August 2nd, 2010
04:21 PM ET
12 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. ThinkAgain

    I don't get it ... In order to get our mortgage 15 years ago, we had to get house and fire insurance; we also had to pay a fee to prove that we did not live in a flood plain, and therefore, didn't need flood insurance.

    To drive a car, I must have auto insurance. Doctors and other health care professionals have to be licensed in order to practice in our state.

    In order to call yourself a CPA, you have to pass a test (earn a license). To be a teacher, you have to be accredited by the state (have a license).

    The list goes on and on and on.

    This lawsuit is just another example of the greed of the health insurance companies, their desire to squash real competition, and their mission to make money at the expense of people's lives.

    August 2, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Randy

    All you automobile insurance nuts out there keep in mind, you only need insurance if you own a car, secondly it is only liability that is required by law, this is to protect the other guy. If you don't have a loan you don't have to have comprehensive or collision insurance.

    You will need (pronounced need) to buy health insurance just for being alive.

    August 2, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Rushs unseen, unheard, staff are the people he has callin to his show

    Hahaha,it wont work,health care for Americans will march on,hahaha

    August 2, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    Marxist dogs are out of control, hahahahahahahahaha,

    I bet you cant define Marxism, Communism, Socialism or Capitalism you poor bastard, you heard a word and now you are parroting it, LOL

    I bet you're the one holding the sign that read "Keep the Government out of my Medicare",

    BTW, before I forget, the moment you said Imam Obama, you lost your argument, oh yes, I bet you were also the one who said Obama is so close to Reverend Wright that they must be the same man, HAHAHAHAHAH,

    make up your mind, darn it, LOL

    August 2, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    Cuccinelli is the worst kind of politician; the kind that thinks he was elected to further his personal ideology and theology, instead of working for the rights and interests of all of us in Virginia. He's the kind who politician who thinks he came into office with all the answers and only needs to push and shove his ideas through to make everything "right".

    We don't need more arrogance in our government, we need people who will listen to the current facts, science, and even alternative opinions and then make an "educated" decision or judgment while following the law.

    Here in Va teabaggers are a small minority, and since Cuccenelli came into office he has been serving their interests like they are a large majority.

    August 2, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. Uncle Sam

    If a state (AZ) can't enforce immigration laws, then no state should have to sign on to this health care law.

    August 2, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    marxist dogs are out of control: Why don't you actually read the health care reform bill before you post? You can keep your doctor and your insurance company, if you want.

    No one is dictating anything to you – except Fox and Limbaugh, whom you so obviously and unthinkingly parrot.

    August 2, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    " Nor has he offended his lawyer friends by attacking all the malpractice suits which drive up medical costs."

    No state enacting tort reform, e.g., Texas, has experienced nor proven a dopr in health care costs per capita as a result thereof. The only thing you see is a bevy of new doctors showing up to practice where they can get away with being less competent and more negligent. For example, I think TX saw an influx of doctors that raised the number of doctors in the state by something like 10%, but has no appreciable or correlatable decrease in health care costs to show for it. Whooppeee.

    August 2, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    False distinction Randy. If you think owning a car is not an absolute need in this country, then you're sadly mistaken. The country was built around the automobile industry from the get-go...highway systems with pockets of residential humanity several miles from pockets of resources like groceries, etc., rather than well-planned mixed-use neighborhoods. America was in love with the automobile during our most important and rapid growth period and it's precisely what has us screwing the pooch and abasing ourselves at the feet of Big Oil at this point.

    August 2, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Peter s

    Another lawyer shamelessly trying to make a name before venturing in to politics!!

    August 2, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "If a state (AZ) can't enforce immigration laws, then no state should have to sign on to this health care law."

    Straw man. The argument isn't that they can't enforec existing federal's that they can't enact their own that tread on the federal government's superior authority to enact them. Learn about pre-emption or shoosh. The choice is simple.

    August 2, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Uncle Sam, "If a state (AZ) can't enforce immigration laws, then no state should have to sign on to this health care law."

    Boy, are you a dip! Immigration and health care reform are two completely different things.

    The Federal government has jurisdiction over immigration matters, not the states.

    The health care reform law is a federal law, passed by the US Congress.

    August 2, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. NVa Native

    Randy and other confussed ditto heads or fox followers –

    If you don't buy health insurance and you use the emergency room as your primary care, you then tie up the emergency room at the expense of others who might need life or death emergency care.
    If you don't have insurance to pay your bills or you won't/can't pay – then the cost is pased on to all of us by the hospital & caregivers and we all pay (no protection for us).


    August 2, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain


    Wow, you really are an idiot!

    Do you know how much cheaper it is to provide preventive care and treat medical conditions in the early stages instead of letting things get to a life-threatening point and resorting to ER services?

    Do the world a favor and do a little research before you post.

    Also, there are plenty of hard-working people who work for companies that can't afford to provide health care insurance because the health insurance companies keep raising their premiums (in part, to finance their CEOs average $14 million/per year salaries).

    August 2, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. Rick CT

    Difference between this and car insurance is that car insurance is only required if one makes the choice to drive. Obama's insurance is required if you make the choice to live.

    August 2, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Steve in Denver

    @ib: What a moron. We need health care reform, not govt takeover.

    In case you didn't hear of the law from anyone other than limbaugh or faux news, you will be required to have PRIVATE health insurance, purchased from a PRIVATE company. Please explain how this is government takeover? Anything?

    Then, your next line is classic. Don't cut Medicare. You do realize, i hope, that Medicare is a government run health care program?

    Maybe not. I saw a posting from you a few days ago where you blamed Carter for decisions made in the 1980's. Carter left office January 21, 1980.

    ib obviously doesn't stand for International Baccalaurete, does it?

    maybe it is ib stupid.

    August 2, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Steve in Denver

    @DUMocRATS RECORD DEFICITS + TAXES: You do realize that the biggest contributor to the deficit, by far, is the Bush tax cut, right? The CBO put out a graph that clearly shows it.

    And how about the two wars while cutting taxes?

    And you realize that Obama has cut taxes for everybody making less than $250k per year?

    You deficit peacocks are really too much. Your party ran up the largest deficit in history after inheriting the largest surplus in history, and you are yaking about democrats? Did you just wake up in 2009?

    Or is it just that you are factually challenged?

    August 2, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. Rick

    I live in Virginia and our State Government is a joke from the Governor down.

    August 2, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. floridian

    Who are all the IDIOTS saying to get rid of automobile insurance? The two insurances are not equal - one protects the lender and anyone who is injured or property that is damaged while the other pays for your individual treatment. No wonder we have so many idiots in Congress - we have so many idiots allowed to vote.

    August 2, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. Great news...Obamacare is going down.... can't make us buy your insurance...and the Supreme Court will make sure of it......if not, we'll repeal the stupid thing after November...

    August 2, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. Angie in Denver

    Amazing that these right wingers have been able to get other Americans to swallow their talking points.

    August 2, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. Anne P

    Eric in Tx: That's exactly what I is trumping up their charges to cover the uninsured, so who ultimately pays? We who have insurance pay by way of higher premiums....duh! I also work in the healthcare field, so I do have a clue. Yes, your health does indeed affect me if you aren't insured and need emergency care. Sorry this is over your head.

    August 2, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. doug

    To those of you who don't get it – Obama's Healthcare Tax is unconstitutional. The government does not have any authority to force Americans – ALL Americans – to purchase a free market product or service under threat of fine or other penalty.

    Healthcare insurance is a free market product. This is no different from dictating that everybody has to buy a new car or a new refrigerator.

    Also, it is the insurance companies who stand to gain from this legislation, despite how it is being spun. After all, what business would not profit from tens of millions of forced new customers who have no choice but to buy their product?

    August 2, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. howie

    Finally, we have someone with a "pair" big enough to take on Obama. I can only hope Virginia wins this one.

    August 2, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. doug

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

    Hey T'SHA – sad news for you – the WHOLE COUNTRY agrees with it.

    August 2, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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