Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was the first attorney general out of the box this morning to announce litigation against the health care bill President Obama plans to sign into law. Cuccinelli’s argument is a straightforward one challenging the constitutionality of an individual mandate. Excerpt from Cuchinelli’s statement:
With this law, the federal government will force citizens to buy health insurance, claiming it has the authority to do so because of its power to regulate interstate commerce. We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person – by definition – is not engaging in commerce, and therefore, is not subject to a federal mandate.
Virginia is in a unique situation that allows it the standing to file such a suit since Virginia is the only state so far to pass a law protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance. The health care reform bill, with its insurance mandate, creates a conflict of laws between the federal government and Virginia. Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government, but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia’s law should prevail.
Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, there would be no limit to the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and to Congress’s authority to regulate everything we do. There has never been a point in our history where the federal government has been given the authority to require citizens to buy goods or services.
Washington Post, March 11, “Va. assembly approves bill to bar health-insurance mandate”
Heritage Foundation, Dec. 9, 2009, “The Individual Mandate in Obamacare is Unconstitutional“
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