Win or lose this summer, Cuccinelli says his health-care suit headed to D.C.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) says he believes Virginia has "a better than even" chance of getting a win at the initial district court level in its suit against the federal government over health-care reform. A judicial declaration that the health-care law is unconstitutional would have national repercussions.
"Just statistically, we're most likely to survive standing, and then we have a better than even chance of winning on the merits," he said in an interview Tuesday, a day after the federal government filed a response to his suit. "I wouldn't go farther than that. I wish I could."
At the same time, a loss would strengthen the hand of those who have argued that Cuccinelli's suit is frivolous with little chance of success, and, for that reason, Cuccinelli argues his suit is a marathon that will undoubtedly be decided by the Supreme Court. Winning along the way to Washington would be more fun than losing, but not a necessity.
"Nobody likes to lose, but we're in this for the long haul," he said. "We understand this is going to be decided ultimately by the Supreme Court, and that's the course we're on, regardless of what happens in the district court or the 4th Circuit. ...You take them one at a time -- you don't think about the next drive until you finish your putt."
Cuccinelli said he realizes he faces the burden of proof in convincing judges the law is unconstitutional. But the federal government faces "the burden of persuasion."
"The federal government has a significant burden in convincing judges they can order people to do something, to go buy something, under the guise of regulating commerce, when that has never ever ever been done before in the history of the United States," he said.
The government argued in its motion Monday that those who choose not to buy health insurance impact interstate trade when they are sick or are injured and show up for care, which then raises prices for all other health care users.
Providing a sneak peak of Virginia's next filing, Cuccinelli said he believed the flaw in that argument was the assumption that those without insurance will, without a doubt, ultimately seek health care. "They're arguing a contingency as a certainty," he said. "That is a very presumptuous statement and an unproven one, even if there is testimony before Congress of it. And perhaps an irrelevent one, because they are working their way through a chain of inferences and it's not clear that the law will allow them to do that, to support the jurisdiction under the constitution for this bill."
And he pushed back against the idea that Virginia lacks standing to sue in the case, an issue the federal government spent much of its memo in support of a motion to dismiss dissecting. "
Cuccinelli said he could not say how much of his staff's time has been devoted to writing Virginia's next filing in the suit--due June 7 but estimated it likely reached "scores of hours, for sure."
This is an important point because Cuccinelli has so far said the suit has cost the state only $350, the court filing fee, and declined to break down how much the state is paying to staff working the issue.
May 26, 2010; 1:28 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman
Save & Share: Previous: Virginia withdrawing from Race to the Top competition
Next: McDonnell says his vetting is fine, Malek's past a 'non-issue'
Posted by: ErikKengaard | May 26, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rebeccajm | May 26, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: LloydtheIdiot | May 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anglo_Rider | May 27, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.