The ruling represents a setback that will force the Obama administration to mount a lengthy legal defense of the law. The suit, filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (pictured), alleges that the law’s requirement that its residents have health insurance violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
Virginia’s lawsuit is one of several trying to undo the health-care law. Another large one was filed in a Florida federal court by a handful of state attorneys general.
In his opinion, Judge Hudson ruled:
The guiding precedent [on the Commerce Clause] is informative but inconclusive. Never before has the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause been extended this far. At this juncture, the court is not persuaded that the Secretary has demonstrated a failure to state a cause of action with respect to the Commerce Clause element.
In other words, off to discovery we head.
If the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to do this, it’s hard to imagine anything that it doesn’t allow it to do, and the days of enumerated powers are over. And of course, that was the point of Jim DeMint’s questioning of Elena Kagan, and why he’s voting against her (as anyone who cares about the Constitution should) — she sees no limits to the power of the federal government.