The Governors of Nevada and Arizona have joined 14 states suing the federal government over the constitutionality of health care reform, after the states’ attorneys general refused to join the lawsuit. Govs. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) and Jane Brewer (R-AZ) appeared on Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren to announce the challenge and — like the lawsuit itself — failed to convince anyone that the Supreme Court actually agrees with their interpretation of the constitution. Instead, both governors regurgitated the Tea Party Manifesto:
GIBBONS: Under Article 1 of the constitution, if the government is allowed to proceed with telling you what you must buy when you do nothing in regard to that, all of our Article 1 Section 7 limitations of federal power are for not, they’re out the window. There is no reason to stop the federal government from deciding on what you eat that day.
HUTCHISON (attorney representing NV): Particularly the individual mandate, which for the first time in United States history requires U.S. citizens to purchase a service or good in order maintain their good standing with the United States government. Otherwise, they’re going to get chased down by one of these 16,000 IRS agents.
BREWER: We just simply cannot sustain what they’re mandating us to do under the Medicaid part of it. And then again, with the people out there. It could be any kind of amount of money that they would be taxing the people of Arizona, unconstitutionaly by the way.
Watch a compilation:
Not surprisingly, both Gibbons and Brewer are running for re-election in 2010 and health care reform polls poorly in their states. Yesterday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) — who is likely running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 — announced that he would join the lawsuit, despite his attorney general’s belief that the health law was constitutional. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius picked up on this trend yesterday and accused Republican state attorneys general of launching the suits for political purposes. “I think that the vast majority of lawsuits have been filed by Attorneys General in states where they have also some interest in higher office,” said Sebelius. “I’m going to let the lawyers go debate the situation. [But] we are confident that the legal standing of the law is solid and that this has more to do with politics than policy.”
Yesterday, North Dakota also joined the suit, bringing the total number of states on the Florida case to 17.