WASHINGTON, March 23 (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 individuals 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 on 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 legal challenges, ABC reported.
"We simply cannot afford the things that are in this bill that we're mandated to do," Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican running for governor, said 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.
Washington state Democrats Tuesday filed a public disclosure request with the office of Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, seeking "all documents relating in any way to your decision" to join the lawsuit, Seattle PI reported.
"The public has a right to know whether McKenna generated this idea himself or whether he is acting on behalf of the National Republican Party or the Insurance Industry," State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said she has made it clear to McKenna "that I will actively oppose this lawsuit if it moves forward."
The Department of Justice issued a statement saying it will defend the statute and expects it will survive constitutional challenges.
"We are confident that this statute is constitutional and we will prevail when we defend it in court," the statement said.
Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin told ABC News the legislation is likely to survive constitutional challenges.
"Congress has the power to require the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause," he said. "That is because Congress can regulate economic activities that have a cumulative economic effect on interstate commerce."