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Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder files suit against federal health care law

By   /   July 7, 2010  /   News  /   5 Comments

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, along with three state residents, filed a legal challenge in federal court in Cape Girardeau Wednesday morning against the recently enacted federal health care law.

The lawsuit challenges provisions of the federal law which will reduce Missourians access to affordable health care and violate the United States Constitution and Missouri Constitution, Kinder said in a statement.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

The suit also addresses the unfunded mandate placed on states to pay for health care.

“Missouri is cashed strapped and cannot afford the huge financial burden of this bill,” Kinder said. “We are fighting to protect the freedoms and pocketbooks of Missourians.”

Joining Kinder as plantiffs are Julie Keathley of Stoddard County, Dale Morris of St. Louis County and Samantha Hill of Johnson County. The attorney in the case is Thor Hearne, a partner with the Washington D.C. -based firm Arent Fox.

Legal Analysis

There are a number of  issues with the lawsuit that may prevent it from proceeding, said Dave Roland, an attorney and policy analyst at Show-Me Institute, a free-market think tank.

Dave Roland, Policy Analyst, Show-Me Institute

The first concern is the question of standing, he told Missouri Watchdog.

Before a court will consider a rule on a legal issue, the plaintiff must establish that there is a current case or controversy between themselves and the defendant, Roland said. Where the government is the defendant, this usually means that the government must have taken some act that has caused harm or detriment to the person filing the lawsuit.

“It is not usually sufficient simply for a law to be on the books,” Roland said. “Courts usually require some implementation of the law before they will address its validity.”

The lawsuit has eight counts and Roland said it is likely that the court will dismiss at least half of the claims raised in the lawsuit, and maybe up to three-quarters.

Political Response

The lawsuit is already getting a favorable response from the Missouri Republican Party, however.

“Missouri Republicans have been at the forefront of protecting state sovereignty from the federal government’s onslaught of onerous regulations and mandates,” said Lloyd Smith, executive director, in a statement.

“We commend Lt. Gov. Kinder and the plaintiffs of this constitutional challenge for their diligent work to protect Missourians and our great state from the worst parts of the federal health care bill.”

The Missouri Democratic Party has not responded to a request for comment.

By Brian R. Hook, brhook@missouriwatchdog.org, (314) 482-7944


Brian formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.