Thursday, March 31, 2011

U.S. files motion to dismiss in Oklahoma v. Sebelius

I missed this development from earlier this week.

On Monday, the United States filed a motion to dismiss in Oklahoma v. Sebelius, which is currently pending in the Northern District of Oklahoma. This case is nearly identical to Virginia v. Sebelius: Oklahoma has adopted a so-called "health care freedom law," the state has filed suit claiming that the minimum coverage provision is unconstitutional, and the state claims an injury-in-fact to its sovereignty from the conflict between the ACA and the state law.

The United States--echoing the justiciability portion of its brief in Virginia v. Sebelius recently filed in the Fourth Circuit--argues that Oklahoma lacks standing to challenge the individual mandate, and thus the case should be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(1) (for want of jurisdiction). Here is th gist of the argument:
It has been settled for decades that a state may not sue the federal government to declare its citizens exempt from federal regulation. Nor may a state create standing simply by declaring that its citizens have rights that, in the abstract, conflict with federal law. Oklahoma’s challenge to the minimum coverage provision must be resolved instead in a live case that involves parties who have a concrete interest in the issue.
You can access the motion to dismiss Oklahoma's complaint here.