One of Gov. Scott Walker’s first acts was to instruct was Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to file a lawsuit challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Days after the sweeping federal law was signed into law by President Obama last March, Van Hollen raised questions about its constitutionality but said he could not act unless then-Gov. James Doyle, a Democrat, or one of houses of the state legislature authorized him to act. Both houses were controlled by the Democrats.
In a hand-delivered letter, Walker on Monday instructed Van Hollen to act. Both are Republicans.
The key issue, according to Van Hollen, is whether the federal government has the authority to require individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. According to Van Hollen, the regulation is unprecedented and unconstitutional.
“The Constitution places limits on the power of the federal government, and these limits must be defended or they will disappear,” Van Hollen said in a prepared statement. “Never before has the federal government required an individual to either buy government-approved insurance or pay a penalty. And nowhere does the Constitution authorize Congress to regulate in this manner.”
Twenty other states have joined a multi-state challenge being brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. In that multi-state, summary judgment motions have been filed and argued.
In a related case brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia, a federal district court has ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.