Va. AG clearly not an Obama fan

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 31, 2010, 2:44pm


FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Legal Newsline) - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is calling President Barack Obama's policies "utterly destructive" and compares the president's administration to the British during the Revolutionary period.

Cuccinelli said he will continue to challenge the Obama administration's policies.

"States created the federal government, not the other way around," Cuccinelli told audience members at a Fredericksburg, Va., Regional Chamber of Commerce event on Tuesday.

About 75 people, mostly business and elected leaders, attended the event to hear the Republican attorney general's 40-minute address, according to the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg.

Cuccinelli -- in his comparison of Obama's administration to the British -- said it's up to the states to challenge federal laws that "trample" the U.S. Constitution and impose "crippling" regulations on businesses.

He said the lawsuits he has filed are "exactly what the founders intended."

Those suits include one against the administration's efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and another to overhaul the health care system.

Cuccinelli told those attending the Chamber event that the federal Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases to protect the public's health are based on faulty data.

He contends the regulation could have deeply harmful effects on the economy, specifically utilities and agriculture. He also pointed to free markets, saying they are the most effective way to clean up the environment.

The EPA in late July rejected 10 petitions for reconsideration of its finding that carbon dioxide and other emissions contribute to global warming.

Instead, it reaffirmed its ruling that the gases are a danger to public health, rejecting petitions from two states, various industry groups -- like the Ohio Coal Association -- and conservatives who said it was based on shaky science.

One of those petitions was filed by the Virginia attorney general, a known global warming skeptic. His petition asked the EPA to overturn its finding.

Cuccinelli also has asked a federal appeals court to review the EPA's findings. He said the court is likely to find that the agency has considered new information without the public's knowledge.

Also at Tuesday's forum, the attorney general discussed his office's lawsuit against the recently passed federal health care law. He contends the federal government doesn't have the right under the Constitution to order people to buy its health insurance or to impose a fine if they don't.

Earlier this month, a federal judge denied the federal government's motion to dismiss and allowed Cuccinelli's challenge of the health care package's individual mandate to proceed. Cuccinelli says the mandate is in contrast to Virginia law.

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.

The attorney general told those attending Tuesday's event that oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Oct. 18 in front of a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

He said he hopes the court will issue a verdict on the constitutionality of the health care law by Thanksgiving but suspects it will eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"If we lose this case, it's the end of federalism as we've known it for the past 223 years," Cuccinelli said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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