Judge: Rob McKenna is off the hook because his lies were political

Rob McKenna is being sued by some 90 women. The reason is his participation in the Attorneys General lawsuit against the 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care act (i.e. “Obamacare”). The group argues that:

[…] McKenna violated his ethical duties as an attorney by pushing for the entire health-care law to be overturned; that McKenna should be forced to file a corrective pleading with the US Supreme Court saying that he only opposes the individual mandate aspect of the health care law, which requires every US citizen to get insurance; and that the court should find McKenna guilty of issuing “false and misleading statements” about the health care law because he claimed that his lawsuit was aimed not at overturning the entire act, but only at eliminating the individual mandate.

McKenna has been lying to Washingtonians. He has repeatedly claimed that he supports some aspects of the law, all the while participating in the effort to overturn the entire law.

Today we learn that King County Superior Court judge Sharon Armstrong will not issue preliminary injunction directing McKenna to fix the inconsistencies between his public and legal positions by amending his Supreme Court briefings.

The meme in the mainstream media seems to chalk the ruling up as a perliminary victory for McKenna. But Publicola political uberwonks Erica C. Barnett and Josh Feit (now at Crosscut) catch the more nuanced meaning of the ruling—the courts won’t judge McKenna for his political lies:

Although King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong’s rejection of a request to enjoin McKenna from arguing against the federal health care law certainly looks like a win for McKenna, the ruling effectively finds that, contrary to his public statements, he has in his legal motions consistently opposed the entire Affordable Care Act, not just the requirement that every American buy health insurance. The judge specifically said that McKenna’s public statements were “political statements” that had to be judged in the political realm rather than the courtroom. As to McKenna’s going along with other states’ attorneys general in seeking to have the law overturned in its entirety, Armstrong said the court lacked authority to second-guess whether it was a wise legal strategy.

In other words, Judge Armstrong leaves it to the voters of Washington to judge McKenna for his political lies.


  1. 1

    Richard Pope spews:

    How much a month does Horse’s Ass make from Rob McKenna’s blog ads? And are they getting McKenna any votes?

  2. 2



    “How much a month does Horse’s Ass make from Rob McKenna’s blog ads?”

    Goldy tells me that the monthly income from Blog Ads is about $100/month. So…if you can estimate the percentage of those that are McKenna ads, then you have your answer.

    “And are they getting McKenna any votes?”

    My guess is, probably not too many….

  3. 4

    yd spews:

    That POS 1000 page Affordifyoucangetit plan by Owebamma, is going to go down in flames because it is unaffordable! Period

  4. 6

    Politically Incorrect - who has been banned over at soundpolitics.com spews:

    4 & 5,

    We should know in a few weeks the fate of Obama’s health care reform law. I expect the individual mandate portion to be struck down as un-constitutional, but the rest of it may survive without any changes.

    I think John Stossel has a good idea when it comes to legislation: for every law Congress passes, they should be required to repeal two existing laws. After a decade or two, we’ll have something more manageable.

  5. 7


    How is the Crosscut view the “nuanced” view? The Judge just said what we all already knew and what was already in the public domain: that the briefs McKenna joined as part of the state plaintiffs group consistently and clearly asked for all of Obamacare to be invalidated. That’s not new, nor is it nuanced. It’s just a fact — a fact that nobody denied. Saying that the Judge left it for the voters to decide McKenna’s fate is not nuanced, nor is it a “loss” for McKenna. There’s no way the Judge could have prevented the voters from deciding McKenna’s fate! It’s okay to admit this was a victory for McKenna (if only a small one), while still predicting that his actions will cost him down the road in some other forum. More thoughts here: http://ziffblog.wordpress.com/.....eme-court/

  6. 8

    Puddybud spews:

    The severability claim to the ACS was deeply covered at firedoglake back on March 30th. This is why McKenna skips! McKenna gets away with the throw the law out politicking gang because Nancy and Harry’s Congress purposely screwed their pooch. Remember, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

    It’s quite amazing how DUMMOCRAPTS will skip their favorite mouthpieces when those mouthpieces pie their faces with facts.

    I won’t throw 6 paragraphs on this blog like Roger DUMB Wabbit does because I know it would be cut unlike the DUMB Wabbit.

    To understand how we got to the point where the Supreme Court could potentially strike down the entire Affordable Care Act because of the individual mandate, it is important to identify the string of stupid mistakes Democrats made that got us to this point. By my current count, Democrats had at least eight big chances to avoid this possible that they completely messed up.

    1) Lack of severability clause in the law – This was simply an inexcusable mistake of historic proportions. For whatever reason, Senate Democrats forget to include a standard severability clause in their drafting of the ACA, which would allow the entire law to stand even if one provision was deemed unconstitutional. Even if there wasn’t a serious debate about the law, they still should have included it as standard practice. Not including one was just malpractice, given how Republicans, even before the bills passage, said they would challenge the mandate. If one had been included, we would only be talking about the Court possibly striking down a single provision instead of the 2,700 page law.


    McKenna politics are absolved! No other way to look at it.

  7. 10

    Liberal Scientist is a slut who occasionally wears a hoodie spews:

    You would think the cops wouldn’t like McKenna if he is so dishonest

    That’s not the least bit rational.

  8. 11

    bob spews:

    @ 10

    Irrational is claiming that McKenna is being deceptive if, acting on behalf of the state of Washington, he joins an effort to overturn the Obamacare law, while his personal opinion is that he supports some of what is in the law.

    In the former, he is acting as an officer of the state. In the latter, he is stating his own beliefs.

    The two are mutually exclusive. I am sure that this had much to do with why the motion was denied although I did not read the opinion. Maybe you could read it for me.

    And, does this mean I’m not a one-tune shill, Lib Sci? BTW yesterday I weighed in on solar subsidies and the problems Spain and Germany have had with them, so maybe I know a few tunes.

  9. 13

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Bob, would you care to comment on this factoid about health care?

    The Children’s Health Insurance Program remains but with enrollment frozen as of January 2010. In 2008, KidsCare covered close to 65,000 children; now it serves 14,000. The waiting list for the program has grown to more than 100,000.

    How would you solve the problem of kids needing health care?

  10. 14

    bob spews:

    @ 13

    Glad you brought that up. Maybe I’m wrong here, but isn’t S-CHIP already a federal program? Aren’t there 6 million kids estimated as uncovered despite eligibility?

    Here’s where I think that parts of the Obamacare law could be re-used if the whole thing is struck down:

    Pass a law allocating additional funds to identify eligible but undetected kids, and then cover them, under S-CHIP.

    It would be a lot of money. I think. But it covers 6 million kids, which is 20% of the 30 million uninsured that Obamacare covers, and so it’s a good start.

    And, it’s the ‘right’ kind of uninsured, not the yuppies that can afford to pay and just don’t want to, not the problematic undocumented persons (YLB calling me racist for that statement in 3…..2…….1……), so it’s harder for the GOP to vote against it since it’s an expansion for children.

    NTfF, it’s not a solution, it’s where I would start if Obamacare goes down in its entirety. It also answers your question to the best of my ability. Lib Sci, am I still one-tune union-busting?

    Trying to get out the door. Good question, NTfF. If Obamacare goes down, where would YOU start if you wanted to resurrect the better parts of it?

  11. 15

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    So you would solve the problem of kids needing health care with a underfunded government program.

    S-CHIP has it’s problems

    Arizona rescission
    In early 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, along with the House and Senate of the state passed a budget that eliminated S-CHIP, known as KidsCare in Arizona. As of 22 April 2010, the state assembly, after learning they will lose federal matching and stimulus funds, is looking at restoring some of the program, but not allowing new enrollment. [47] As of April, 2012, more than 100,000 children are on the KidsCare waiting list and Arizona Hospital charity care budgets have exploded as they treat more uninsured children. [48]

    (Gotta love that compassionate conservationism of republicans)

    And S-CHIP is not popular with conservatives

    Pass a law allocating additional funds to identify eligible but undetected kids, and then cover them, under S-CHIP.
    Aahhh, but where to get the money? I would be in favor of raising the tax rate on millionaires and billionaire to pay for this.
    Where would YOU get the money from?

    If Obamacare goes down, where would YOU start if you wanted to resurrect the better parts of it?
    I want to go to a single payer system, Medicare for all. Like every other civilized industrial country has. Except us. Get the for profit private insurance out of basic health care. I would pay for it by raising taxes on the wealthy and getting rid of tax loopholes and subsidies for corporations.

  12. 16

    bob spews:

    @ 15

    I clearly stated I would allocate funds and I also stated it would be expensive.

    Yes, money has to be found.

    But here’s the thing: There WAS momentum to do something with health care. If Obamacare goes down in its entirety the Dems have something to hammer the GOP with: “What’s YOUR plan, GOP?” The GOP has to have a response, I think, to that obvious question from the Dems.

    My response as a GOP supporter would be to spend the money on kids, and point out that it’s 20% of the problem at far lower than 20% of the cost that was Obamacare.

    NTfF, you asked and I answered. I also said it would be expensive so the cost would have to be addressed. But if you were going to steamroll the GOP on an issue, would you not start with something to benefit kids? I would.

    Your response would be to move the whole nation to single-payer. That’s not a real-world solution. Sorry.

    I have one, and only one, proposal. That’s to start with what you can accomplish in a single legislative period. That means, to me, starting with covering more kids.

    Oh. And I didn’t imply that it would be easy. Only that it’s doable. Single payer isn’t. Particularly not if the next Congress is GOP controlled, regardless of who wins the White House.

    Real-world, NTfF. Start with covering the kids. Hammer the GOP with it. Make Romney answer in a debate how he would cover the kids assuming Obamacare goes down.

    It’s the only thing I can offer. But it doesn’t sound like a proposal from a wingnut, does it?

  13. 17

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Yes, money has to be found.
    But you refuse to speculate from where.
    Where would YOU get the money from? If you were in charge, how would YOU do it.

  14. 18

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    You ask me what I wanted. I WANT Single Payer. It’s just not a real world solution for you.
    And yes, covering uninsured kids is a good start.

  15. 19

    bob spews:

    @ 17

    How about from the savings of money NOT spent on Obamacare? That money’s already part of law. Just under $1T using Obama’s tortured accounting. $2-3T in the real world.

    So if we’re going to save $1+T, then spending $100B isn’t so bad if it covers 20% of the uninsured that Obamacare would cover, at less than 10% of the cost of Obamacare.

    I didn’t ‘refuse’ anything. I just wasn’t specific.

    @ 18

    I want my hair back. Just because you want it doesn’t mean you have a prayer at getting it. Do what you can do within the real world. Saying you want it all, in a political environment far less favorable to getting it than you had in 2009, is just not reality.

    And stop making demands of me. I’m just a guy with a different perspective. I don’t sit on the House Ways and Means committee.

    Envision this: Obamacare goes down in its entirety. Out of the rubble, on one side you have me, holding up S-CHIP and crying out to cover 6 million uninsured kids with a chunk of what won’t be spent on Obamacare. On the other side is you, crying out to rebuild EVERYTHING all at once, in a way that will never get past a GOP-controlled Congress to the president’s desk, no matter who is holding the pen.

    Which of us would be more likely to have success?

    Do what you can, within reason.

  16. 20

    Puddybud spews:

    John Holdren comes to mind FASCIST One with Single Payer.

    Look up his rationing commentary! And with single payer how do you explain Quality Adjusted Life Years?

    “Health-care experts say that the era when doctors offer most insured patients the most expensive, aggressive treatments is fast coming to an end. Rationing is looming.” – New York Times

  17. 21

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Universal Health Care is just not a real world solution?
    So Canada, Kuwait, Finland and Singapore can do something that America is not capable of?

  18. 22

    bob spews:

    @ 21

    Look at the political divide. No, America is not capable of it. Not for a long, long time.

    I believe you are unrealistic if you think that a complete overturn of Obamacare means the door is open for single-payer. Obamacare IS the door for single-payer.

  19. 23

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    We have economic rationing already. If the insurance company won’t pay for it, it’s out of pocket. If you are not rich, you don’t get the treatment.

  20. 24

    bob spews:

    @ 20, 23

    Not the Death Panels thing. Don’t go there. So far the conversation has been intelligent. Go there and the idiots will begin to chime in.

  21. 25


    Darryl @ 12,

    I hear you; noting the basis for the ruling is better (and more nuanced) than just reporting the ruling itself. But I still find it hard to swallow Crosscut’s conclusion that, because of the Court’s basis, McKenna is somehow a “loser” in this case.

  22. 26

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    @24 I never said death panels. I said economic rationing. It’s not in the insurance company’s bottom line to pay for X or Y treatment. A treatment “might” save a person’s life, but it costs 2 mil.
    Two examples
    I understand that the insurance companies or the government cannot pay for every treatment, that there must be choices made on a cold dispassionate cost benefit ratio. One person’s treatment could be 2 million kids vaccines.

    But for you to deny that economic rationing is NOT being done is disingenuous.
    What would YOU call it?

  23. 27

    bob spews:

    @ 24

    I didn’t deny it and nothing I have said in this thread is disingenuous. I just didn’t want the convo disintegrating into what ends up being called death panel stuff.

    And end-of-life care rationing for economic purposes, with decisions by some sort of appointed or assigned entity……. A Panel of Final-Stage Deciders. There. I didn’t say death panel.

    Still waiting for your response to @ 19 before you mistook me for the Pud dude.

  24. 29


    Obamacare IS the door for single-payer.

    Yawwwn… Just like RomneyCare was..

    My impression was that the individual mandate strengthened the role of private insurance. Why would the Heritage Foundation endorse it otherwise?

  25. 30


    YLB calling me racist for that statement in 3…..2…….1……

    I leave the racism baiting to your bunch Bob.. I only calls it when I sees it..

    You’ve seen the examples.

  26. 31


    “What’s YOUR plan, GOP?”

    Where have you been Bob? We’ve seen it already.

    HSAs/Catastrophic private insurance/compete across state lines..

    It won’t come close to solving the problem.

    We look at the rest of the world and we see national health systems.. The rest of the world looks at us and they don’t see a system, they see a market with a hodgepodge of systems tacked on like Medicaid/Medicare/VA.

    Markets can only go so far resulting in market failures to meet urgent needs.

  27. 33

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Which of us would be more likely to have success?
    The SCHIP expansion has a fractional chance of passage. The republicans might be pressured into covering kids but I don’t hold out much hope for even that. Nothing except tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires and more defense spending is likely with these republicans.

    The way I read the original question, you ask me what I wanted, not what was feasible.

  28. 34

    Puddybud spews:

    The undocumented couldn’t be here unless there was a lifeline for them.

    BULLSHIT! When in Arizona, many have said they come here without any job just to escape Mexico.

    Again U talk out your arschloch!

  29. 36


    they come here without any job just to escape Mexico.

    So how do they STAY HERE you dumbass?

    With a little help from their cheap labor conservative friends like Weissbach?