McDonnell, 27 other governors ask Obama to support speedy Supreme Court review of health care law
Twenty-eight governors, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) are asking that President Obama direct the U.S. Justice Department to seek immediate review by the Supreme Court of constitutional challenges to the federal health care law filed in Virginia and Florida.
In a letter sent Wednesday, the governors argue their states need the certainty of a final resolution to the legal questions surrounding the law as they proceed with implementing the sweeping health care reforms. They note that there is no doubt that the constitutionality of a mandate that requires individuals to obtain health insurance by 2014 will ultimately be determined by the nation's highest court.
"We should not endure years of litigation in the circuit courts, when the Supreme Court
can promptly provide finality," they write.
The letter comes as Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) formally filed a petition with the Court Tuesday asking that justices hear Virginia's challenge immediately rather than waiting for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule.
A U.S. District Court judge in Virginia sided with Cuccinelli and ruled that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority with the individual mandate, and he had indicated last week that he would ask the Court to take the case up now.
A judge in Florida has likewise ruled the mandate unconstitutional in a case filed jointly by 26 states. Federal judges in two other cases filed by private parties have issued contradicting rulings, indicating they believe the mandate meets constitutional muster and, Obama has expressed confidence that the constitutionality of the law will ultimately be upheld.
The Justice department has indicated that it opposes bypassing appeals courts and legal experts have said the likelihood the court would take the cases now and forgo the benefit of additional judicial rulings is slight. Lawyers for the Obama administration have noted that the mandate does not go into affect in 2014, providing time for the legal challenges to work their way through the normal judicial channels.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| February 9, 2011; 11:15 AM ET
Categories: Barack Obama, Ken Cuccinelli, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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