Governor Gibbons Says if Attorney General Masto Will Not File Lawsuit Challenging Health Care Bill, He Will Seek Outside Counsel and Move Forward Without Her

Pursuant to Nevada law NRS 228.170(1), Governor Gibbons yesterday directed Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto to take legal action against the federal government’s new healthcare legislation.

On a conference call with Nevada political bloggers this morning, Governor Gibbons said he plans to give Masto until Monday to conduct a legal review of the House health care bill and make a decision about filing a lawsuit against the federal government for what he called “the unconstitutional aspects” of the bill.

If Masto does not think she has an “iron clad case,” the standard the governor said Masto told him she would apply in her decision making process, Gibbons said he will seek outside counsel and move forward with legal action on behalf of the state.  Gibbons said he has spoken with a number of Nevada attorneys who are willing to do the work pro bono due to their belief that a suit has merit and serves the public interest.

“This legislation is unprecedented and unconstitutional in that it penalizes people and businesses for not purchasing a product, and it is inequitable in that it favors the residents of some states over others because of exemptions and special deals that were cut to buy the votes of certain members of Congress,” said Gibbons. “There is no doubt in my mind that the state of Nevada and other states around the country have legal grounds in this matter.”

Masto is not so sure.  In a letter to Gibbons yesterday she stated, “The attorney general is the state’s chief legal officer. Like you I have a responsibility to represent the state’s interests. As such, I must be satisfied in my own professional judgment that the case has merit and should be filed. I also have the responsibility to decide when litigation is conducted.”

If Gibbons sticks to his word, she has until Monday to make that decision.

Update 1 (5:59 PM): Here’s the letter the governor sent to the AG about this matter today:  2010-03-25_AG_Letter

Update 2 (30 seconds later): Here’s what CityLife editor and Slash Politics blogger Steve Sebelius has to say about it.  Calls Gibbons “Captain Deadline” (ha!)

  • Rory

    Masto will do nothing (except maybe hold a fundraiser). She is Harry’s lapdog. No spine, no action.

  • Bob Burgess

    Masto, do not allow that son-of-a-bitch, Gibbons bully you. He us full of shit when he thinks he can force a filling. You are the Attorney General and he is not your supreme boss. He has some idea he will make an impression with his voters, and at the same time try to control your office. In fact, tell him to shove the matter up his stinking ass.

    Bob Burgesss
    Henderson