RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced that, following a thorough legal review of the case, he will commute the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz to life imprisonment without parole. Teleguz’s request for a pardon will be denied. Teleguz was convicted in the murder-for-hire of Stephanie Yvonne Sipe in July 2001. He was scheduled to be executed on April 25.
Announcing his decision at the Virginia State Capitol today, Governor McAuliffe delivered the following statement (as prepared):
Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I am joined today by my Secretary of Public Safety, Brian Moran, and my Counsel, Carlos Hopkins, both of whom have devoted countles
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in a Monday evening press release said that the federal government responded to Virginia’s lawsuit over the recently enacted federal health care law with a motion to dismiss the suit.
that as of matter of jurisdiction and procedure, Virginia has no right to bring this case now that Congress has the authority under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to order Americans to buy health insurance that the health insurance mandate is lawful under the taxing power of Congress.
Cuccinelli said his office would respond by June 7. The government then has until June 22 to reply to Virginia’s response.
“The federal government is forcing citizens to buy health insurance, claiming it has the authority to do so because of its power to regulate interstate commerce via the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person – by definition – is not engaging in commerce, and should not be subject to a federal mandate,” said Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli argued, “Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, there would be no limit to the Commerce Clause and to Congress’s authority to regulate everything we do. If Congress has the power to force Americans to buy health insurance, then there’s nothing to stop Congress from forcing us to buy any product.”
In the press release Cuccinelli stated:
The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause usually allows federal law to trump state law. But if a federal law is found unconstitutional while a conflicting state law is found constitutional, the state law will prevail.
Virginia has not joined other states and instead has chosen to defend a Virginia statute in a federal court in Virginia.
Cuccinelli claimed that other duties of the attorney general’s office would continue as normal as this case plays out.