Pawlenty asks state AG to examine health bill's legality

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) wrote his state's Democratic attorney general on Monday, asking her to examine legal issues posed by the new healthcare bill. 

Pawlenty wrote state Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) on Monday, copying all other governors and state attorneys general, to specifically ask her to examine whether the health reform plan approved by Congress is unconstitutional. 

"As you may be aware, attorneys general in at least 12 states have indicated they plan to file lawsuits to block implementation of the federal health care reform legislation on constitutional grounds," Pawlenty wrote. "I respectfully request that you review the legal issues being raised by these unprecedented federal mandate and join other attorneys general to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens."

A number of state attorneys general have pledged to litigate the health bill, though a number of those officials are Republicans and have elected to do so independently of being directed by their state's governor. 

Pawlenty, of course, is a potential 2012 Republican candidate for president. A number of GOP lawmakers have said they expect the healthcare bill, President Barack Obama's signature domestic issue, to be a key issue not only in 2010, but in 2012 as well.