Court hears arguments in Cuccinelli health-care suit

With audio from Ken Cuccinelli press conference

Story by Chris Graham

A federal court on Thursday heard arguments in the suit brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to strike down the federal health-care reform legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama in March.

The suit alleges that the law violates the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Virginia in forcing state residents to purchase health insurance or face a fine. It was filed in the days following passage of the reform by the Democratic Party-controlled Congress. The Obama administration filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, which was the subject of this morning’s hearing in Richmond.

A ruling on the motion is expected later this month.

“If the government prevails in this suit, and Congress can force Americans to buy private health insurance in the name of regulating commerce, then Congress will have been granted a virtually unlimited power of ordering you to buy anything,” said Cuccinelli, a Republican, who raised the spectre of “Congress forcing you to buy Chevrolets or any other private product it wants” as part of his reasoning for bringing suit.

“That would amount to the end of more than 220 years of federalism,” said Cuccinelli, who told reporters on a conference call Thursday afternoon that the suit is not “about health care.” “It is about liberty. It is about whether we’ll lose our liberty and allow the federal government to dictate to us what we must buy in the name of its policy goals,” Cuccinelli said.

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