This week, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia became the first judge in any courtroom to issue a ruling declaring part of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Despite being preceded by two rulings in similar lawsuits that fully rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments and declared the entire law constitutional, and despite the dismissal of least a dozen other similar challenges out of a total of twenty-four nationwide, Judge Hudson’s decision (which was described by Professor Timothy Jost as “defective”) set off a media firestorm as opponents of the health care law happily fanned the flames.
As the lawsuit being brought by 20 right-wing state Attorneys General against the new health care law proceeds in federal court in Florida, a bipartisan group of over 75 lawmakers working with Progressive States Network and the Constitutional Accountability Center announced this week that they will be defending the law’s constitutionality in an amicus brief in support of the law. State lawmakers who have signed the brief represent 27 states, including at least 12 where their respective Attorneys General or Governors are plaintiffs in the action.
On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, a bipartisan group of over 75 lawmakers from 27 states announced that they will be filing a "friend of the court" brief defending the constitutionality of the new health care law, in response to the constitutional challenge being led by 20 right-wing state Attorneys General in federal court in Florida. Speaking on a telephone press conference announcing the filing of the brief, lawmakers who signed on to the brief stressed their differences with the right-wing Attorneys General trying to repeal the law, their belief that the law is constitutional, and their continuing work to implement the law effectively at the state level.
Last week, California became the first state to bring its state health exchange into law. Known as the California Health Benefit Exchange, the exchange is expected to be operational by 2014 and cover at least 3 million uninsured Californians. Success of the program depends upon the appointment of a powerful five-member health care oversight board. While signing the bills to create the exchange, Gov. Schwarzenegger stressed the critical role states play to implement the national health care law, noting that "for national reform to succeed, it will be up to the states to make it work."