By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
At the same time that voter opposition to ObamaCare is reaching historic highs, a Virginia judge has ruled that the state’s lawsuit against the plan can move forward.
Rueters is reporting that U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state’s attorney general alleging that a mandate in ObamaCare requiring that its residents buy health insurance violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. According to the Judge’s opinion, there is sufficient reason to study the matter further.
“The congressional enactment under review — the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision — literally forges new ground and extends (the U.S. Constitution’s) Commerce Clause powers beyond its current high watermark,” Hudson said in a 32-page ruling.
In his opinion, the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause has never been extended this far before. ” 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.”
The ruling represents a substantial setback for the Administration because it will force them to mount a lengthy and expensive defense of an unpopular law that is destined to unfold during the upcoming 2012 election season.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the ruling a “procedural step” and expressed confidence that the healthcare reform law has “full constitutional backing.”
Arguments on the merits of the Virginia case are set for October 18, two weeks before the November 2 congressional elections, and are expected to have a major impact on races nationwide.
The latest Rasmussen poll found that 59 percent of likely voters now favor repeal of ObamaCare compared to 38 percent who oppose repeal.
“This healthcare bill is a monstrosity and will be a big issue in the fall,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Reuters in an interview after the ruling. “We would repeal it and replace it were we given enough votes to do that.”
Virginia’s lawsuit is only one of several cases trying to undo the healthcare reform law. Another much larger suit has been filed in a Florida federal court by a handful of state attorneys general.
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