Cuccinelli: Health Care Is ‘Secondary’ Issue In My Health Care Lawsuit

May 28, 2010 9:38 a.m.

Presenting his lawsuit against health-care reform in apocalyptic and grandiose terms, Ken Cuccinelli has said that health-care itself is a “secondary” issue in the legal challenge. The real goal, the Virginia Attorney General acknowledges, is to limit federal power. “If we lose, it’s very much the end of federalism as we’ve known it for over 220 years,” he said.

Cuccinelli’s comments came in response to the Justice Department’s motion, filed earlier this week, to dismiss his lawsuit.“We are doing what the founders expected states to do,” Cuccinelli, a Republican, said in an interview with a blogger for the website of the Heritage Foundation — a choice of outlet that appears calculated to further burnish the ambitious AG’s conservative credentials. “We are a check in the checks and balances system that was laid out by James Madison.”

He continued:

I don’t think in my lifetime we’ve seen one statute that so erodes liberty than this health care bill. Certainly, we view our lawsuit as being not merely about health care. That’s actually secondary to the real important aspect of the case, and that is to protect the Constitution as we essentially define the outer limits of federal power. If we lose, it’s very much the end of federalism as we’ve known it for over 220 years.

And he added: “We are absolutely in it for the long haul and that’s important.”

Cuccinelli filed suit against the law in March, arguing that the health care law’s requirement that everyone buy health insurance is unconstitutional because it doesn’t involve inter-state. In its motion to dismiss, the Justice Department disagreed, and argued that the state lacks standing, because the requirement won’t go into effect until 2014.

Thirteen other attorneys general filed a separate suit against the health care reform law. Experts have said the challenges are unlikely to be successful.

Since taking office this year, Cuccinelli has quickly built a profile as a right wing champion. He has launched a fraud investigation into a climate scientist caught up in the “Climate-Gate” controversy, and has pressed the state’s colleges and universities not to ban anti-gay discrimination.

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: