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. Darth Cheney

    Cool beans! Looks like we'll all be able to opt out of car insurance soon!!!

    August 2, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

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

    August 2, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Scott in Atlanta

    Great!!! If they win, then I can drop this pesky Automobile Insurance!!!

    August 2, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Bob

    Finally, a judge got it right! Hopefully this bad health care bill will be ruled unconstitutional, because it is!

    August 2, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Elaine

    If they change the law then they need to include that hospitals and Dr.s are in no way obligated to treat them.

    August 2, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    "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 does the WHOLE state of Virginia AGREE with YOU??????

    On another note – would it not be more wise to have everyone insured instead of "everyone who is not insured" costing the state MILLIONS with visits to Emergency Room????

    McDonnell, COOCHIEnelli and CAN'Tor are all LOSERS!!! You do not have to live in VA to witness the MESS they are imposing!!!

    August 2, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Does this court want to take up anything else that the federal government wants to do for the betterment of Americans?
    Seems to me that some states were never this excited about going after the federal government as they are since 2009.
    The shrub did so many wrong things but I don't recall any governor (and, pleeeeease, VA? – mcdonnell and cuccineli?) what a joke.
    I hope he gives giving virginians what they voted for. He still has a long way to go to throw the bum out.

    August 2, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. sammieb51

    Then why can my mortgage and auto lender mandate I have insurance as a conditoin of the loan? Oh I know, that's OK because I have to protect the institution from loss don't I?

    August 2, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. ib

    I am very proud of my state for this. It's time someone stands up for their citizens instead of taking from them. We need healthcare reform not gov. healthcare takeover and cuts to medicare.

    August 2, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Independent One

    Why are they throwing away tax payers money on this non-sense....and where are the dealth panels they stated will grandma???

    August 2, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "'the health care law's enemies have no ally in the Constitution.' "

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

    August 2, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. AmericanDoc

    Thank you God that someone out there hasn't been corrupted yet by this disease of an administration. If these elitist politicians were cast amongst the people they were supposed to represent, they would likely be stoned. This is why no democrat holds "town hall meetings" anymore. Watch over the next month. Obama has spread his infection to the core of the American system. In medicine, bone infection is treated with 8 weeks of antibiotics and sometimes much longer. Sometimes amputation. The public has recognized the disease. Thank you Judge, finally, we can start to treat this infection. 3 months from now will be a great chance to amputate the worst of the disease. These people should be in jail or at the very least exiled. Starting at the top.

    August 2, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. lolo

    This man just wants attention. 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. The same tactic as with Clinton . Just wasting money. 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. Mr. D.A. who insisted that you do this? The insurance industry? How much did they line your pockets?

    August 2, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Ron

    I agree that if you're a "legal age" adult and you don't want health insurance, you shouldn't be forced to buy it. BUT, if you get injuried while uninsured, you're on your own! As long as people know they will be billed directly for healthcare – and doctors know they're not insured (because the level of care is based on insurance coverage in an emergency) – I'm all for that free choice thing. Just don't expect ME to pay for their healthcare if they are not in the plan paying for mine!!! AND, once you're hurt or diagnosed with an illness you are on your own if you opted out of coverage. None of this "Oh, I'm sick. Better join the plan now crap."

    But look at the bright side, Sarah will be proud you were willing to go through the pain of suffering of being uninsured to make her rich – so that she can buy the best healthcare for herself! Come on people. Think...

    August 2, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. DJ in TX

    OK – since people say that a "liberal" judge blocked the AZ law, I wonder about this judge. Is he "conservative" or "liberal".

    August 2, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. KLS

    If the state of VA wins their lawsuit then I fully support that every citizen living there can longer use MY tax money for their uninsured medical care. No more going to any ER’s for care unless they can pay the balance in full.

    That only seems fair since VA doesn’t want to require people to purchase health insurance so I don’t want them using my tax money either.

    Wonder if VA requires its citizens to purchase car and home owner's insurance? What about all the businesses in the state are they required to purchase workers' comp for each employee?

    August 2, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |

    Go VA go. Go VA go.

    Go AZ go. Go AZ go.

    Stand up to the idiot in the WH.

    August 2, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. diridi

    Judge should know it is a law, lex loci...i.e, law of the land...which is overwhelmingly passed nevertheless Republican Thugs objected it. We needed it for long time. Because of it, I could have my teen kid to have insurance. Doesn't these GOP thugs know this??? Enough Reagan, and Bush messed this nation like a hell...okay....It is the time to pass senator term our nation....and Energy and climate reform with immigration reform...

    August 2, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    Yes! Let's really see if this thing was constitutional or not.

    August 2, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. U.S. Common Sense

    This deserves to be in the courts regardless of political position. We need to have a clear definition of where Federal power ends and State power begins. The last 70 years has seen an incredible encroachment of the Federal government into every aspect of our lives, and it is time for the checks-and-balances to come into play.

    August 2, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Len Smith

    This reform is long overdue and it should be universal insurance for everyone. Why the Virginia is wasting money with a lawsuit is beyond me. If you are required to have car insurance, why not health insurance? I read Republicans want healthy people to be able to opt out of health insurance, but when they get sick or injured insurance companies will not be able to deny them coverage at that time. Sick, Sick, Sick.

    August 2, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. diridi

    please get rid off car insurance too...and property tax on cars too.....ok, crazy idiots....

    August 2, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Why do I have to live in the state with Bob McDonald the Clown? It's madatory if you have a vehicle that you have insurance. I have a life, therefore I should have some darn insurance.

    August 2, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. DJ in TX

    Hey Ron, guess what, you are ALREADY paying for those poeple who are uninsured. Since hospitals are NOT allowed to turn people away even if they can't pay, our insurance companies are being "raped" to help recoup for those.

    I went to see my physician for something very minor on my foot. He looked at it for 30 seconds, presribed some medicine and then charged my insureance $120. Two days later on a follow up, it was less time than that, $90. No way for the service I got, should it have been that high. My wife just had surgery "they did it "laparascopy". One night, $24,000 total charges.

    Again, we are ALREADY paying for those who don't have insurance. At least this way, they have to pay something.

    August 2, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Dee

    I guess you better not lose your job and your health insurance if you live in Virginia. Wait until you see how fast the hospital will move you in and out of the ER when they learn you have no coverage. I am at a lose to understand how this can be a "bad" bill. Working in Human Resources I see just how many people are unemployed and have lost their health care. They have done nothing wrong and stand to lose everything they have if they get sick or have an accident.

    August 2, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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