WA Supreme Court allows Rob McKenna to make us all look like Teabaggers

Today the Washington state Supreme Court denied Seattle’s petition that would require Attorney General Rob McKenna to withdraw from the Teabagger-inspired multistate lawsuit against the health care reform law. From the decision:

The people of the state of Washington have, by statute, vested the attorney general with broad authority, and Attorney General McKenna’s decision to sue to enjoin the enforcement of the (health care law) falls within that broad authority. As such, Attorney General McKenna has no mandatory duty to withdraw the State from the multistate litigation. The city of Seattle’s petition for a writ of mandamus must, accordingly, be denied.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes responded:

I respectfully disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision. Attorney General McKenna dragged Washington state into a Tea-Party-inspired lawsuit that will, if successful, prevent millions of Americans from obtaining the health care…. He did this against the express wishes of and without first consulting the Governor, the Insurance Commissioner, the House Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader.

By any rational measure, Washington is a blue state. Of late we’ve elected Democrats for Governor, Democratic Senators; Democratic presidential nominees win our popular vote. As a people we are strong on the environment, pro-labor, pro-choice, pro-science, pro-safety, pro-health.

And now we have an Attorney General who defies the Governor and the people and unilaterally decides to join the teabaggery. McKenna has, singlehandedly, made us red-faced by painting us as a pack of pitchfork-wielding Teabaggers.

So please join me in offering Rob McKenna a great big FUCK YOU for fucking humiliating the fuck out of us before the nation…fuckwad!


  1. 2

    who run Bartertown? spews:

    You sound like a crybaby…and so far the ag lawsuit has shown merit in court…which kinda proves you wrong.

    After reading your childish rantings, it makes me think our public education system is fucked beyond repair, squirt.

    And please for gods sake get a haircut…the unkempt professor look is so cliche’

  2. 4

    Michael spews:

    The people of the state of Washington have, by statute, vested the attorney general with broad authority, and Attorney General McKenna’s decision to sue to enjoin the enforcement of the (health care law) falls within that broad authority

    Which is why you shouldn’t elect people like Bobbie Mac to high offices.

    While I agree that the health care lawsuit is a pile of crap, I also agree with the state supreme court on this one.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Supreme Court Orders McKenna To Represent Goldmark

    The state supreme court actually handed down two decisions involving AG Rob McKenna today. The other one orders McKenna to provide legal representation to State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark in a dispute with a utility district. McKenna lost that lawsuit.


  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I haven’t had a chance to read the court’s decision in the Seattle case yet — that’s going to take me a few minutes.

    (You can read the actual decision here.)


    What I can tell you right now, off the top of my head, is that it was unanimous (9-0) and appears to be a technical decision that says a writ of mandamus isn’t available to require McKenna to withdraw from the Obamacare suit.

    Mandamus against a public official generally is limited to ordering the official to perform ministerial or non-discretionary duties. A court will not issue mandamus in a matter involving discretionary authority, because that would constitute the court substituting its judgment for the official’s judgment, which has separation of powers implications.

    The court said it’s not expressing any opinion on the constitutionality or wisdom of the healthcare reform act, or on the wisdom of the AG’s decision to make Washington a party to the lawsuit challenging it.

    Some of you may recall this post by Goldy over a year ago, in which Goldy assailed McKenna’s refusal to represent the Lands Commissioner based on an assertion of “common law” powers by the AG.


    Today, the court vindicated Goldy’s argument. I haven’t looked at the Goldmark opinion yet –I’m still reading the City of Seattle opinion — but in the Seattle case, the court explicitly rejected McKenna’s claim to possess common law powers:

    “the Washington Constitution does not vest the attorney general with any common law authority.”

    The city’s effort to stop McKenna via mandamus was a reach. Any lawyer, especially one steeped in government structure and process, would see that. So, the court’s ruling in that respect is no surprise, least of all to McKenna.

    In all other respects, this wasn’t a good day for Rob McKenna.

    More later, after I’ve had time to digest these two decisions.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 I think you should probably leave legal analysis to people who know what they’re talking about and stick to what you’re good at, namely, childish ranting.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Goldmark decision is here, if you’d like to read it.


    That’s a 7-2 decision, with two justices (James Johnson and Charles Wiggins) not participating and Richard Sanders and Anne Ellington filling in for them as pro tem justices; Sanders and Debra Stephens dissented.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    A quick glance at the Goldmark decision shows that the court issued a writ of mandamus in that case because the statute “expressly requires the attorney general to represent the commissioner in any court when so requested by the commissioner. This duty is mandatory, and the attorney general has no discretion to deny the commissioner legal representation.”

    That’s pretty straightforward, and is consistent with the court’s interpretation of the courts’ mandamus power in the Seattle case.

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This is pretty simple. The court’s rulings in these two cases can be reduced to this:

    Whether to challenge the federal healthcare reform law is discretionary.

    Representing the Lands Commissioner in the condemnation appeal is mandatory.

  9. 12

    screed spews:

    count me as a contrarian, but I hope the individual mandate in the Obama health care plan goes down in constitutional flames. I think it is a total sell-out to a larcenous and disgraced industry. If there had been a public option alternative for people to buy into, then I would have been ok with it. But not as it is currently structured.

    What’s next? Individual mandate to buy ‘stocks’ so that seniors aren’t forced to live in abject poverty? (Eh, who needs social security?). Wall Street would love that, I’m sure. Privatization, individual mandate… what is the difference? If the health insurance individual mandate stands, I can see it leading to yet more control of our society and our lives by amoral corporate plutocrats.

    I know that I’m a minority opinion on this, but I really really hope the supreme court nullifies the individual mandate and I applaud McKenna for pursuing this lawsuit. That doesn’t mean I plan on voting for him. That ain’t gonna happen, no way.

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The stock market closed down today on light volume. The Dow was off 119.96 at 11,493.57, Nasdaq off 33.42 at 2546.04, and S&P 500 off 14.47 at 1204.42. Gold (-3.80 at 1827.90, down 0.21%) and oil (-0.05 at 88.76, down 0.06%) were flat.

    Banks and industrials led the averages lower, even though a manufacturing report was better than expected (but declined from July). Retail was stronger than expected, and retail stocks were higher.

    We should have better clarity of how the market is reading domestic economic signals and weighing the European debt crisis when traders return from vacation next week and normal trading volumes resume.

    Sources: MSNBC and AOL Daily Finance. This comment to some extent paraphrases news reports from these sites.

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 According to Republicans, because a federal law making that Bozo buy his own health insurance is unconstitutional.

  12. 15

    iwowu spews:

    Don’t kid yourself if you think Robb McKenna did this on his own. Really??
    This is equally as big of a joke as Gov. Gregoire spouting her falsehoods to support education and yet she’s done zero in 10 years to better Washington education. She gets paid in full.
    Check out the internal emails between McKenna & Gregoire. They are merely two liars in a pod. He lies and she swears to it. Bad karma after bad karma.
    Let’s get smart people- cut WA gov in half and maybe we’ll actually save money instead of continuing the waste. Where is real world WA Government transparency? What a joke….
    Remember, it’s we the people.
    iwowu, Seattle

  13. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 I think the health insurance mandate is more analogous to helmet laws than your example of forcing seniors to buy stocks, in that the rest of us end up paying for the uninsured, but the main point is Republicans have adopted the socialist position in the healthcare debate: They want to make us continue paying the ER bills of people who refuse to insure themselves. What a bunch of fucking commies. Me, I’m all right with the capitalist approach of kicking the can into the private sector, as long as I can make money off it. I prefer public option and taking the obscene profits out of health insurance (insurers get paid 30% of all our healthcare expenditures just to process payments to doctors and hospitals, a task Medicare performs for less than 1% of Medicare program costs), but if Republicans want to line the pockets of stock speculators like me with obscene profits, I’ll take ‘em. Why should they get it all?

  14. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 You could cut Washington state government in half overnight by financing our schools the same way the other 49 states do it.

  15. 18


    Sister Wingnut @11:

    Why should I be forced to subsidize some Bozo’s visit to the emergency room because he’s too cheap to buy health insurance.

    So you don’t support the current (non)system, eh? Good.

    I can only infer from your statement that you’d like to see those Bozos insured for non-hospital care by office-based physicians.

    Insuring Bozos for preventive care and regular chronic-disease care would definitely be smarter than failing to offer them anything … which is what forces them to go to the ED for either an extremely expensive “band-aid” on chronic illness or necessary and expensive urgent care of a health crisis.

    EMTALA does require EDs to offer care irrespective of payment ability. Our (non)system forces far too many people to have only that source of healthcare available to them.

    Thanks for supporting universal coverage!

  16. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    From the court’s opinion in the Seattle case:

    “It is for the people of the state of Washington, through their elected representatives or through the initiative process, to define the role of the attorney general. The power of the attorney general is “created and limited, not by the common law, but by the law enacted by the people, either in their constitutional declarations or through legislative declarations in pursuance of constitutional provisions.””

    What exactly does this mean? Common law is judge-made law; i.e., law created by courts in the absence of statutes. Much of our contract and tort law is common law; these are areas where legislative bodies have deferred to the practical expertise of judges. But the structure of state government, and the powers and duties of state officers, are defined by the state constitution, legislation, and initiatives; here, in our state, courts have only an interpretive and enforcement role.

    McKenna’s assertion of common law powers, in effect, asks courts to replace legislative power with judicial power. That would fundamentally alter the structure of our state government. No doubt it was an argument based on political expendience rather than serious legal analysis or argument; and the court rejected it out of hand.

    When I was in law school 40 years ago, a popular moot court exercise was writing legal arguments on whether the state supreme court should create same-sex marriages — which the legislature had refused to do — as a matter of constitutional right. You couldn’t get courts to do that in those days; they saw it as a usurpation of legislative functions. Now, 40 years later, our state attorney general is pushing arguments on the court that look like something out of a 1970s-era student brief — okay for educational purposes, but not what real lawyers do. Which makes Rob McKenna look like a second-year law student: Not yet ready for prime time.

  17. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    At the very end, on the issue of who speaks for the State of Washington — the governor or the attorney genreal — the court points out that Governor Gregoire did not challenge McKenna’s participation in the healthcare reform lawsuit, the City of Seattle did, and says:

    We … leave for the appropriate case the issue of what result the Washington
    Constitution compels where the governor disagrees with the attorney general’s
    discretionary decision to initiate litigation and seeks to preclude the attorney general’s

    So, while we don’t know how the court would decide that issue, we do know that it isn’t being decided because Governor Gregoire took no action to block McKenna’s lawsuit participation in the name of the state. So, McKenna chalks up a win because of our do-nothing governor.

  18. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    One of the concurring opinions, signed by two justices, suggests the city’s action for mandamus should have been tossed for lack of standing. The majority opinion assumes standing, I would guess because most of the justices wanted to make a final disposition of the issue. If they threw out the city’s petition for lack of standing, some other entity (e.g., the governor’s office) could have filed another petition for mandamus, and the court would have to hear the case all over again.

  19. 22

    who run Bartertown? spews:

    So please join me in offering Rob McKenna a great big FUCK YOU for fucking humiliating the fuck out of us before the nation…fuckwad!

    that little diddy was written by a “professor” at the University of Washington.

    Darwhyle, you should worry more about embarrassing yourself with childish rants rather than worry about how you think the AG makes you look.

    just saying….

  20. 23


    Max-i-poo @ 22,

    You’re going to “dis me” by pointing out that I am a professor?!?


    It suggests to me you must really hate your own dead-end job in the HVAC business.

    Just sayin’…

  21. 24

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @11. Sister Bertrille spewed: Why should I be forced to subsidize some Bozo’s visit to the emergency room because he’s too cheap to buy health insurance.

    Because unlike every other 1st world industrialized country and an ever increasing number of developing countries the US of A has come to depend upon the emergency room as the place where health care is guaranteed.

    Now, the ACA changes that a bit for the better, but in the TEAbagging Murka you live in every Bozo either buys health insurance, putting fat wads of money in to “non-profit” health insurance providers pockets, or gets “free” care at the most expensive point of service; the emergency room.

    Oh, there is an exception – Medicare. But our TEAbagging Murkin House and Senate members would like to pull that rug out too.

    In the mean time you have a politician as Attorney General making political hay over ACA. And you know what? Bobby Mac is not only spending your money on some ridiculous law suit which hoses you, Bobby Mac has gold plated government health care provided to him, by you – a good TEAbagging Murkin.

  22. 25

    who run Bartertown? spews:


    dead-end? LMFAO…..I will make sure tell Steve that we are in dead-end occupations, I’m sure he will get a chuckle.

    I will take managing hundreds of millions of dollars in projects vs “ecology of breastfeeding in Bangladeshi women” any day of the week….

    so whats your next “study” going to be? Perhaps examing the pubic hair density of croatian men?

    Yes, those “study’s” and “research”(insert laughter here) you have been involved in sure are important….what would we do without them?(I mean besides not wasting taxpayer money)…oh sure, you will claim tax dollars werent used, but we know the truth.

    ..and just to be clear, since you apparently do not have the ability to understand what you are reading, I was “dissing” you on your infantile rantings…but thats what we have come to expect from progressives.

  23. 26

    who run Bartertown? spews:


    Part 2

    and while we are at it…darwhyle shows us a bit about his personality….

    Darwhyle, you do realize that for the most part, this is a union town when it comes to the building trades – right? you do know this, dont you?

    So what you call “dead-end” HVAC careers, you are refering to all the union hands in Local 66 and Local 32.
    So now Darwhyle is calling all those union hands a bunch of dead-end workers.

    how nice…we get a glimpse of the progressive wannabe-elitist professor darwhyle. he’s the kind of guy who tells the union workers he supports them to their face – but behind their back he is throwing them under the bus…business as usual for the elitist and wannabe-elitist progressives. this is the real darwhyle: he wants so bad to be part of the elitist bunch, but god knows(and he probably does too) that he will never get there.

    Im not a member of local 32 or 66, since I am on the management side. But after working with both unions for over 20 years, I can say they are the best at what they do – hands down, and I count many of those guys as my friends.

    and one final note to Darwhyle the wannabe elitist, those dead-end union workers you just sneered at, well guess what squirt, THEY ALL MAKE A HELL OF A LOT MORE MONEY THAN YOU DO!

    youve been served.

  24. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @26 What’s this, a wingnut who actually respects union workers? Call the fire department! Oops, they’re union, too …

  25. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @28 “if … all I did was post on sites like HA all day everyday … I would just shoot myself”

    If that’s true, how come you’re still alive?

  26. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “all I did was post on sites like HA all day everyday”

    Even someone as creative as me has difficulty figuring out how to spend more than 10 minutes a day flipping stocks. That leaves 23 hours and 50 minutes I have to do something else.

    Btw, anyone who has trouble focusing about what to do with their money should read this article.


  27. 32


    yet she’s done zero in 10 years to better Washington education.

    A lot of that 30 percent increase in spending or whatever it was that right wingers split a gut about over these last few elections cycles???

    That went to education.

    About half of Gregoire’s $8 billion budget increase has gone to education. Public schools got an additional $3 billion, and the state’s colleges and universities received close to an extra $1 billion.

    In fact, since 2004 Gregoire has increased education spending more than Locke did in his entire eight years in office. And Locke was billed as the “education governor.”


    Just sayin..

  28. 34


    Max-e-poo @ 26,

    “So what you call “dead-end” HVAC careers, you are refering [sic] to all the union hands in Local 66 and Local 32.”

    Nope…I was referring to you, and your self-loathing.

    Good luck with it, Squirt.

  29. 38

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    For a big-shot manager, he sure has a lot of free time to spend posting on this blog.

  30. 39

    who run Bartertown? spews:


    Oh Proud Communist, youre such a tard.

    I bet you cant wait for the day that the state owns everthing(and its all painted grey) and the gulags are running full tilt for all those that dont go along with the lefy agenda.

  31. 40

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @39 When a wingnut calls someone a “communist,” you know he’s out of ammo. This is bartertown’s endgame. Next up: Throws empty water pistol at opponent.