The lawsuit filed by Idaho and more than a dozen other states challenging health care laws approved by Congress earlier this year will get its first test at the end of the summer, with both sides hoping a federal judge rules quickly in their favor.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said the lawsuit, filed in March, has been fast tracked and will have a court hearing in September. Wasden and other states’ attorneys general will ask for summary judgment to win the case, while the Department of Justice, which is defending the federal government, has asked a judge to dismiss the case.
If neither wins, a full trial could continue into next year. Wasden said appeals, including a U.S. Supreme Court, could stretch the case out two or three years. Many of the provisions challenged by Idaho and other states, including a mandate that people buy health insurance, go into effect in 2014.
Wasden told Republicans gathered at the party’s state convention this past weekend that he’s accepting invitations from GOP groups across the state to explain the health care lawsuit. He told IdahoReporter.com that the lawsuit centers on Congress’s power from the Interstate Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution.
The Justice Department argued in its motion to dismiss earlier this month that nothing in the new health care laws violates the Constitution, so the states’ challenge should be quashed. “Reasonable people may disagree on how best to resolve the enormous problems in the interstate health care market,” the motion reads. “But those disagreements can move from the elected branches to the judicial arena only when a concrete case or controversy frames a genuine constitutional issue. [The states’ challenge] does not meet this test, and therefore should be dismissed.”
Wasden is running unopposed under the Republican banner for a third term as Idaho’s attorney general. He said that while the convention is key for the GOP, it won’t affect the work of his office.