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Federal government again asks that health-care suit be dismissed

Rosalind Helderman

The Obama administration has reiterated its request that a federal judge dismiss Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law.

.In a brief filed Tuesday evening, Justice Department lawyers acting on behalf of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, attempted to refute points made by Cuccinelli in a memo defending the suit filed earlier this month. Cuccinelli argues that Congress overreached with a provision of the bill that requires individuals who make above a certain amount to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

There's some new language in the brief -- including some lawyerly insults lobbed at Virginia's arguments (They employ "jurisdictional alchemy!" One legal argument is nothing but "an anachronism!")

But, for non-lawyer types, the filing largely restates points made by the government in its original motion to dismiss the suit: The federal lawyers argue that Virginia does not have standing to sue in the case; that the lawsuit is not timely since the provision of the law that Cuccinelli has challenged does not go into affect until 2014; and that the law is constitutional because of Congress' power to regulate interstate trade and adopt laws that promote the general welfare of the country.

The two sides will clash July 1 in oral arguments over the motion to dismiss. If Virginia's suit survives the motion to dismiss, the district court judge will hear the whole case in October.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 22, 2010; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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