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Judge orders feds to respond to health care suit next week

Rosalind Helderman

They don't call it the rocket docket for nothing.

Late Friday, Eastern District of Virginia Judge Henry E. Hudson issued a scheduling order in Virginia's suit arguing the federal health care law is unconstitutional, giving the federal government 11 days to respond to the complaint. Clocks are now ticking--11 days from the order would mean the government would have to file a response next week, on Tuesday, May 11.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) said he spent part of Monday on the phone with officials from the U.S. Justice Department, fielding a request that Virginia put up no objection if the government requests more time of the judge. Cuccinelli said he is weighing the request.

"Needless to say, they called us right up and requested to push that back," Cuccinelli said laughing. "We're discussing it with them."

Cuccinelli pointed out that the suit is entirely based on legal arguments about the constitutionality of requiring individuals to purchase health care. With no evidentiary discovery, the suit should proceed quickly through the court system and could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in fairly short order, as such things go.

"It's literally two rounds of briefings that will probably get crammed into one round, and then three levels--district court, appelate court and Supreme Court," Cuccinelli said.

Read Hudson's order here.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 4, 2010; 9:38 AM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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extending briefing is granted ALL the time. it's really a routine occurrence. particularly when you don't have a criminal case (i.e. a human being in jail waiting for a trial). cuccinelli's comment strikes me as strange and a refusal to grant the request, if it occurs, would be remarkable.

Posted by: anon82 | May 4, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Cuccinelli should state an objection if the government request additional time. As he pointed out, there is no need for evidentiary discovery in this case as it is solely a constitutional question that is at issue -- does the U.S. Constitution permit the federal government to require its citizens to purchase a specific product?

If the U.S. Justice Dept. can't put together a brief showing that something is constitutional within the span of a week, then the odds are it isn't.

Posted by: JTR555 | May 5, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

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