Va. health care challenge moves to summary judgment phase

John O'Brien Aug. 13, 2010, 12:44pm


RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - The state of Virginia and the federal government have until Sept. 3 to file their motions for summary judgment in Virginia's challenge of federal health care reform.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled against granting the federal government's motion to dismiss earlier this month, allowing the case to proceed to the summary judgment phase. Each side will have 20 days to respond to the other's motion.

The replies and any amicus briefs are then due Oct. 4.

Cuccinelli says the package's individual mandate is in contrast to Virginia law.

The mandate requires Americans to purchase health insurance or face a $695 annual penalty.

"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," Hudson's ruling says.

Hudson added that neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor a federal appellate court has addressed that issue.

"No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce," Hudson wrote.

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

Cuccinelli says a state law passed prior to the federal health care reform's passage in March prevents Virginians from being forced to purchase health insurance.

Cuccinelli filed his lawsuit soon after President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law in March. It is separate from a 21-state suit filed in Florida federal court that claims the mandate is unconstitutional and has no state law issues.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

Want to get notified whenever we write about U.S. Supreme Court ?
Next time we write about U.S. Supreme Court, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Supreme Court
1 First St NE
Washington, DC 20543

More News