GOP gears up for health bill lawsuits

Josh Gerstein

The looming Congressional showdown over health care reform has set Washington’s legal war rooms whirring in preparation for court battles over any health legislation that moves towards President Barack Obama’s desk.

Republican lawyers say they’re conducting research and drafting arguments for lawsuits that could be filed within days or weeks, particularly if House leaders decide to go forward with a “deem & pass” rule that would not permit a freestanding vote on the Senate-passed health care reform bill.

“There is a lot of discussion among various lawyers and we’ve had some conference calls,” said Cleta Mitchell, a Washington attorney long active in GOP circles. “People are just distraught that the Democrats are even contemplating doing something like this. It’s utter lawlessness to deem a bill passed without voting for it. It’s horrific.”

Members of Congress are also predicting lawsuits, though it’s unclear whether they will come directly from lawmakers. “There will be both challenges to the substance of the legislation and to the procedure by which this was done, if they use this deeming procedure,” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

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