Capitol Alert

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Both GOP gubernatorial candidates have joined California Republicans supporting a legal smackdown of the sweeping health care overhaul signed into law today.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner launched the first strike yesterday, calling on Attorney General (and would-be rival) Jerry Brown to join the group of mostly Republican state attorneys general suing the federal government to repeal the bill.

"California is going to have an even harder time balancing the budget because of the new mandates placed upon us by the federal health care bill," Poizner said in a statement. "(More than 12) states have announced plans to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare and given California's economic crisis, we cannot afford to let the federal government stick our state with billions more in unfunded mandates."

Whitman, too, opposes the legislation and supports the court challenges (as do all three Republicans running for U.S. Senate).

"Meg supports state attorney generals who are filing the suit to overturn the legislation because it's an unconstitutional overreach of federal government authority," Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said. "With California poised to shoulder billions in unfunded mandates, she would urge Attorney General Brown to join them."

Repealing the legislation is a popular move among the conservative base -- and one Republicans are counting on to raise cash and support in advance of the midterm elections. While a Gallup poll on the bill found that voters are largely split on their opinion of Congress passing the plan, 76 percent of Republicans polled said they view the plan's passage is a bad thing.

We haven't heard back from Brown's office on whether California will join the suits, but the attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate called the court challenges "obstructionism" and "obviously talking points, not serious law-making" in an interview with KCRA.

"Our lawyers don't read a 2,200-page bill overnight," Brown told the station. "Whether it's violating the Constitution, I would want to have a serious analysis and then reflect on it. You just don't pop out, 'Oh, it's against the Constitution!' That's really politics."

UPDATE 5:04 p.m.: Brown released the following statement on the calls to join the lawsuits:

"I've instructed deputies in my office to carefully review these claims in light of applicable constitutional principles. Health care is not the place, with people's lives at stake, to engage in poisonous partisanship. At this critical time in our nation's history, we need to come together to forge a common purpose."


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