FoxNews.com | AP
Published October 18, 2010
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention in Richmond, Va., Oct. 9. (AP Photo)
Virginia’s top-ranking attorney warned Monday that the federal government will be able to order Americans to “buy anything” if the state’s lawsuit against the health care overhaul goes down, after a federal judge in Richmond heard arguments in the landmark case.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson said he will rule by the end of the year on the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care law. The case is proceeding separately from one in Florida, where a federal judge last week allowed a multistate challenge to go forward.
The Virginia challenge is led by state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who claims Congress lacks the constitutional authority to require Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. He described the so-called individual mandate as “unprecedented” and warned Monday that personal “liberty” is on the line as the judge considers the case.
“If Virginia loses this fight and the federal government is allowed to cross this line, Congress will be granted virtually an unlimited power to order you to buy anything,” he said. “That’s not rhetoric. That’s reality of the circumstances of this case.”
Invoking Revolutionary War-era struggles, Cuccinelli suggested that not even the British would have attempted to force Americans to buy a product. His argument is that the federal government is attempting to “stretch” the definition of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause in order to “regulate inactivity.” In other words, the government wants to force Americans to buy a product and then fine those who don’t buy that product — a scenario Cuccinelli described as “non-commerce.”
The insurance mandate, which takes effect in 2014, is the most contentious element of the new law and the chief issue in the state’s lawsuit.