A decision is expected in thirty days on the federal government’s motion to dismiss Virginia’s healthcare lawsuit. The case was argued by E. Duncan Getchell, Jr., Solicitor General of Virginia in Federal District Court today. The argument to dismiss the lawsuit stemmed from the federal government’s contention that Virginia did not have the standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place explained Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at a 12:50 p.m. press conference.
Cuccinelli said, “should we survive this round a summary judgement will be argued on October 18.”
He went on to say that the Healthcare Act was signed by President Obama on March 23 and “that day was the 235th anniversary of Patrick Henry’s ‘give me liberty’ or give me death speech” just a mile down from the courthouse. Cuccinelli thought it fitting to be in a courtroom defending liberty in what he considers to be an extraordinary version of that liberty.
Cuccinelli made clear that the lawsuit is not about healthcare but is about liberty. “We’ll lose our liberty and allow the federal government to dictate to us what we must buy in the name of [the President’s] policy goal,” he said.
Cuccinelli believes that if the federal government prevails in the lawsuit and forces Americans to buy private health insurance in the name of regulating commerce then they will be granted unlimited power to force citizens to buy anything. He said, “we heard no limits on that today in court.”
He said if that happens there is nothing to stop Congress from forcing citizens to buy Chevrolets or any private product it wants. “That would amount to the end of 220 years of federalism,” said Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli expects appeals from both parties to eventually end up in the Supreme Court. It’s all about checks and balances and keeping government branches from getting too powerful. He claimed it is up to the states to remind them of their constitutional boundaries.
When asked what he thinks his chances are of success Cuccinelli replied, ”I still believe I am cautiously optimistic that we have a better than even chance of prevailing.”
He called regulating healthcare insurance in a state is an “exercise of police power.”
“If I think something violates the U.S. constitution and I sit on my hands then I am abandoning my oath of office and I’m not doing that,” said Cuccinelli.
The government mandated insurance system is central to the scheme of the healthcare bill argued the federal government. It does not have a severability clause said Cuccinelli. If any part of a bill is found unenforceable or unconstitutional that clause is severed and the remainder of the bill still stands.
If the federal government’s motion to dismiss is denied the decision following October 18 would more than likely come after the November elections. Virginia is a “rocket docket” state as Cuccinelli has alluded to in the past but he doesn’t believe it possible for a decision to be made in two weeks.
There will be a great deal of debate on the consequences said Cuccinelli. He compared it to the lawsuit he is watching closely in Florida.
Starting today a Virginia law is in effect that does not require citizens to buy health care insurance.
- July 1 10:00 am motion to dismiss hearing at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Richmond
- Case: Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius
- E. Duncan Getchell, Jr., Solicitor General of Virginia, argued on behalf of the Commonwealth
- Judge Henry E. Hudson said he would likely issue his ruling in 30 days.
- If Virginia’s case survives, a summary judgment hearing is scheduled for October 18, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. to decide if the federal health care law is unconstitutional.
AUDIO of the attorney general’s post-hearing news conference can be heard here under the SPECIAL MEDIA INFORMATION section: http://www.vaag.com/PRESS_RELEASES/index.html
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Politics, State Politics
Tags: attorney_general, cuccinelli, health, lawsuit