By Mike Lillis - 06/23/10 09:20 PM EDT
State attorneys general in Iowa, Vermont and Oregon on Wednesday sought permission to file amicus briefs in support of the Democrats' new healthcare reform law.
Twenty states have sued the federal government over the legislation, arguing that one of the key changes — the requirement that most people purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty — is an infringement on constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.
A few weeks ago, a Florida-based federal judge said that no amicus briefs will be considered in the case — either for or against the suit. Such briefs, said U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, "will raise discrete legal or procedural issues for which amici involvement would not be helpful or beneficial."
But states were not mentioned specifically in Vinson's ruling, leaving Iowa's Tom Miller, Vermont's William Sorrell and Oregon's John Kroger to sense an exception. "[S]tates (like the federal government) are typically given broad latitude for purposes of amicus filings," they wrote.
The new health reform law is vital, they say, to control both skyrocketing health costs and rising uninsured rates.
"Without a national solution to the health care crisis," they wrote, "[our states] would be forced to spend more and more on health care and yet slide farther and farther away from their obligation to protect the health and well being of their citizens."