Candidate Kevin Calvey leads group suing to stop 'ObamaCare'
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Published: 09-Apr-2010

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 09-Apr-2010

Former state Rep. Kevin Calvey, a leading candidate for the Fifth District Congressional seat being vacated by Mary Fallin, is suing to block the new federal health care bill.

Calvey is attorney-of-record for the lawsuit filed this week. Fellow plaintiffs include two of Oklahoma’s most prominent fundamental Christian pastors, Rev. Paul Blair of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, and Rev. Tom Vineyard of Windsor Hills Baptist Church in west Oklahoma City.

Joined by a large group of parents and students from Windsor Hills Baptist School, Calvey unveiled the suit at the state Capitol press conference on Thursday (April 8). Also with Calvey at the event was Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan. 

Calvey said the group did not “undertake this step lightly. Protecting the Constitution protects the rights of ourselves, our families and these children you see here behind me." Calvey established a website (www.OklahomansagainstObamacare.org) where other potential plaintiffs can ask to join the lawsuit.

Calvey has supported calls from legislative Republicans for state Attorney General Drew Edmondson to act against the new federal health care law. At this press conference, Calvey stressed, “This action of ours in no way gets Attorney General Edmondson off the hook.”

Maughan said one new local health care facility could have been stopped under this new law, but that his work with U.S. Sen. Inhofe led to revisions in the federal law to keep the new facility on track.

Calvey described his plaintiffs as a racially diverse group of people that includes Democrats, Republicans. One reporter asked if Republicans have abandoned a traditional pro-national health care insurance position articulated in past decades by President Richard Nixon and others. Calvey replied, “There might have been Republicans who at some point in the past supported federalizing health care, but that time is not now.”

Rebutting contentions the suit is a “political stunt,” Calvey said: “Others all over the country are getting into this issue. I am standing with them through my own direct action to challenge the new law.” He said the suit “is not frivolous. There are 19 attorneys general already involved.”

CapitolBeatOK asked Calvey if he had legal standing. He replied, “Our constitutional rights are being violated. That’s our basis for the lawsuit. There is a liberty interest involved.” He said, “Official state action is absolutely needed so that the people of Oklahoma are represented by our attorney general.”

Reflecting on constitutional issues raised by the new law, Calvey said, “There are many problems under the commerce clause. This new law imposes a mandate even if a person is not engaged in interstate commerce and even if he or she spent their whole life here within the state of Oklahoma. What the federal government has imposed here is well beyond its legitimate powers under the commerce clause, and beyond the enumerated powers the government has.” He promised, “We will use every means within the law to oppose this unconstitutional new law. It’s do-or-die time for the constitution.”

Local attorney A.J. Ferate told CapitolBeatOK, “Standing is how a party shows that they have a sufficient connection to a legal cause.  Currently, the general rule requires that the plaintiff can demonstrate that they have been (or will imminently be) harmed by the law; a causal connection must exist between the injury and the conduct at issue; and it must be likely that an outcome in favor of the party would address their grievance.”

Ferate previously told CapitolBeatOK he has two clients (unwilling yet to be named) who may challenge the new law.

He said, “There are a number of claims that can be brought against this health care bill, but only a few of which that an individual could reasonably argue on their own behalf. The most significant, of course, would be the mandate to purchase insurance.”

Ferate believes, “If he has health insurance, it could easily be argued he is not harmed by the law in any manner that would address his grievance, and his case could be dismissed.”

Calvey is one of six Republicans seeking the GOP nomination to replace Fallin, who is running for governor. Two Democrats are also seeking the job.

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