August 2nd, 2010
04:21 PM ET
4 years ago

Virginia health care lawsuit can proceed, judge rules

Washington (CNN) – The Commonwealth of Virginia will be allowed to continue its constitutional challenge to the health care bill signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, a federal trial court ruled Monday.

Judge Henry Hudson ruled in a 32-page opinion that the legal challenge mounted by Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli should be allowed to continue. The state argues that part of the health care bill – Section 1501, which requires individuals to obtain a minimum level of health insurance – is unconstitutional.

"While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate - and tax - a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce," Hudson wrote in his opinion. "Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue."

Cuccinelli voiced his approval of the judge's ruling in a statement issued after the court ruled.

"We are pleased that Judge Hudson agreed that Virginia has the standing to move forward with our suit and that our complaint alleged a valid claim." Cuccinelli said.

But Monday's ruling is a narrow one that only allows the lawsuit to continue. The merits of the state's case will be argued in a full hearing at a later date. It's a fact the White House pointed to in a blog post dedicated to the court's decision.

"Now that this preliminary stage has ended, the government fully expects to prevail on the merits," White House aide Stephanie Cutter wrote. "The Affordable Care Act falls well within Congress's power to regulate under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the General Welfare Clause. As President Reagan's Solicitor General Charles Fried recently wrote, 'the health care law's enemies have no ally in the Constitution.' "

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state is looking forward to a full hearing.

"I applaud today's decision allowing Virginia's constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to move forward. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has brought forward a specific and narrowly tailored objection to the Act. It warrants a full and thorough hearing in our courts. It is meritorious and constitutionally correct," McDonnell said in a statement.

–CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report


Filed under: Health care • issues • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. T'SAH from Virginia

    I agree with you Elaine August 2nd, 2010 4:35 pm ET

    The doctors 'should not' be obligated to treat someone WITHOUT insurance!!! BUT, that would NEVER happen!!! That's the problem now – UNINSURED go to the EMERGENCY ROOM and by LAW, they must be treated!!!!

    We will see just how FAR this goes!!!! Right now, it's just POLITICAL and they do not care about the RESULTS!!!

    August 2, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "The right is cheering and the left fuming. How about we just see how this plays out, in court, alrighty?"

    Surviving a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is really no huge feat. I hardly think this is cause for us crazy liberals to be "fuming" and tend to think that, being one myself, we are not...altho I do expect a ton of misinformed, misplaced gloating from the right. C'est la vi.

    August 2, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Ben

    Sniffit – "Indeed. However, the Constitution has no friends in the conservatives on the SCOTUS."

    Barking up the wrong tree again, eh? Any idiot can see the real enemies of the Constitution are the Libs.

    August 2, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Rickster

    "Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all voters now favor repeal of the health care bill. Thirty-eight percent (38%) oppose repeal."

    August 2, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "How, please tell me when the republicans cry so loud about the economy and spending and he comes up with this bright idea to spend taxpayers dollars on a frivilous lawsuit about healthcare for the American people wanted by the American people."

    Simple: he's doing it for poolitical leverage/capital and thus is basically wasting the taxpayers' money as a giant campaign donation.

    August 2, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    The last thing America needs is the cost increase and quality reduction ObamaCare will bring to the medical industry. Universal healthcare is a great idea, but not this one. The Democrats missed a great opportunity to improve the health care industry by cramming this through on a time schedule instead of passing it because they had figured out how to get it correct. It is a collection of compromises and buy-offs. No thank you. I hope by whatever means possible we can be saved from this expensive poorly conceived bureaucracy.

    August 2, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Ben

    lolo – "These republicans will definitely not get control come November. They are complete idiots. They talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. Big jokes all of them"

    No, the real joke is in the White House and everybody is starting to see it. The Emperor has no clothes.

    August 2, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Stymie

    Are those of you comparing auto insurance to health insurance saying that we should require everyone regardless of whether or not they drive or own a vehicle to have auto insurance?

    August 2, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Midwest Common Sense

    For all of you using the car insurace comparison need some mental help. If you take out a "Car LOAN!" then the bank is holding the note on your purchase. That is why they want the insurance on the car, because technically you do not own it yet. If you own your car out right you need to carry minimal "liability" coverage in case you plow your stupid a$$ into someone! Health care on the other had "unlike driving a car that could kill someone" if you do not have coverage....the only person you can hurt is yourself!!!!!! Just like the left though.........take two unrelated sides and put them together!

    August 2, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    What amazes me is that people will forsake their own benefits because the same people that have been robbing them dry (insurance companies) spend millions of dollars buying Republicans and telling them that healthcare is a privilege to be bought by the those who can ant to heck with the rest.

    Don't you people understand that you are one step away form bankruptcy with todays healthcare policies???

    Why would you listen to the same people that are robbing you???

    But then again, you will get what you deserve eventually, be careful what you wish for ;)

    August 2, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. gt

    yeep eee.. no more good neighbors, no more good hands,,,,no more blue cross, no more travlers,, ugh,,

    August 2, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Any idiot can see the real enemies of the Constitution are the Libs."

    I'm going to laugh so hard when the case that Scalia decided, allowing the Commerce Clause to be invoked where INDIRECT effects on interstate commerce can be found, is used as the keystone decision in shooting down these silly challenges.

    And sorry pal, but liberals aren't the ones running around arguing for the repeal of the 17th Amendment, repeal of Roe v. Wade, repeal of the Civil Rights Act, repeal of clearly Constitutional health care legislation, expansion of state powers and authorities where clearly pre-empted, blathering about secession (i.e., completely disassociating their state from the Constitution), yammering incessantly about the US being a "krischun nashun" and atetmpting to read the bible intop the Constitution, falsely accusing Dems of threatening gun rights (they have expanded them since Jan 2009), fighting for the "right" to vote on whether other people get to enjoy equal treatment under the law and supporting idiotic decisions that overturn 100 years of precedent in order to give corporations more power in our electoral processes under the ridiculous pretense of treating them like voting human beings all in a transparent effort to give conservatives an edge come November. I'm not barking up your tree buddy, I'm whizzing on it.

    August 2, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Hugo

    Gee, and we all thought it was just us dumb Hillbilly Peckerwoods in the South that thought it totally unconstitutional...2012 will be the true health care reform that works for the people. Deportation of up to 20 million people abusing OUR tax dollars and health-care system, passing tort law reform, and vigorous Federal prosecution of FRAUD!

    And Osama, may a thousand fleas infest your armpits, we will get you!

    August 2, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. eric in texas

    Wow, amazing how stupid some people are. I like the guy about opting out of car insurance soon. Hey genius, not all states REQUIRE auto insurance. Auto insurance is there to pay if you cause an accident and someone else is injured (for the most part). How is MY health affecting someone else?

    A. Healthcare is not a right.
    B. Universal Healthcare won't work in a country with mass amounts of people on welfare who won't work to pay into the system. Look at other countries. Canada: Private insurance companies being allowed BACK in because they are going bankrupt, France: Going Bankrupt, Britian: Going bankrupt. Only place that is doing well is Russia and that is because EVERYONE works there. They work somewhere.
    C. Requiring health insurance IS unconstitutional. If we want everyone to have good health then we can just ban Red meat, cigarettes, alcohol, pesticides, etc. etc. etc.

    August 2, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Common Sense

    Hey libs...
    If this is shown by the high courts to be unconstitutional, then shouldn't the Constitution be upheld??
    Aren't we, the people, and those we elect supposed to follow the guidelines set forth by the Constitution??...
    Isn't it worth spending time and money on- to find out what is Constitutional and what is not??? Isn't it a good thing to run this country according to the dictates of the US Constitution?
    ...What are you libs afraid of? Stop your liberal whining and allow the legal process to unfold!!

    August 2, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Steve (the real one)

    Sniffit August 2nd, 2010 5:03 pm ET
    Surviving a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is really no huge feat. I hardly think this is cause for us crazy liberals to be "fuming" and tend to think that, being one myself, we are not...altho I do expect a ton of misinformed, misplaced gloating from the right. C'est la vi.
    ------------
    Correction Sniffit! There will be a ton of misinformation and gloating on BOTH sides! This will be spun by the right AND the left! Each will bloviate that which will give them political points! I am sure you know that!

    August 2, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Health care on the other had "unlike driving a car that could kill someone" if you do not have coverage....the only person you can hurt is yourself!!!!!! "

    Patently untrue. The rest of us pay for it when health care services and medical treatment are provided to (a) people who cannot afford health insurance or (b) people who actually act like such a complete jackhole that they refuse to purchase health insurance even when they can afford it. We DO provide that health care coverage much of the time and society DOES pay for it BIG. Are you GOPers/conservatards going to argue for repeal of EMTALA next? You darn well better if you want to continue on your pretend "fiscal conservative" kick....otherwise, by your own "reasoning," you're just arguing for more social welfare for all the "deadbeats" who can afford but refuse to buy health insurance and still show up in the ER. I'm guessing you don't even know what EMTALA is though...meh....

    August 2, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Kirk Pitman

    I hope they win the unconstitutionality of the involuntary purchase of health insurance. Then we can go after the unconstitutional aspect of auto liability. Hey if you are so worried about the other guy then BUY UNINSURED MOTORIST and stop making cops out of mechanics. This ONLY gives the insurance companies more money. I for one really don't care to subsidize these guys.

    August 2, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. JIlli

    It's a procedural step, I wouldn't start gloating just yet. There's a short shelf life on this suit.

    Polling is turning – Kaiser is now showing more people approve – 51% of HCR than disapprove.

    Yep, don't start the celebration just yet yokels, you're going to be on the losing end, this just prolongs the eventual outcome.

    August 2, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Anne P

    Incorrect, Midwest Common Sense: If you don't have health insurance and get sick and need emergency care, who do you think pays the bill? We all do. That's the part that the opposition doesn't seem to get, so get off your soapbox and get the facts. The main thing wrong witht he new bill is the lack of a public option, thanks to the self-serving GOP. Get some common sense.

    August 2, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. eric in texas

    And when will people learn that it is both the Conservatives and the Liberals fault. It is the stupid people of this country that are so ignorant that they blame the countries problems on the President. The President does not write, vote or pass laws. The problem is in the House and Senate. If Obama said we should go to war, Libs would support it. If Bush said we need universal healthcare, Republicans (minus fiscal conservatives...and yes folks, there is a difference) would support it. Bush was a fiscal moron and anybody who wants to argue that is retarded already. However, Obama is as much if not more of a fiscal moron than Bush was.

    August 2, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Marcus

    Hugo – words can't describe how silly are you anger filled tantrums... BTW did you checked how many shops and stores are closing in the Arizona State since their customers are getting out of there?

    Ben – Enemies of the Consitution comes from BOTH sides of the political spectrum 9as well as from the middle), and so comes its Defenders. No side is 100% for or against the Constitution, and generalizations are poor argumentation.

    As for the issue at hand, I think that the judge hit the nail when he said: "Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue."
    Because its time for this issue to be clearly and openly addressed!

    August 2, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "and we all thought it was just us dumb Hillbilly Peckerwoods in the South that thought it totally unconstitutional"

    Still is. All this judge decided was that they had properly stated a claim, not that the claim they stated was at all meritorious. This decision says ZERO, NOTHIGN, ZILCH, NADA about the merits of the claim. It's like this: you can't even read between the lines because there's only one line.

    August 2, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    T'SAH from Virginia August 2nd, 2010 5:02 pm ET
    I agree with you Elaine August 2nd, 2010 4:35 pm ET
    The doctors 'should not' be obligated to treat someone WITHOUT insurance!!! BUT, that would NEVER happen!!! That's the problem now – UNINSURED go to the EMERGENCY ROOM and by LAW, they must be treated!!!! We will see just how FAR this goes!!!! Right now, it's just POLITICAL and they do not care about the RESULTS!!!
    ---------–
    I couldn't disagree more! Hippocratic oath anyone? Says nothing about practicing only on those who can pay! What you agree to should NEVER happen!

    August 2, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. eric in texas

    Anne P August 2nd, 2010 5:19 pm ET

    Incorrect, Midwest Common Sense: If you don't have health insurance and get sick and need emergency care, who do you think pays the bill? We all do. That's the part that the opposition doesn't seem to get, so get off your soapbox and get the facts. The main thing wrong witht he new bill is the lack of a public option, thanks to the self-serving GOP. Get some common sense.

    --------------------------------

    Sorry Anne, I work in the medical field. Nice try though. The INSURANCE COMPANIES pay for the car of those without healthcare. That is why procedures cost insurance companies so much already. That office visit that I (because I have insurance) pay is actually enough to cover myself and about 3 other people. That is the way the system presently works. Sorry, but nice liberal try. Work on facts next time ok!

    August 2, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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