attorneys general from other states who are challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Rather than join the litigation, however, Mr. Koster chose to file a “friend of the court” brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, which is reviewing one of five challenges to the act that have moved into the midlevel appellate courts.

Three lower court judges have upheld the law, while two have ruled that its central provision — the requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance — is unconstitutional.

The 11th Circuit is hearing a case filed in Pensacola, Fla., by Republican governors and attorneys general from 26 states. The federal district judge in that case, Roger Vinson, decreed that the entire health care act should be invalidated, but stayed his ruling until the Supreme Court settled the matter.

In Missouri, a ballot referendum aimed at nullifying the law was approved by nearly three to one last year, and the legislature recently passed resolutions urging Mr. Koster to join the legal challenges. The state’s lieutenant governor, a Republican, filed a lawsuit last year seeking to block the law.

In a letter to the Republican leaders of the legislature announcing his decision to oppose the law, Mr. Koster acknowledged that the legislative resolutions, though nonbinding, were “impactful, as they give voice to the political will of Missourians.”

Although he supports an expansion of health coverage, he wrote, his duty is “to the law, and not to a political outcome.”

Though Mr. Koster has been slow to weigh in, he did not mince words, arguing in the court brief that Congress had overstepped its authority by mandating that individuals buy health insurance, which he called “a substantial blow to federalism and personal freedom.”

“If Congress can force activity under the Commerce Clause, then it could force individuals to receive vaccinations or annual checkups, undergo mammogram or prostate exams or maintain a specific body mass,” he wrote.

He asked that the mandate be stripped from the law, and that the rest of it be allowed to remain in effect.

His central argument echoed those made by plaintiffs in a number of the lawsuits, but it was noteworthy coming from a Democrat. The only Democratic state official who has joined the litigation as a plaintiff, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana, switched to the Republican Party in February.

For Mr. Koster, who was elected in 2008, the decision to oppose his party on such a high-profile issue reflects the political challenges for Missouri Democrats in the coming election cycle.

Though this state has long been viewed as a political bellwether, the politics of the electorate have grown more conservative in recent years, and Barack Obama narrowly lost the state in 2008.

Mr. Koster, who is up for re-election next year along with the state’s two top Democrats, Gov. Jay Nixon and Senator Claire McCaskill, has already faced questions about his political loyalties.

Known as a Republican moderate, he became a Democrat just months before announcing his candidacy for attorney general, succeeding despite criticism of the move from both parties, including being pinned with the nickname Koster the Imposter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/us/politics/12missouri.html?_r=2&hpw

HonestChieffan
04-12-2011, 07:37 AM
Koster is a phony. That said, this is a good move.

chiefsnorth
04-12-2011, 09:03 AM
The headline should say, "Koster flip-flops again in latest attempt to preserve political career."

talastan
04-12-2011, 09:36 AM
The headline should say, "Koster flip-flops again in latest attempt to preserve political career."

THIS :LOL: However if some good comes of it by getting rid of Obamacare, then go man go!