Fourteen states challenge healthcare law

WASHINGTON, (UPI) – More than a dozen state attorneys general Tuesday filed legal challenges to the healthcare law soon after U.S. President Barack Obama signed the measure.

The lawsuits focus on the mandate requiring an individual to buy health insurance, an attorney representing 13 of the 14 states told ABC News. The states also expressed concern about the new law imposing unfunded mandates state governments, the lawyer said.

We are convinced that this legislation is fundamentally flawed as a matter of constitutional law, that it exceeds the scope of proper constitutional authority of the federal government and tramples upon the rights and prerogatives of states and their citizens, said David Rivkin Jr., representing 13 states.

More states are expected to file in the coming days and weeks, ABC reported.

We simply cannot afford the things that are in this bill that we’re mandated to do, said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican running for governor, during a news conference. It’s not realistic. It’s not hype, it’s just very, very wrong.

Attorneys general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho and South Dakota joined Florida in the lawsuit. Virginia filed a separate suit in federal court in Richmond because it has a state measure that would block such a mandate.

Some legal experts told ABC News they believe the legislation would survive constitutional challenges because of a deep history of precedent dating back to the New Deal that allows Congress to regulate economic activity.

Congress has the power to require the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause, said Yale Law professor Jack Balkin, who runs the legal Web site Balkinization. That is because Congress can regulate economic activities that have a cumulative economic effect on interstate commerce.