The clash raises the question: What happens when a governor and an attorney general disagree? And will other states run into the same problem? In the wake of the healthcare bill’s passage, a heated legal debate has ensued.
“This happens fairly frequently across the country, especially when the governor and attorney general are from opposite parties,” says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “The key here is that both are independently elected so neither has control over what the other does."
“McKenna is free to file the suit and Gregoire is free to criticize him for it,” says Mr. Sabato. “But McKenna has the power to do what he has done.”
McKenna certainly agrees. He says the 10th Amendment protects states from being forced to follow federal laws that are not covered by the US Constitution. This measure "unconstitutionally imposes new requirements on our state and on its citizens,” says McKenna. "It's an unprecedented federal mandate, requiring all Washingtonians to purchase health insurance, and violates the Commerce Clause and the 10th amendment of the US Constitution.”