In a defiant last stand against a newly passed health care overhaul, opponents are trying everything they can to stop it from becoming the law of the land.

Republicans in the Senate are planning parliamentary maneuvers to keep a companion bill from reaching the president’s desk. And lawmakers in at least 30 states are working to prevent what they say is an unconstitutional mandate forcing Americans to have health insurance.

Experts say none of it is likely to work, but it will keep the issue, and the outrage, alive until Election Day.

“I am surprised by the mobilization of the states. It does strike me as a kind of civil disobedience, a declaration that we’re not going to follow the law of the land,” said Mark Hall, a professor of law and public health at Wake Forest University.

“It doesn’t make sense. The federal Constitution couldn’t be any clearer that federal law is supreme,” Hall added.

The House passed the plan late Sunday, sparking a variety of protests and threats less than a day later.


Monday, at least 10 state attorneys general had promised to file suit against the federal government when President Obama signs the bill. The states were Alabama, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington. Officials in North Dakota were weighing whether to join the case.

Virginia and Idaho have passed legislation aimed at blocking the bill’s insurance requirement from taking effect in their states.

In Michigan, a petition drive was launched to put a measure on the ballot asking voters if they want to exempt the state from the overhaul.

In Arizona, lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment that will be put on the ballot in November. And in Colorado, a citizens’ group was preparing to collect signatures to put a comparable amendment on the ballot.

Regardless of whether such measures are enacted, they will give opponents of the federal bill a chance to keep the issue in front of voters until the fall.

For the states, it’s a question of individual rights. Many say Congress does not have the authority to require citizens to buy goods or services they may not want.


“Just by virtue of being a resident of the United States, never before in history have we been required to purchase something,” said Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for Republican Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II.

Although the main bill has passed both houses of Congress, a series of changes sought by House Democrats was headed to the Senate, where debate is expected to begin as early as today.

Senate Democrats hope to approve the revisions and send the complete bill directly to Obama, but Republicans are determined to drag out the process by offering scores of amendments.

Republican Sen. John McCain told KTVK in Phoenix that the Senate maneuvering is only the first line in the battle against a measure passed in an “unsavory, sausage-making, Chicago-style process.

“We will fight in the courts, and we will fight in the rallies and the tea parties and the town hall meetings. And we will fight in the ballot booth, and we will prevail. And we will defeat this because the United States of America and Arizona can’t afford this,” McCain said.

“People are mad, and they’re more angry than I’ve ever seen them, and they should be.”


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