More than six months after leading a charge to challenge the constitutionality of the Obama administration's health care overhaul, South Carolina's top prosecutor on Thursday praised a federal judge's decision to allow a lawsuit over portions of the package to go to trial.
"This is a complete victory for the states," Attorney General Henry McMaster told The Associated Press. "This is a battle that we must win."
McMaster was reacting to a 65-page order issued by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, McMaster and top prosecutors in 18 other states challenging the sweeping health care reform legislation passed by Congress.
McCollum filed the lawsuit just minutes after President Barack Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill into law in March. The prosecutors argued that a provision requiring individuals to have health insurance or be penalized through taxes as expanding states' Medicaid programs are unconstitutional.
The lawsuit is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Obama administration had asked Vinson to dismiss the entire lawsuit, saying the federal government can require that citizens buy health insurance or face tax penalties under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.