Swanson won't sue to stop health care reform

AG Lori Swanson
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Monday she will not join a lawsuit filed by other states seeking to overturn the new federal health care reform law.
MPR Photo/Tim Pugmire

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has rejected a request from Gov. Tim Pawlenty to sue over the new federal health care law.

Instead, Swanson said Monday she will file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the federal government in a lawsuit filed by 13 state attorneys general.

The Democratic attorney general sent the Republican governor a letter saying a lawsuit isn't warranted because health care fits squarely within the federal government's authority to regulate interstate commerce.

Pawlenty had asked Swanson to challenge whether a requirement that individuals buy health insurance is constitutional.

Swanson tells Pawlenty he could file his own friend-of-the-court brief as governor to support the legal challenge.

In response to Swanson's decision, the governor's office issued a statement saying that Pawlenty will join other Republicans in fighting the law.

"Governor Pawlenty believes that the federal government is overreaching by subjecting citizens to a fine if they do not comply with a mandate to buy a good or service," the statement said. "Governor Pawlenty intends to participate in this litigation."

(MPR reporter Madeleine Baran contributed to this report.)

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