Cuccinelli, McDonnell praise Florida ruling striking down health-care law
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) are applauding a ruling by a federal judge in Florida striking down the nation's health care overhaul as unconstitutional.
In a suit filed jointly by 26 states, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled that Congress exceeded its power under the constitution with a provision of the bill that requires individuals to purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine. Vinson's ruling is similar to that issued by Judge Henry Hudson in December in a suit filed by Virginia challenging the law.
But Vinson's ruling was broader than Hudson's. Vinson said the entire law must be struck because of the unconstitutional provision. The constitutionality of the law will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Tuesday that they remain confident the law will be upheld. She noted that in addition to the Virginia and the 26-state Florida cases, there are more than a dozen other lawsuits -- filed by private parties -- working their way through the court system
In a statement, Cuccinelli called the ruling a victory for liberty and constitutional principles. McDonnell said the ruling was "yet another strike" against the federal law. He called on the Justice Department to ask for expedited review by the Supreme Court . Legal experts have said the court would be unlikely to grant a request to hear the case before appellate courts weigh in. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the Virginia suit in May.
Read the full statements from Cuccinelli and McDonnell after the jump.
Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R):
I am heartened by the fact that another federal judge has found that the individual mandate forcing citizens to buy private health insurance is unconstitutional. The judge also found that the individual mandate could not be severed from the remainder of the law, so he declared the entire act invalid. Constitutional principles have scored another victory today. Liberty has scored another victory today. I congratulate Florida Attorney General Bondi, former Attorney General McCollum, and the attorneys general and governors who joined the Florida suit, on their victory.Gov. Bob McDonnell (R):
Judge Vinson's ruling is yet another strike against the individual mandate specifically, and the entire federal health care law generally. For the second time in as many months, a federal judge has found that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by mandating that citizens of this nation purchase a commercial product or else face a penalty.
Judge Henry Hudson reached a similar conclusion in his December ruling on the Commonwealth's challenge to the Act. However, Judge Vinson's decision goes one step further. The Judge also ruled that the individual mandate component is not severable from the overall Act in which it is contained, meaning that this one unconstitutional provision renders the entire bill void.
I agree with both Judge Vinson and Judge Hudson that the individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. However, this matter is far from settled. Today's decision adds to the growing uncertainty surrounding federal health care reform. That uncertainty is leaving states, businesses and individuals unable to properly plan for 2014 and the scheduled implementation of this new law.
For this reason I reiterate my request that the Department of Justice join with the states to request fast tracking the challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the final decision regarding its constitutionality will ultimately be determined. All parties involved, no matter where they stand on this measure, should support moving this issue to its final stage, and bringing finality to a complicated matter that will have an impact on every state, employer and citizen of this nation.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| January 31, 2011; 5:36 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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