06/26/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The War Between the State

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes yesterday asked the Washington State Supreme Court to block Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna from using his office to challenge the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act recently enacted into law. And while as a layman, I have no particular insight into the legal grounds supporting Holmes' petition, as a connoisseur of irony I give it my full endorsement.

1. Petitioner seeks a writ of mandamus to compel Respondent Robert M. McKenna to withdraw the State of Washington from the case of State of Florida, et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., Case No. 3:10-cv-91, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida on March 23, 2010 (the "Florida lawsuit"), and to cease participating in that case. Petitioner seeks the writ on the grounds that the Attorney General exceeded his authority when he made the State of Washington a plaintiff in that case.

This is what comes from McKenna's abuse of his office in the pursuit of partisan political gain; we now have a City Attorney, suing to bar a State Attorney General from suing the federal government on behalf of the state, while our Governor must hire an outside attorney to defend the federal government against her own attorney -- the Attorney General -- and his unauthorized lawsuit.

And of course, we the taxpayers are paying for all of this.

No doubt McKenna thought he would score some cheap political points with his party's base by joining this lawsuit, but as every experienced attorney knows, there's nothing cheap about their profession.

[David Goldstein blogs on WA state politics at]

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