Speaking of Virginia's lawsuit against ObamaCare: Remember all the liberal hysteria regarding all the money Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli supposedly is spending on the constitutional challenge to the federal health care law (Richmond Times-Dispatch) — as if government spending has ever been an issue with liberals? Never mind that he is defending Virginia law (the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act), which it is his duty to do. Where are the howls of disgust by the same people now that the Obama Justice Department refuses to agree (Times-Dispatch) with the Attorney General for an expedited appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (Washington Examiner)? Without such an appeal, we're talking at least two cases in U.S. Courts of Appeals, at least another year or more of legal work and court proceedings, endless briefs and motions, travel from Washington to Richmond and Atlanta, meetings, hundreds of hours of federal government employee time and who knows what else it takes to try a case these days — only this will be two cases simultaneously, not to mention any further cases that are filed in federal district courts by other states or aggrieved parties. It's no exaggeration to say the cost could be in the millions. That's a lot more than the $350 it cost the Commonwealth to file its case in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia . . . but a lot less than the $1.1 billion it will cost Virginia to implement ObamaCare. The pricelessness of the hypocrisy is passed only by the reality of the true costs.
Last General Assembly session, just before Congressional liberals rammed through their government-run health insurance overhaul (see ObamaCare411.com), Virginia responded to the mood of its citizens and passed the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act. Once the federal health insurance changes were signed into law, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli quickly filed suit in federal court to defend (see video) the constitutional rights of Virginians.
Legal challenges aside, ObamaCare is scheduled to be fully implemented by 2014. While we hope Virginia's lawsuit will succeed, no one can, with anything close to certainty, count on the courts to invalidate the law or on Congress to repeal it (see 21StateLawSuit.com).
We especially are concerned about the provisions of the law that allow for abortion funding. That's because ObamaCare puts states in charge of their own health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses. If enacted today, Virginia could potentially include, in its exchange, plans that cover elective abortion. In fact, Pennsylvania and Maryland already have moved to include such plans (see CNSNews.com). Without intervention by the General Assembly, pro-family citizens opposed to abortion would be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life. Virginians may be divided on the issue of abortion, but a vast majority are opposed to publicly funding it with their hard earned tax dollars.
However, there is a clause in the federal health insurance plan that allows states to opt out of abortion funding in their state run exchanges. Such action also fulfills the executive order signed by President Obama that theoretically protects Americans from funding abortion through the health insurance scheme. According to Americans United for Life, a total of 25 states, including Virginia, have either opted out or have plans to introduce legislation with the hope of preventing health insurance companies in the exchange from providing abortion coverage.
Toward that end, The Family Foundation is supporting legislation introduced this session by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge) that would prevent insurance plans in the Virginia exchange from providing abortion coverage. Especially in today's financial climate, it is unconscionable to mandate Virginians to underwrite a publicly unsupported issue resulting in the destruction of human life.
Although it is the first of many court decisions he faces, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli this week became the first person to successfully challenge President Obama's federal health insurance scheme. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled a key component of the plan — the "individual mandate" — unconstitutional. In his opinion, Judge Hudson concluded:
Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter a stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I.
He added that the individual mandate "is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the U.S. Constitution." That letter meaning this: "Regulate" during the days of the constitution's adoption meant, "to make regular." Far from taking over entire industries, the federal government instead was to ensure that states didn't discriminate against businesses from one state to the advantage of one from another.
The Obama administration argued that the constitution's Commerce Clause gives the government broad authority to order Americans to purchase health insurance because not doing so adversely affects commerce. Of course, this unprecedented attempt to force Americans to purchase a product was predicated on labeling inactivity (not buying insurance) "interstate commerce." Stranger than fiction, we know.
While the Obama administration will appeal Monday's decision to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney General Cuccinelli would prefer an expedited appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was in talks with the Department of Justice about a joint motion to that affect, but it now appears DOJ wants no part of it (better to delay until more and more parts of the law go into affect). However, Mr. Cuccinelli told Fox New Channel's Greta Van Susteren Monday night he may go forward on that by himself and also may appeal Judge Hudson's refusal to place an injunction on the health care law (see video). He has 30 days from last Monday to make that appeal. Regardless of how or when, ultimately Obamacare's fate will be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.
While there are dozens of reasons to oppose Obamacare (see Obamacare411), the provision that requires otherwise free Americans to purchase health insurance or face penalties is the most egregious — but it is also the financial linchpin of the entire law. Without the mandate, much of the rest of the law is untenable.
Earlier this year, The Family Foundation supported the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, the basis for the Commonwealth's lawsuit against the federal government. It protects Virginia citizens from being compelled to buy insurance against their will. We applaud the Attorney General and his staff for their commitment to protecting the freedom of Virginians. For a great perspective on the hearing and Judge Hudson's ruling, view Mr. Cuccinelli's post-decision news conference (click here). We are the only news or Internet site that recorded and posted the entire news conference.
With all the weight of the federal government and its massive megaphone that is the liberal mainstream media, it seems as if there's only one side of the debate over Virginia's lawsuit against the federal health care takeover. But that's why we're here and that's what alternative and new media are for — to provide the other side. It's even better to get the other side straight from the primary source. So, here is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responding the the federal government's recently filed motion to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit seeking relief from the health care law — an area of governance not specified to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution — and which is in conflict with the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli explains and debunks four aspects and criticisms of Virginia's lawsuit against the federal government's health care takeover.
Annotations & Elucidations Calling Mr. Ripley
It's more Tea Party mania as Tax Day fast approaches. Groups are seeking Tea Party support in potential opposition to President Obama's next choice to the U.S. Supreme Court; liberal activists are trying to infiltrate Tea Parties with the purpose of embarrassing them (as we've known all along, and which the mainstream media finally has picked up on, see Aleksandra Kulczuga at The Daily Caller as well as the AP); and in Virginia, Tea Party activists have won two western GOP unit chair elections in recent days.
Meanwhile, nationally, and speaking of Tea Parties, support for the health care law is plummeting faster than a Soprano victim in the Elizabeth River, and more Americans than pay income tax think we're over taxed! That should tell you something, and Scott Rasmussen and Richard Olivastro do in Analysis and Commentary, respectively.
Think the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act is nervy, standing up to the big, bad federales? William Green of the Tenth Amendment Center has an idea that will knock your boots off. Also in that vein, and speaking of New Jersey (The Soprano's), many here patted themselves on the back after Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly balanced our budget without a general tax increase and reduced spending to $70 billion (over two years), a figure last seen in 2006. Very nice. But, as Norman Leahy notes at Tertium Quids, the other new governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey, is fighting for, and winning, real reforms, not to mention that even though it is larger than Virginia, it's annual budget is $29.3 billion. Even more impressive: The N.J. deficit is $10 billion; our two-year deficit was $4 billion. New Jersey more frugal than Virginia? Call Mr. Ripley.
Morrissey, Style Weekly settle $10 million libel lawsuit (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Griffith reaping GOP support (Roanoke Times)
Boyer elected head of Bedford GOP unit (Lynchburg News & Advance)
Groups look for Tea Party support on nomination (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Foes of Tea Party movement to infiltrate rallies (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Census: No evidence of a conservative boycott (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on gay adoption: Kids 'aren't puppies' (New York Daily News)
Support for Repeal of Health Care Plan Up To 58% (Scott Rasmussen/Rasmussen Reports)
66% Say America Is Overtaxed (Scott Rasmussen/Rasmussen Reports)
Florida Senate GOP Primary: Rubio 57%, Crist 28% (Scott Rasmussen/Rasmussen Reports)
Christie may be the real GOP model (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids Blog)
Media Research Center: Coverage of Tea Parties is disparaging and biased (Aleksandra Kulczuga/The Daily Caller Blog)
Next it will be government crashing the Tea Party (Richard Viguerie & Mark Fitzgibbons/Washington Examiner)
Ending the Fed From the Bottom Up (William Green/Tenth Amendment Center)
Stupak's Final Retreat (Editorial/Washington Times)
Good Riddance (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)
Democrats Manipulate CBO (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)
Can You Afford More Taxes? (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)
A V-Shaped Boom Is Coming (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)
Is Romney Grasping at Straws? (Aaron Goldstein/The American Spectator)
As the General Assembly began in January, perhaps the most anticipated legislative debate was going to be over the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act. How would this legislation — written to exempt Virginians from the unprecedented individual mandate in the Congressional health care bill — be received after a huge conservative victory in the fall? After all, the campaign was seen as a referendum against the federal government’s increasing control of private business and individual lives. But could it clear the typically obstructionist Virginia Senate? The answer came pretty early in session when five key Senate Democrats joined all 18 Republicans to send it comfortably through to the House where it was met warmly — even 55 percent of House Democrats voted for it. Similarly, the House version made its way through both chambers later in session. It was all anti-climatic until the events of last weekend.
After Congressional liberals rammed through its government-run health care plan, despite overwhelming opposition across the country, and the subsequent White House gloating, all eyes turned to Virginia. Yesterday, Governor Bob McDonnell made it official with what had to be the most widely reported bill signing ceremony in recent Virginia history. With his signature, Virginia has exempted itself from the most significant portion of the new federal law. We congratulate Governor McDonnell, the General Assembly and the bill patrons for their hard work in making history and protecting Virginia families from the federal government’s burdensome overreach and constitutionally questionable actions.
The patrons and chief co-patrons responsible for this major success for constitutional principle are: Senators Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) and Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk); and Delegates Bob Marshall (R-10, Manassas), John O’Bannon (R-73, Henrico) and Chris Peace (R-97, Hanover).
Now, however, even more national attention is focused on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as he defends this new law against the government takeover of our health care system. We thank him for his efforts and state and national leadership on this matter, as he does what he was sworn to do — defend Virginia law and the Virginia and United States Constitutions. He, as you can guess, is under a blistering attack from a loud, but determined, minority opposed to the Virginia law and his legal actions against federally run health care. You can support him by signing an online petition found here.
Finally, thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators and worked so hard to defend the founding principles of Virginia and the nation during this General Assembly session. As these uncertain economic times continue, more work will be required in the months ahead to restore our Founders’ vision.
If the left is so pleased with its government takeover of the health care system, and if they are so confident the American people are falling all over themselves in unbridled joy over "free" health care, then why does President Obama feel the need to schedule a series of campaign style events around the country to drum up support for the new law? Who looks for support after the fact? Maybe because Caterpillar (Wall Street Journal) and John Deere (agrimoney.com) have said this law will cost them more than $100 and $150 million, respectively, and cause layoffs? Or maybe because Walgreens (FoxNews.com) said it will no longer accept new Medicaid customers? Unintended consequences? Not. Very much intended. Let the system go to pot, so the government will "need" to intervene yet more. Furthermore, if this law is sound constitutionally, why is there such a huff by the left — by lefty netroots types (blogs, Facebook, etc.) and by publicity seeking liberal pols (many who held a news conference at the capitol yesterday) — so upset at the legal challenges filed against the law by 14 attorneys general? (See the hysteria in the comments at the T-D article link.) If, as Delegate Jennifer McClellen (D-71, Richmond) says, that the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (Richmond Times-Dispatch) is akin to Massive Resistance (New York Times); or, as Senator Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico) says, not engaging in economic activity is actual commerce; or, as Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) says, the law suits are frivolous, then why all the angst, consternation and worry?
(Make no mistake: The opposition to the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act is a fringe minority — at least five Democrat senators voted for it, more after amendments; and 55 percent of House Democrats voted for it, including several in the Legislative Black Caucus.)
Apparently, American leftists, from the president on down, are a little nervous. In reality, for good reason. They are not accustomed to principled people fighting with vigor for the constitution, as sworn to do. Their response is a frenzy of complaint and falsity. Their actions belie their recent in-your-face celebratory confidence and giddiness.
Annotations & Elucidations It's Up To Ken
It's official as of about 3:00 today: Virginia law prohibits the federal government from imposing an individual mandate on Virginians to buy health insurance. That's when Governor Bob McDonnell signed the Virginia Health Care Freedom legislation into law. Now, it's up to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to defend the feds' assault on us.
Here are some highlights of today's News Stand: It's not a day old and already there are problems with the children's portion of the takeover — that portion doesn't start until 2014. Hmm. Perhaps read the bill next time. So much for all the "good things" that begin immediately, Mr. President. Also, if health care, AIG, GM, the banking and insurance industries, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are enough, pretty soon the federal government will be the sole proprietor of student loans. Isn't that great? While they're at it, the White House says Joe Biden dropping the F-word yesterday was a good thing. Pure class, this bunch.
In Commentary and Analysis: It's always a good day when we feature Walter Williams. Today, we have him twice, along with the great Thomas Sowell. Tony Blankley chimes in, as well, mincing no words: they're socialists.
McDonnell to sign Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act today (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)
Cuccinelli sues federal government to stop health-care reform law (Washington Post)
Virginia, 13 other states sue over health-care law (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
University, local lawmakers file suit over health-care bill (Lynchburg News & Advance)
For Beach activists, a goal: Stop clinic from opening (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)
Abortion activists fired up for 2010 (Politico/Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)
Senate writing final chapter to health care bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Problems already with child health care coverage (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Banks losing student loan business to government (AP/GOPUSA.com)
White House, experts: Health care suit will fail (AP/GOPUSA.com)
White House embraces Biden profanity (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Judge: No school prom but lesbian's right violated (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Breyer, Scalia explain why they often disagree (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Protests cancel Coulter speech in Ottawa (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Is Health Care a Right (Walter E. Williams/GMU.edu)
Sunday's Socialist Triumph (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)
An Off-Budget Office? (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)
Constitutional Awakening (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)
Today, in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, the anticipated fireworks didn't materialize. But it sure did have some strange twists and turns. Although there wasn't as much hype concerning HB 10, The Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, there was due to be some suspense. The patron, Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), had reason to be confident since three similar Senate bills escaped Commerce and Labor earlier in session, albeit by 8-7 votes, due to the brave votes of Democrats Charles Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell). But HB 10 is worded slightly different. One difference from the Senate bills is that it clearly limits exemptions on insurance purchase mandates in divorce settlements, an omission Senate liberals objected to in SB 417, SB 311 and SB 283. On the other hand, its protections from the federal government are a little more expansive.
Stage set, here's what happened: Delegate Marshall barely was into the introduction of the bill when he got a few questions, including one from committee chairman and Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), who asked, "Do you think we have the power to tell Congress what to do?"
Of course, the bill won't tell Congress what to do. Only that Virginia won't participate in a certain action (health care insurance mandates) that it may pass. In fact, Delegate Marshall cited a 1994 Congressional Budget Office memo during the HillaryCare debate, that stated never before had Congress mandate Americans to buy any good or service, and that doing so would open the door for other mandated purchases and a command economy. (Hopefully, our public schools still teach what political system uses a command economy.) He reasoned, that if Congress has never required an individual mandate before, it must not be legal, or it would have done so already in more than 200 years. He also cited New York v. United States where a federal court ruled in New York's favor over a federal mandate. Seemingly anxious to just get it over with, it was about here where Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) asked if there was any difference between HB 10 and the Senate bills, which Delegate Marshall already had volunteered that there was. He amended his bill to preserve divorce settlements in which insurance coverage may be a part, something on which committee liberals hammered the Senate bills' patrons. On the other hand, his bill, in a macro constitutional sense (I love creating new phrases) was a bit broader and probably more protective of the feds than the Senate bills.
Before the committee's legal counsel and Delegate Marshall could complete their responses, motions and comments started flying all over the place. Senator Saslaw, confident that the differences were huge and that the bills were not the same, motioned that HB 10 be passed by for the year. Senator Frank Wagner (R-7, Virginia Beach) made a substitute motion to report. Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest) made a parliamentary inquiry if the bill could be conformed into one of the Senate bills. He was told no because the bills are in different sections of the code.
That struck me as odd right away because bills are conformed all the time. In fact, "conforming" is changing legislative language to the exact same language as another bill — in other words, that's the point! Change it and put it in any code section you want! So the motion to report was voted upon with Senators Puckett and Colgan upholding their part, but the bill failed 8-7. How could this be when the others passed? Senator Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) voted no.
As supporters gathered outside to plan a next step — primarily, to get Senator Norment to offer a motion to reconsider at the next meeting — word came out of the committee room to head back in: That's what indeed he was doing! So the bill was brought right back up, interrupting the introduction of the next bill. After the motion to reconsider passed, a motion to — believe it or not — conform it to SB 417 was made and passed on a 8-7 vote. So, HB 10 survives, amended to the same language as SB 417. You like unintended consequences (something liberals are always warning us about)? Good, because now the protections for divorce orders is gone!
It should now pass the Senate floor, where it will go back to the House. It remains to be seen if Delegate Marshall will then insist on his original language when it returns there and force a conference committee, or if he'll take what he has. Does he want pride of authorship? Or, knowing the other bill will become law, does he want to roll the dice and try to get the additional protections in HB 10 to become the law of the Commonwealth?
No issue has galvanized Americans like the attempt by President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take over the American health care system and put it under federal government control. Conservatives, liberals, moderates, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike have made their voices known — No nationalized health care! After a string of embarrassing election losses — including the historic conservative landslide sweep here in Virginia last November and the recent Republican win in the Massachusetts special Senate election — it looked like health care "reform" was dead. Not so fast. President Obama and his liberal Congressional allies are resuscitating their plans with talk of forcing it through Congress in a process called "reconciliation" that bypasses the protection of a filibuster. So, what can we do about it?
In Virginia, plenty! This week’s news from Washington couldn’t have better timing because Monday afternoon the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee will hear Delegate Bob Marshall’s HB 10, the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which would exempt Virginians from individual federal health care mandates. Although three Senate versions have passed the General Assembly already, and are on their way to Governor Bob McDonnell to become the first law of its type in the land, Delegate Marshall’s (R-13, Manassas) bill is slightly different and would provide additional protections. The Commerce and Labor Committee barely passed the other versions with 8-7 votes. Democrat Senators Charles Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) bravely bucked their party leadership to vote for true health care freedom. Please thank them, and encourage them and other members of the committee to vote for HB 10 to secure Virginia from federal intrusion into our personal health care decisions!
This is an historic opportunity for Virginia to protect itself from federal government intrusion! Please contact members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee (here) now and ask them to pass HB 10.
Friday afternoon, we were the first to alert the public that the Senate had assigned the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (HB 10), in a blatant violation of its rules, to the Education and Health Committee. The bill, which overwhelmingly passed the House 72-26, by rule of the Senate should have been assigned to the Commerce and Labor Committee, where three similar Senate bills shocked the political establishment earlier in session by passing on 8-7 bipartisan votes. But yesterday, the bill's Web page listed its assignment to the decidedly less friendly Ed and Health Committee. The bill, patroned by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William), would exempt Virginia and Virginians from an individual health care mandate by the federal government. It appeared that the liberal Senate majority, licking its wounds from the surprise losses in C&L and Senate floor, wanted a pyrrhic victory by sticking it to the leader on the issue — Ed and Health at best would fall one vote short based on its membership and its 10-5 , well-out-of-proportion-super-majority. Of course, the train had left the station — the three Senate bills passed the House without amendments (thus avoiding a conference committee) and now are on their way to Governor Bob McDonnell.
This wasn't the first time this session the Senate had tried chicanery with bill assignments. Earlier, the Legislative Information Services Web site gave away the Senate majority leadership's strategy on SB 504 when it whitewashed its Courts of Justice sub-committee actions and, without and committee vote, had moved it to Ed and Health. So, was this another trick by the Democrat majority? Or did the Senate Clerk make a mistake, intentional or un? Or a combination thereof?
We don't know, but, alas, we can breathe easy. Either we stirred up a hornet's nest, the Senate leadership was adequately burned last time or there was a mistake — of some sort, by someone. Today, according to the bill's Web page, it is rightfully assigned to the Commerce and Labor Committee (again with no mention of the previous committee assignment). So, we can expect another spirited debate in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee later in session. At least we hope so. There are other tricks in the legislative bag to pull out. We hope they stay put. If not, we'll be there to expose them. Again.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is an organization of state legislators that promotes conservative and free market legislation throughout the 50 state legislatures. Its immediate past national chairman is Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksbug). Its Virginia Chairmen are Delegate Chris Jones (R-76, Suffolk) and Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield). As a driving force for free market solutions to remedy health care, it provides model legislation to its state legislator membership, research and other tools, and tracks the progress of bills across the country. This year, health care freedom is one of ALEC's priorities as 30-plus states have introduced such legislation. It's had a busy time in Virginia this session of the General Assembly as five bills protecting the health care freedom of Virginians have advanced rapidly through Mr. Jefferson's capitol and Virginia races to become the first state to stand up to the federal government's over reach into the health care decisions of individuals.
Recently, Christie Herrera, director of ALEC's health and human services task force, spoke with World Net Daily Radio about the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, as the national media continues to pay attention to Virginia's lead as the first state to define the limits of the federal government's powers.
Delegate John O'Bannon (R-73, Henrico), the chief co-patron of Delegate Bob Marshall's (R-13, Manassas) Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (HB 10), spoke at The Family Foundation of Virginia Day at the Capitol on January 18. Here are his comments on the bill, why it is necessary, constituent feedback and why it is constitutional. Delegate O'Bannon is a neurologist and was the only doctor in the House of Delegates for several years until 2008. Until this session started, he remained the only physician in the House. Now there are three "delegate-doctors," with Doctors Chris Stolle (R-83, Virginia Beach) and Scott Garrett (R-23, Lynchburg) beating Democrat incumbents last November.
Delegate O'Bannon, long the General Assembly point man on health care issues, speaks about the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act.