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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357

AG Gansler's Supreme Court Amicus Brief Wins National Award
Team of lawyers receive NAAG honors for work on health care reform case

Anchorage, Alaska (June 22, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has honored a team of lawyers from the Maryland Office of the Attorney General for their work as lead authors on the U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief filed on behalf of thirteen states, territories and the District of Columbia in Department of Health and Human Services, et al., v. Florida, et al. (No. 11-398).

Deputy Attorney General John B. Howard Jr., Acting Solicitor General William F. Brockman, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Principal Counsel Joshua N. Auerbach and Assistant Attorney General Stephen M. Ruckman received the NAAG Supreme Court Best Brief Award for writing the amicus curiae - or "friend of the court" -- brief supporting the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision contained within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Assistant Attorney General Sarah W. Rice also provided valuable research assistance in helping compose the brief.

"It's a privilege to have such talented and experienced people working in this office," said Attorney General Gansler. "This award is a testament to the high quality of their work on behalf of the people of Maryland. Regardless of how the Justices rule in this case, we already know that their decision will have benefitted from some of the finest arguments the legal profession has to offer."

The awards were announced at the NAAG annual summer meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. The Best Brief awards are given each year in recognition of excellence in brief writing submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by state government attorneys. The briefs were judged by a panel of independent Supreme Court experts. Attorneys from seven jurisdictions, including Maryland, won awards for their work, which serve as models for all states to use as they practice before the Court. The recipients will formally accept their awards during the Solicitor General's Conference, held next month in Washington, D.C.

The amicus brief was filed on behalf of Maryland and 10 additional states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It argues that provisions of the ACA, including the minimum coverage provision, are completely consistent with the intent of the Commerce Clause - namely to enable Congress to tackle interstate problems with major economic impacts. It also argues that the ACA's provisions allow states to focus their resources on pressing health care needs within their borders and afford states wide latitude to do so through the establishment of exchanges, waivers and more. In these ways, the ACA builds on the successful tradition of cooperative federalism, in which states jointly participate with the federal government to forge lasting solutions to national problems.

For the complete brief visit here:


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