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Cuccinelli To Fight Health Care Bill In Court - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cuccinelli To Fight Health Care Bill In Court

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he will take the health care fight to court. He has drafted a lawsuit against the federal government that the state could file as soon as Tuesday.

We are told the Attorney General's Office will file that lawsuit in federal court in Richmond moments after President Obama signs the health care bill. That is scheduled for Tuesday and it will kick off a fierce legal battle that could head all the way to the Supreme Court.

"Never before has the federal government ordered anyone to buy anything," he protested. "It is too much of an overreach of the power that the constitution gives to congress."

Cuccinelli essentially has two claims: First, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to require any private citizen to purchase anything. The argument is basically that the commerce clause of the Constitution can not be used to force you to buy something, including health insurance. His second point is that the health care bill violates the new state health insurance law.

"When the fed law is unconstitutional, state law trumps federal law," Cuccinelli said. "And that's the situation we say we have now." 

Political analysts say this lawsuit likely will head all the way to the Supreme Court.

"We'll see where this lawsuit goes," said NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. "It may take years for it to make it through the system. These things happen."

But already, state Democrats are calling the move a waste of time.

"I'm just not sure that now is the time to be playing this political game," said 71st District Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D).

McClellan says Cuccinelli will not be able to prove his case because the health care mandate does not take effect for several more years.

"I don't think the state has standing and I don't think that lawsuit's going to go anywhere," she asserted.

Cuccinelli disagrees and says the case will not place a burden on an already cash-strapped state government. He says he is focused only on the constitutionality of the health care legislation and is not trying to make a political point.

"It is not going to eat up a lot of resources in our office," he countered.

Also in the mix is Virginia's new law that bans a federal insurance mandate. Cuccinelli says that law should supersede the health care bill because the health care bill is unconstitutional.  

Regardless expect to see full court documents by Tuesday.

Reported by Adam Rhew
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