Virginia Calls Health Bill Unconstitutional, Files SuitAttorney General: “At no time in our history has the government mandated its citizens buy a good or service”
Mar. 23, 2010
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The State of Virginia has confirmed that it will sue the federal government over the health care reform bill, declaring the legislation unconstitutional and legally conflicting.
The Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, issued a statement last night, giving notification that the State will file suit as soon as the president signs the bill into law, later this week.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Cuccinelli is expected to argue that the bill violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution:
“At no time in our history has the government mandated its citizens buy a good or service,” Cuccinelli’s statement explained.
“We believe the federal law is unconstitutional as it is based on the commerce clause. Simply put, not buying insurance is not engaging in commerce,” the attorney general added.
“If you are not engaged in commerce, the federal government cannot regulate this inaction. Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, Congress could regulate every aspect of our lives.”
The suit will also raise the notion that the legislation creates a legal conflict between the federal government and Virginia, the only State so far that has passed a law ruling that its residents are not mandated to buy health insurance.
The final reform bill mandates that every American must purchase health insurance before 2014 or pay a fine.
On the evening the House passed the reform 219-212, all five Republican representatives in Virginia voted against the bill (Rep. Eric Cantor, Rep. Robert J. Wittman, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, and Rep. Frank R. Wolfe), along with two Democrats (Rep. Glenn Nye, and Rep. Rick Boucher).
Rep. Eric Cantor described the bill as a “trillion-dollar overhaul” that would reduce freedom of choice, raise taxes, and increase the national debt.
“It’s the latest part of an agenda that is being forced upon the American people that attempts to seize more control over the economy and our lives,” Cantor said on the House floor before the vote.
Watch Cantor’s speech:
Virginia isn’t the only state looking to the courts on this issue. Last week, the State of Idaho passed a measure requiring the state attorney general to sue the federal government if residents are forced to buy health insurance.
Similar legislation is also pending in 37 other states.