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DeSantis hires lawyer with major role in Obamacare suit to counsel administration

The U.S. Supreme Court | Ricky Carioti, Washington Post

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis' transition team announced their latest hire to the new administration on Wednesday: Joe Jacquot, a former Florida chief deputy attorney general, who will be working as chief legal advisor to the office of the general counsel. That means he'll be providing DeSantis and the cabinet with legal advice and likely representing him if DeSantis is sued in his official capacity.

Jacquot played a major role in Florida's first suit (along with 25 other states) against the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," and is listed high-up as a special counsel to Attorney General Pam Bondi on legal documents from 2011.

According to a 2012 story by the New York Times, Jacquot helped then-state Attorney General Bill McCollum complete the crucial, early research in 2011 to initiate the lawsuit — deciding that it would be based on a challenge to the individual mandate, and that it should be filed through the Federal District Court in Pensacola. That suit was eventually heard by the the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, which upheld Obamacare for the time being.

Just Friday, a federal judge in Texas struck down the entire Affordable Care Act, saying the law's mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. That was a different lawsuit, filed by 20 states earlier this year.

During his career, Jacquot has also served as the Deputy Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, including managing two Supreme Court confirmations, according to the transition team's announcement.

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Times Tallahassee bureau reporter Lawrence Mower contributed.