Cuccinelli pleased with health ruling, while feds express confidence in case
Update, 1:30 p.m.: The White House has also responded to Hudson's ruling. In a statement posted to the White House's blog, Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the president for special projects, writes that the government "believes this procedural ruling is in error and conflicts with long-standing and well-established legal precedents -- the types of precedents that, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, are designed to preserve the 'judiciary's proper role in our system of government' and to ensure that our courts do not become forums for political debates." Cutter continued that, with the preliminary phase of the challenge over, "the government fully expects to prevail on the merits."
Original post: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he's pleased with a judge's decision to allow his constitutional challenge to the federal health-care decision to proceed. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice said lawyers there are confident that the courts will ultimately decide that the law is constitutional.
Judge Henry E. Hudson on Monday refused to dismiss a Virginia lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law, handing the law's foes their first victory in a courtroom battle likely to last years.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson rejected arguments from Obama administration lawyers that Virginia has no standing to sue over the law and no chance of ultimately prevailing in its constitutional claim.
"We are pleased that Judge Hudson agreed that Virginia has the standing to move forward with our suit and that our complaint alleged a valid claim," Cuccinelli said in a statement. "This lawsuit is not about health care, it's about our freedom and about standing up and calling on the federal government to follow the ultimate law of the land -- the Constitution."
Tracy Schamler, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, called the ruling "merely a procedural decision by the court to allow this case to move forward."
"We believe there is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. We are confident that the health care reform statute is constitutional and that we will ultimately prevail," she said in a statement
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has issued a statement as well:
I applaud today's decision allowing Virginia's constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to move forward. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has brought forward a specific and narrowly tailored objection to the Act. It warrants a full and thorough hearing in our courts. It is meritorious and constitutionally correct. The requirement that all Americans must purchase health insurance or face a penalty is not permitted under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. It would also violate Virginia's Health Care Freedom Act, which was passed by a bipartisan majority of the Commonwealth's democratically elected representatives and I signed into law this spring. I congratulate Attorney General Cuccinelli for today's positive outcome. I look forward to the full hearing this fall.This post has been updated since it was first published.
Rosalind S. Helderman
August 2, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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