Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General-elect of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, has announced he will file an independent lawsuit challenging the federal government over the new healthcare law.
Pruitt held a news conference Friday morning announcing his decision. It came as no surprise because he made his opposition to the healthcare reform law well known during his campaign.
"This is not about politics, this is not about healthcare. This is challenging the unconstitutionality of federal healthcare that will force everyone to purchase insurance," Pruitt said.
"There is great clarity for me on the necessary and urgent need to exercise my responsibility to defend Oklahoma's Constitution against a federal government and president that have gone too far in their overreach of power and authority."
Pruitt said because Oklahomans passed State Question 756, which amended the state Constitution to say that Oklahomans cannot be forced to purchase insurance, those two laws cannot coexist. He said his obligation is to defend Oklahoma law, and the best way to do that was through an independent lawsuit.
"The most logical way to defend our state Constitution is in an Oklahoma federal court not in another state," Pruitt said.
Governor-elect Mary Fallin praised Pruitt's decision. Her office released the following statement:
"President Obama's healthcare plan is bad for our economy, bad for our health and bad for our states, which must shoulder the burden of hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded mandates. It's also an unconstitutional Washington power-grab that seeks to force our citizens to buy certain products. The people of Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly to oppose that power-grab and to reject policies that replace individual choice with the choices of Washington bureaucrats. I am happy to join our new attorney general in announcing that Oklahoma is challenging the federal health care law in court, standing up to Washington and defending our Constitution and the rights of our citizens."
Pruitt will be sworn in as attorney general Monday, Jan. 10.