2:13pm March 25, 2010

GA Attorney General Says “No” To Lawsuit Against Health Care Law

Thurbert Baker

Georgia attorney general Thurbert Baker finds himself under attack by Georgia governor Sonny Perdue and the Republican members of the Georgia legislature this week, who are rumored to be introducing a resolution to introduce Articles of Impeachment against Baker. Governor Perdue, who joined the chorus of GOP governors across the country in denouncing the new healthcare law enacted by the Obama administration, ordered Baker to sue the federal government earlier this week. Baker, a Democrat who has thrown his hat in the ring as a future gubernatorial contender, refused to join the dozen or so AG’s filing suit against the federal government.

“I do not believe that Georgia has a viable legal claim against the United States….I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit. In short, this litigation is likely to fail and will consume significant amounts of taxpayers’ hard-earned money in the process,” Baker wrote in a two page letter to Governor Perdue. Baker informed the Republican Perdue that he was “unaware of any constitutional infirmities and do not think it would be prudent, legally or fiscally, to pursue such litigation. I must therefore respectfully decline your request.”

Erick Erickson’s website Peach Pundit asserted on Wednesday evening “the resolution [for Articles of Impeachment] had around 30 signatures and things were moving forward. Apparently, the sponsor agreed hold off until legislators meet with Gov. Perdue in the morning to further discuss options.”

Impeachment by the Georgia legislature requires a simple majority vote in the House and a two thirds majority vote in the Senate. But Georgia’s legislature, which has already been in session for several weeks, is fast approaching “Crossover Day”, the last day in the session to move legislation forward in order to pass it this session.

Taking up the Baker impeachment resolution on Friday, which seems to be what resolution backers are planning, would likely derail efforts already underway to pass legislation seeking to split Fulton County in two. Fulton is one of Georgia’s most populous and most racially polarized counties. Reviving Milton County, which merged with Fulton County decades ago after going bankrupt, has been a perennial mission by North Fulton’s conservative legislators. It is unlikely they will table their efforts to help fellow conservative Governor Perdue’s allies in the legislature punish Baker.

Governor Perdue, meanwhile, has decided to sue the federal government without the help of the Attorney General’s office. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that Perdue “will appoint a ‘special attorney general’ to challenge federal health care legislation signed into law this week by President Obama. According to Online Athens, “the Democratic Party of Georgia filed an open-records request today asking for any written communications between the governor’s office and various conservative organizations, apparently seeking to discover Perdue’s request is part of a concerted national effort.”

About the Author

Kris Broughton
Kris Broughton combines searing opinions with emotionally engaging commentary to provide insightful, original criticism of today's social and political events. He is the blogger behind Brown Man Thinking Hard, and a blog contributor at Big Think.com. His work has been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters, the Post Tribune, Beacon News, and TV ONE Online.



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