Seattle City Attorney Seeks to Quash AG Participation in Health Care Bill Challenge
We at The Amateur Law Professor like to entertain the current political and legal discourse of the day. This is why, when contacted via comment by Seattle City Attorneys Office Communications Director, Kimberly Mills, we invited her to do a guest post. Everything that follows is her post: On April 22 Seattle City Attorney Peter S. Holmes filed what we believe to be the first legal action to compel an attorney general to withdraw from the multistate litigation challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (State of Florida, et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al.).
With support from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council, Holmes asserts that Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna lacked the statutory or common law authority to make the State a plaintiff in the case.
“The Mayor, the City Council and I want Rob McKenna to comply with the law. He does not have the authority to take this cynical, partisan action in the name of the State of Washington,” City Attorney Peter S. Holmes said. “He certainly does not represent the City of Seattle. While claiming concern for the U.S. Constitution, the Attorney General disregards Washington’s own constitution. He should withdraw from the lawsuit."
The Washington Supreme Court Clerk has set a Commissioner’s hearing for the petition for June 24. McKenna’s response is due May 24; the city’s reply is due June 14. Assuming the Commissioner sends the petition on to the Court, a hearing and briefing schedule would follow. The petition, supporting documents, and the YouTube video of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s reaction to the attorney general’s decision to challenge health care reform on behalf of the state can be found on the city's website.
The Attorney General has lost on this issue previously, Seattle Gas, 28 Wash. 488 (1902), and the State Auditor has as well, Yelle, 55 Wash.2d 286 (1959).
[The Prof] We here at The Amateur Law Professor fully support Seattle City Attorney Holmes' lawsuit, and wish him the best in ensuring that Washingtonians are actually represented by their Attorney General.