Cuccinelli's office confirms Virginia will sue over health care
A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) said this afternoon that Virginia will file suit against the federal government if the Democratic health care reform bill is approved by the U.S. Congress.
Cuccinelli has long said he was examining the legal issues and suggested he would likely file suit. Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for the office, said this afternoon that a lawsuit is now a definite. Gottstein would provide no details of the legal rationale for such a suit, indicating the process is "still being worked out."
Virginia last week became the first state in the country to pass a state bill declaring it illegal for the government to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a key part of bills under consideration on Capitol Hill.
We are also expecting to receive a letter shortly that Cuccinelli is sending to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warning her that using the so-called "deem and pass" procedure to pass the Senate health reform bill in the House would open the measure to additional constitutional challenges from the states.
UPDATE: We've received a copy of Cuccinelli's letter to Pelosi. In it, he writes: "Should you employ the deem and pass tactic, you expose any act which may pass to yet another constitutional challenge."
The full letter is included after the jump.
March 17, 2010 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Office of the Speaker H-232, U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C. Dear Speaker Pelosi: I am writing to urge you not to proceed with the Senate Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act under a so-called "deem and pass" rule because such a course of action would raise grave constitutional questions. Based upon media interviews and statements which I have seen, you are considering this approach because it might somehow shield members of Congress from taking a recorded vote on an overwhelmingly unpopular Senate bill. This is an improper purpose under the bicameralism requirements of Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, one of the purposes of which is to make our representatives fully accountable for their votes. Furthermore, to be validly enacted, the Senate bill would have to be accepted by the House in a form that is word-for-word identical (Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998)). Should you employ the deem and pass tactic, you expose any act which may pass to yet another constitutional challenge. A bill of this magnitude should not be passed using this maneuver. As the President noted last week, the American people are entitled to an up or down vote. Sincerely, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II Attorney General of Virginia
Once again Virginia, the first Colony in the New World, leads the way.