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More talk shows ask Shurtleff to explain health care bill lawsuit

More talk shows ask Shurtleff to explain health care bill lawsuit


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SALT LAKE CITY -- He's becoming the face of the debate over states' rights vs. health care reform.

Fresh off of his appearance on Hannity, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has another busy day explaining the state's lawsuit over the recently-passed health care bill to a national audience.

Shurtleff's message to national talk shows is this: He believes the law requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, and he wouldn't have joined the 15 other states in filing a lawsuit against the federal government if he felt it had no chance.


Shurtleff's message is this: The law requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, and he wouldn't have filed the suit if he felt it had no chance.

"We have got a great judge, a Reagan appointee. We thought we had a 50/50 chance of getting him, and we did," Shurtleff said. "It's the 11th Circuit, which more conservative than some of the others like the 9th."

The judge has set a scheduling conference on the lawsuit for two weeks from now. In the meantime, states may ask for an injunction to stay the federal law.

Shurtleff feels this lawsuit will eventually go all the way up to the top.

"With this current Supreme Court [there is] a 5-4 likelihood that we might be able to prevail and convince them that this individual mandate goes way beyond [congressional] commerce clause power."

Even with sympathetic judges, Shurtleff admits he's facing an uphill battle.

"We have to show irreparable harm. That's kind of the next step for us as AGs, and in the meantime add more attorneys general. We've had two more states join us in the last few days," he said. For now, there are 16 in all.

Shurtleff says he has a 90-minute stretch Wednesday where was doing one radio interview after another. This time around, he doesn't seem to mind the constant interviews.

"I'm just really delighted that, this time, I didn't have to talk about polygamy," he said.

Pundits from both the left and the right have treated him fairly, but Shurtleff expected more of a confrontation from MSNBC's Ed Schultz.

Shurtleff says he heard Schultz say things like he was going to "take on" the attorney general and that he'd "met his match." Once Shurtleff condemned any violence toward lawmakers over their vote on health care reform on "The Ed Show," the conversation turned quite friendly.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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