August 2nd, 2010
04:21 PM ET
13 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. doug

    By the way, people, Virginia is only one of about 22 states that filed suits claiming this Obama Healthcare bill is unconstitutional...

    August 2, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Maria

    Think again: You need to THINK AGAIN!!

    August 2, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. honestmistake

    ThinkAgain, if your employer changes insurers or drops your coverage altogether, you can certainly go get independent coverage that allows you to keep your doctor and your plan. If your doctor says he doesn't want to be in your plan anymore you can certainly pay out of pocket to keep seeing him. If you opt into the government pool plan and your doctor is not a member, guess you won't get to keep your doctor,

    August 2, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. honestmistake

    Stop with the you have to have car insurance, you have to have home owners insurance already. These types of insurance are to protect the lender or the person you run into. No car loan, no mortgage, you don't HAVE to buy insurance and no one can make you. People who rent can buy renters insurance if they want to, but aren't forced to.

    August 2, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  5. DENNA

    Good for Virginia. What kind of state would allow its citizens a chance at good health care? No state in their right mind would side with the citizens over the insurance industry. You go Virginia!

    August 2, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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