Reporting from Las Vegas — Nevada's Republican governor and Democratic attorney general are prime examples of the partisan bickering over the new healthcare law in recent weeks, with the pair publicly warring over whether the state should join a lawsuit attempting to thwart the legislation.
On Tuesday, they took steps toward a potential constitutional cage match.
Gov. Jim Gibbons announced he would sidestep Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who had declined to join more than a dozen states in challenging the healthcare law's constitutionality, and retain private counsel for the effort.
"This healthcare nationalization plan is illegal because it is unconstitutional," Gibbons said in a statement.
Cortez Masto, who agrees with scholars who say a successful legal challenge is a long shot, said Gibbons had no authority to name outside counsel. "My office is now in the regrettable position of having to consider the necessary legal options to take in response," she said in a statement.
Similar spats have unfolded in other states since President Obama signed the healthcare bill last month. In Nevada, the clash has distinctly political dimensions.