America

In Its Challenge To Federal Health-Care Law, Virginia Overcomes Legal Hurdle

US President Barack Obama waves at the a i i

President Obama waves at the audience members during a rally celebrating the passage and signing into law of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. Jewel Samad/AFP hide caption

itoggle caption Jewel Samad/AFP
US President Barack Obama waves at the a

President Obama waves at the audience members during a rally celebrating the passage and signing into law of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010.

Jewel Samad/AFP

Responding to a lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia, claiming the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new federal health-care law, is unconstitutional, the Obama administration said the Old Dominion didn't have standing to bring the suit in court.

Today, a federal judge rejected the U.S. government's argument. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has won a legal victory — albeit a procedural one — that may lead to a full hearing in October, The Washington Post reports.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson said that, "while this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate — and tax — a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce."

Given the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side's position, this court cannot conclude at this stage that the complaint fails to state a cause of action.

Last month, lawyers from the Department of Justice and Virginia debated the motion in Richmond, at the Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Federal Courthouse there.

Cuccinelli filed the suit shortly after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into. His state has passed legislation that says, essentially: No Virginian can be forced to purchase health insurance.

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