A Federal judge on Monday ruled that the Virginia lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the national health care law should proceed.
In rejecting the government’s motion to dismiss the suit, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson, an appointee of George W. Bush, embraced the argument that whether or not it’s constitutional, at a minumum, ObamaCare represents a novel use of the Commerce Clause that has yet to be considered by the courts:
“While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce. Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue. No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce. Given the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side’s position, this court cannot conclude at this stage that the Complaint fails to state a cause of action.”
Via the Washington Post.
The lawsuit was brought by by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has filed a separate lawsuit against ObamaCare involving other states.
Today’s ruling is merely the first stage of the process, which will now enable courts to consider the underlying constitutional questions involved.
In a conference call earlier today, Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius downplayed the significance of the decision.
“The decision is a procedural step that just means there will be a full hearing on the arguments,” she said. “We remain confident that the case is solid and that there is a full constitutional backing for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. So this is just a step to move us to the debate on the merits of the case.”
UPDATE: SCOTUS Blog has more.