Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had threatened to file a federal lawsuit if Democrats deemed the health care reform bill passed. In the end, of course, Democrats held an up-or-down vote, and won. Cuccinelli is threatening a lawsuit anyway.
“We will file our complaint with the court as soon as the president signs it into law,” Cuccinelli said in a statement released by his office.
The lawsuit will be filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Cuccinelli said. He indicated it wil take aim at a provision which imposes a penalty on individuals who do not purchase health insurance.
“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,” Cuccinelli said. “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.”
The General Asembly passed legislation this winter declaring that Virginia residents cannot be forced to buy health insurance, taking aim at the “individual mandate” provision in the federal law. Cuccinelli said the state legislation puts Virginia in “a unique situation that allows it the standing to file such a suit.”
I’ve done some reporting on this, and Idaho, too, has passed legislation that opens the door for the attorney general to file such a lawsuit. But lawyers for that state’s AG office told me it will take some time to build a case, or see if one needs to be built. Cuccinelli, who’s getting quite a reputation for trigger-happiness, is jumping the gun.
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