Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make its second argument before a US District Court judge this week as it continues to fend off constitutional challenges to the nation’s new health care law.

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Judge Roger Vinson of the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola will hear the DOJ’s motion to dismiss a multistate suit brought by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, 18 other states, two individuals and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“The individual health insurance mandate and the massive impact of the Medicaid mandate on state budgets together entail a huge expansion of federal power,” McKenna said. “Health care reform is important—much too important to build on an unconstitutional foundation. The courts would do a great service to our country and to the Constitution by fully considering the questions before them and rejecting the federal government’s motion to dismiss this case.”

In August, a Virginia judge rejected a similar DOJ motion, ruling that “neither the US Supreme court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue” and “resolution of this case must await a hearing on the merits.”

Oral arguments in Pensacola are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. CDT (7 a.m. PDT). 

The two main provisions of the multi-state lawsuit challenge:

  1. The unprecedented and unconstitutional requirement that individuals lacking health insurance must purchase private insurance or face a fine; and
  2. The massive expansion of the Medicaid program which will unconstitutionally require states to spend billions more on this program at a time when state budgets are already in crisis.

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For more information on the multi-state lawsuit visit:

Additional details:

Members of the media are invited to attend the oral argument in Florida either in the courtroom or in a jury selection room with closed circuit television. There will be no live or recorded coverage of the hearing outside of the courthouse, so members of the media who would like to cover the argument are strongly encouraged to attend.

Immediately following the hearing at approximately 11:15 a.m. CDT (9:15 a.m. PDT), McCollum, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Alabama Attorney General Troy King and Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB Small Business Legal Center will conduct a news conference on the steps of the courthouse.