Within minutes of President Obama's signature on a sweeping health care reform bill Tuesday, the Commonwealth of Virginia filed a lawsuit that argues the law unconstitutional. Similar moves are coming from at least a dozen other states.
"We're off in the Rocket Docket," said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who filed the suit.
The Rocket Docket is what legal insiders call the United States District Court in Richmond because of its reputation for settling cases quickly. Cases that now include Virginia's lawsuit against the Obama health care law.
"Policy issues are decided by Congress," explained Cuccinelli. "Elections decide many of these things. Our focus is strictly on the constitutionality or lack thereof of the bill."
Cuccinelli filed the lawsuit almost immediately after the president signed the health care measure. Cuccinelli claims the part of that bill that requires people to carry health insurance is unconstitutional, and in direct conflict with Virginia law.
"I can't defend Virginia's law without proving that the federal law is unconstitutional," he said.
In court documents filed Tuesday, the attorney general's office says the health care act "imposes immediate and continuing burdens on Virginia and its citizens" and, attorneys argue, the mandates "would create powers indistinguishable from a general police power..."
Attorneys general from at least 13 other states have filed similar lawsuits. Now, they are on a path to the Supreme Court for a fight likely years in the making.