Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli [official website] on Monday filed a response [text, PDF] to the federal government's motion to dismiss [text, PDF; JURIST report] the state's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of recently passed health care [JURIST news archive] legislation. The suit [complaint, PDF] was filed in response to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [HR 3590 materials] and contends that Congress's use of the Commerce Clause [text] to compel citizens of Virginia to purchase health insurance is an extension of its power and breach of federalism principles. The federal government argued in its motion to dismiss that Virginia lacked standing to bring the lawsuit because they have not been harmed by the statute and the provision requiring individual purchase of health insurance does not go into effect until 2014. The federal government also argued that the statute is constitutional under Congress's ability to regulate interstate commerce. Cuccinelli contends that Virginia's lawsuit is vital to the future definition of federalism [press release] stating:
If the government prevails and Congress may use the Commerce Clause to order Americans to buy private health insurance, then Congress will have been granted a virtually unlimited power to order you to buy anything. That would amount to the end of federalism and our more than 220 years of constitutional government.Oral arguments on the motion to dismiss are scheduled for July 1.
The Obama administration is also facing several other health care lawsuits. Last month, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) [association website], a small business lobby group, joined a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law. The NFIB joined 20 states in a legal battle that began in March when a complaint seeking injunction and declaratory relief was filed [JURIST reports] in a Florida federal court. Also last month, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed [JURIST report] its first response [brief text] to one of the lawsuits challenging the new health care law. The suit [complaint, PDF], filed in March by conservative public interest group the Thomas More Law Center [advocacy website] on the same day President Barack Obama signed the bill into law [JURIST report], argues that the mandate that all individuals carry health insurance is unconstitutional.