For Release: March 22, 2010
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Virginia Attorney General to file suit against federal government over passage of health care bill
Virginia in a unique position to sue
NOTE: AUDIO and VIDEO clips from the attorney general’s announcement will be available online Monday at 8:00 am EDT for download at http://www.vaag.com/Media and News Releases/News_Releases/index.html. The text of the court filing will be available on the site immediately after the filing is made after the president signs the bill.
RICHMOND (March 22, 2010) – Statement from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli after the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Senate’s health care bill:
“The Office of the Attorney General of Virginia will move forward with our lawsuit against the federal government and its unconstitutional overreach of its authority with the passage of the federal health care bill. We will file our complaint with the court as soon as the president signs it into law.
“With this law, the federal government will force citizens to buy health insurance, claiming it has the authority to do so because of its power to regulate interstate commerce. We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person – by definition – is not engaging in commerce, and therefore, is not subject to a federal mandate.
“Virginia is in a unique situation that allows it the standing to file such a suit since Virginia is the only state so far to pass a law protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance. The health care reform bill, with its insurance mandate, creates a conflict of laws between the federal government and Virginia. Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government, but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia’s law should prevail.
“Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, there would be no limit to the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and to Congress’s authority to regulate everything we do. There has never been a point in our history where the federal government has been given the authority to require citizens to buy goods or services.
“While we believe the health care reform bill the House just voted on suffers from constitutional problems, we do want to thank Speaker Pelosi for not trying to enact the bill through the questionable “deem and pass” procedure. By requiring an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, she is living up to the letter of Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution. As someone who is sworn to protect the Constitution, she did the right thing in that regard.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled in other cases that Congress cannot regulate non-commercial activities. In United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000), the Supreme Court struck down attempts to regulate non-commercial activities based upon their predicted effects on interstate commerce because those attempts went beyond the outer limits of the Commerce Clause.
The suit will be filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division.
NOTE: AUDIO and VIDEO clips from the attorney general’s announcement will be available online Monday at 8:00 am EDT for download at http://www.vaag.com/Media and News Releases/Health Care Lawsuit.html. The text of the court filing will be available on the site immediately after the filing is made after the president signs the bill.
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