individual mandate

Toxic News For ObamaCare? Will Curious Chemical Case Precedent Poison Law's Constitutional Claim Tomorrow?

The United States Supreme Court rarely shows unanimity in the cases it hears. But a 9-0 verdict in an obscure case about a chemically burned paramour from 2011 may provide an insight into how the court may rule tomorrow. The case, Bond v. United States sounds more like something from Boston Legal, or even The People's Court, than the Supreme Court. Here's what happened: Defendant Carol Bond discovered that one of her best friends was pregnant by her husband. In retribution, she sprinkled caustic chemicals on a mailbox, car door handle and door knobs. It worked: The home-wrecker suffered burns.

Federal prosecutors, however, didn't attempt a conviction under standard criminal laws. Instead, as if this case couldn't get stranger, tried Ms. Bond under a statute designed to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention. David Rivkin, perhaps the country's best appellate attorney and who successfully argued the first phase of the multi-state lawsuit against ObamaCare which the Supreme Court ultimately will decide tomorrow, takes it from here, in an op-ed published last year in the Wall Street Journal:

In defense, she argued that the law exceeded Congress's power because its violation required no link to interstate commerce or any other specific federal interest. The government argued that because the state (Pennsylvania) was not party to the suit, Ms. Bond could not defend herself by attacking that law on federalism grounds. The government prevailed in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court disagreed. With an unusual unanimity, the court held squarely that individual citizens have every right to challenge federal laws on the ground that they exceed the limited and enumerated powers vested in Congress by the Constitution. The court stated without equivocation that "[b]y denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When the government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake."

Perhaps most frightening to ObamaCare defenders is a line from Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion — the justice considered the court's swing vote, who, nevertheless, is committed to a dual state sovereignty system of federalism: "Fidelity to principles of federalism is not for the States alone to vindicate." More Rivkin:

For Supreme Court watchers, Bond is a profound reaffirmation of the centrality of the state-federal "dual sovereignty" system. That's why the decision is bad news for those who defend ObamaCare — the most extravagant challenge to that dual system in our history.

In enacting the ObamaCare law, Congress seized for itself the very type of power — the ability to regulate individual conduct regardless of any significant connection to interstate commerce or another legitimate federal regulatory interest — that the Constitution reserves solely to the states. In defending the law in court, the Obama administration has persistently sought to narrow the Constitution's federalism principles and to trivialize the Supreme Court's recent decisions supporting those principles.

What Bond makes clear is that those principles and cases are meant to be read broadly to achieve their original purpose: securing "the freedom of the individual" by allowing the states to respond "to the initiative of those who seek a voice in shaping the destiny of their own times without having to rely solely upon the political processes that control a remote central power."

For the rest of this insightful, short and very readable op-ed, click here. Prediction: By a 5-4 vote, the individual mandate is struck. The rest is allowed to stay but with reservations.

Eleventh Circuit Court Of Appeals: ObamaCare's Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional

Funny how August, supposedly the slowest of all months for news, can gobsmack you in the face with a flying hammer full of headlines, and on a Friday of all things. In fact, there is a fair amount of state news today, as well as our open house last night, that we wanted to write about today. But that will wait to next week. For now, it's all about ObamaCare and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling today that the linchpin of ObamaCare — the individual mandate (i.e., the government forcing citizens to buy a product) — is unconstitutional, and some observations. Here's a good first look analysis by Bryan Preston of Pajamas Media.com. » The court seems to indicate that the rest of the law is constitutional. However, without the funding the forced purchases and penalties provide, there is no way the law can be funded (unless President Obama takes us trillions further in debt). But as far as the mandate, the court used phrases such as "unbounded assertion of congressional authority" and called its reach "breathtaking in scope," going further even than opponents had in their arguments.

» It's interesting that the 11th Circuit came to its decision this quickly: The 4th Circuit, known as the "Rocket Docket," heard the Virginia challenge earlier and still has not released its decision.

»The 11th Circuit's 2-1, 304-page decision apparently says the individual mandate is unconstitutional but the other parts may be constitutional. Judge Roger Vinson, the Federal District Court Judge in Florida, on whose opinion the appeal was based, ruled the entire law was unconstitutional. After all, the law has no severability clause which stipulates that if any part of a bill is ruled unconstitutional, then the remaining parts will remain in place. Without that clause, once the 11th Circuit ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, the entire law must be ruled unconstitutional. But, we'll take this major decision for now.

» The three judge panel was made up of one Bill Clinton appointee, one George W. Bush appointee, and one Clinton appointee who was appointed to the Federal District bench by Ronald Reagan.

» Here is a key sentence from Judge Vinson that the 11th Circuit upheld today:

The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.

» Where are Eliot Spitzer and all the liberals who mocked the intelligence of all state Attorneys General for filing suit against ObamaCare, saying that they had no chance and it clearly is constitutional? This is now at least the third federal court to rule it unconstitutional, including the Federal District Court for Eastern Virginia (Judge Henry Hudson). Where are all the leftist activists who yelled that these legal actions were "a waste of time and tax dollars"? Isn't it nice to stay quiet and let them eat crow when the time comes?

» Kyle Wingfield of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has good information on the decision and is updating it frequently. He provides this nugget from the 304-page ruling,as legal analysts continue to pour through the lengthy document.

It cannot be denied that the individual mandate is an unprecedented exercise of congressional power. … Never before has Congress sought to regulate commerce by compelling non-market participants to enter into commerce so that Congress may regulate them. The statutory language of the mandate is not tied to health care consumption — past, present, or in the future. Rather, the mandate is to buy insurance now and forever. The individual mandate does not wait for market entry.

» David Rivkin, the attorney hired by the more than two dozen attorneys general to argue — and who won — the multi-state lawsuit in Federal District Court in Florida, issued this news release. The former Reagan administration attorney, and one of America's top legal minds on a myriad of disciplines, said the ruling is a major victory for ObamaCare opponents and that the court's decision confirms almost verbatim his original argument in a series of editorials dating from August of 2009. He has been correct on this matter consistently, and recently laid out on SCOTUSBlog.com how and why ObamaCare will get struck down in the U.S. Supreme Court. From his release:

The Court has made clear that it will vindicate federalism against encroachment by either the federal government or the state. [It] has consistently held that there must be some areas of life, even where there may be some remote economic impact, that constitutionally remain within the States’ regulatory authority alone.

» Governor Bob McDonnell issued this statement:

I am pleased by today’s decision. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has correctly determined that the Commerce Clause provides no constitutional basis for a mandate that citizens must purchase a specific commercial product or face a penalty. The individual mandate provision . . . represents an unprecedented expansion of federal authority. In issuing their ruling, the court's majority wrote that, "the individual mandate was enacted as a regulatory penalty, not a revenue-raising tax, and cannot be sustained as an exercise of Congress's power under the Taxing and Spending Clause." It is clearly in direct contrast to the limited powers granted to our national government by the Constitution.

The decision by the 11th Circuit is similar to the prior district court ruling on Virginia's challenge to the federal healthcare law. ... this issue must be heard in an expedited manner by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Department of Justice has resisted all prior requests to fast track this issue to the nation's highest court. That is disappointing and I again urge the Department of Justice to call for expedited review. This law will impact every American. Regardless of where one stands on the policy and constitutional questions at hand, all should at least be able to agree on the need for certainty, finality and uniform application of the law throughout the country.

» Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued this statement:

I am pleased that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the individual insurance mandate and penalty unconstitutional. The court determined that the power to force one citizen to purchase a good or service from another is outside the established outer limits of both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. The court also ruled that although the president and Congress want to now call the penalty a tax to make it pass constitutional muster, the penalty cannot be sustained under the federal government's taxing authority because the penalty is clearly not a tax.

I congratulate our fellow attorneys general in this major victory, and although this court is not in our circuit, I am pleased that the judges ruled in favor of the two key arguments that are present in our Virginia suit.

Federal Judge In Florida: Obamacare Unconstitutional

Today, a second federal judge in as many months ruled Obamacare unconstitutional (see Avik Roy at The Apothecary blog at Forbes.com). That's two lawsuits involving 27 states against the federal government's healthcare takeover and two rulings that it is unconsitutional. Perhaps the most devastating aspect of Judge Roger Vinson's decision is that he ruled the entire law is unconstitutional because the offending portion — the individual mandate that forces Americans, for the first time in history, to buy a product — is not severable. In other words, when the law was drafted, in its legislative sloppiness, the U.S. Senate did not include a clause that declared if any part of it was ruled unconstitutional, the remainder of the law remained in effect. Even Judge Henry Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, who was the first judge to rule Obamacare unconstitutional, refused to go that far. But Judge Vinson did not enjoin the law (see 21StateLawSuit.com), either.

Much like Judge Hudson's opinion, however, Judge Vinson said the law goes well beyond the limits of the Commerce Clause and any High Court precedent. He wrote:

The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.

Here is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's reaction: 

I am heartened by the fact that another federal judge has found that the individual mandate forcing citizens to buy private health insurance is unconstitutional. The judge also found that the individual mandate could not be severed from the remainder of the law, so he declared the entire act invalid.

Constitutional principles have scored another victory today. Liberty has scored another victory today.

I congratulate Florida Attorney General Bondi, former Attorney General McCollum, and the attorneys general and governors who joined the Florida suit, on their victory.

Here is Governor Bob McDonnell's reaction:

Judge Vinson's ruling is yet another strike against the individual mandate specifically, and the entire federal health care law generally. For the second time in as many months, a federal judge has found that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by mandating that citizens of this nation purchase a commercial product or else face a penalty.

Judge Henry Hudson reached a similar conclusion in his December ruling on the Commonwealth's challenge to the Act. However, Judge Vinson's decision goes one step further. The Judge also ruled that the individual mandate component is not severable from the overall Act in which it is contained, meaning that this one unconstitutional provision renders the entire bill void.

I agree with both Judge Vinson and Judge Hudson that the individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. However, this matter is far from settled. Today's decision adds to the growing uncertainty surrounding federal health care reform. That uncertainty is leaving states, businesses and individuals unable to properly plan for 2014 and the scheduled implementation of this new law.

For this reason I reiterate my request that the Department of Justice join with the states to request fast tracking the challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the final decision regarding its constitutionality will ultimately be determined. All parties involved, no matter where they stand on this measure, should support moving this issue to its final stage, and bringing finality to a complicated matter that will have an impact on every state, employer and citizen of this nation.

Exceeding Commerce Clause Powers

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.

Obamacare Unconstitutional! AG Cuccinelli's Follow-Up From Court's Decision

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli just sent this e-mail to supporters:

As I told you earlier today, Virginia won the first round of the constitutional fight over the federal health care law. I also told you I'd get back to you with more details later in the day, and I'm keeping my promise.

I will tell you up front that I will also go into still more detail later this week — when time allows.

Arguments and Outcomes

There were two basic arguments in this case.

First, Virginia argued that the individual mandate was beyond the power of Congress and the President to impose under the Constitution. Specifically, Congress claimed that their regulatory power under the Commerce Clause allowed them to order you to buy their government-approved health insurance, even if you decide not to buy health insurance.

The judge ruled that the federal government does not have the power to compel you to buy health insurance as part of its attempt to regulate the entire field of health care and health insurance. Thus, Virginia won this argument.

Second, the federal government advanced a 'fallback' argument in case it lost on its commerce clause argument. The feds' fallback argument was that the financial penalty you have to pay if you don't buy the government mandated health insurance is a tax.

This may sound like an odd argument from a political standpoint — usually they say everything is NOT a tax (in fact, they argued the penalty was not a tax while they were trying to get the bill passed); however, they changed position after the bill became law to try and save the bill. What they were trying to do was to get the courts to agree that because the penalty would presumably raise some revenue, it was therefore a 'tax' under the taxing and spending for the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution.

No judge in the country has bought this argument, and Judge Hudson was no exception. He ruled that the taxing power of Congress does not save the bill, because the penalty for not buying the mandated health insurance is not a tax.

The federal government only had to win on either of these two arguments, while Virginia needed to win both to prevail, and we won both!

What's Next?

Certainly the federal government will appeal their loss in the district court to the 4th circuit court of appeals within the next 30 days. And whichever side loses in the 4th circuit will certainly appeal to the Supreme Court. And no one has any serious doubts that ultimately the constitutionality of the individual mandate will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That could take approximately (very rough approximation) two years. We are discussing with the Department of Justice accelerating the case, and those discussions have been very cordial thus far. More on that later.

Conclusion

Today is a great day for the Constitution. Today the Constitution has been protected from the federal government, and remember, an important reason for the constitution in the first place was to limit the power of the federal government.

Today is also a day of a small degree of vindication. When we first filed suit, the screeching of the liberals was deafening. Everything from accusing us of playing politics instead of practicing law, to filing what they called a 'frivolous' lawsuit.

I want you to know, that our team makes decisions based on the Constitution and the laws. Period. We deal with the consequences of our decisions separately, but first and foremost we have been and will continue to be true to the Constitution and laws of the United States and Virginia, regardless of whether it's easy or hard in any particular case.

Breaking: Virginia Wins Round One In HC Legal Challenge!

Federal District Court Judge Henry Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, ruled within the last few minutes that the individual mandate provision of the new federal health care law is unconstitutional. News leaked out at noon, when Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a tweet that claimed:

HC ruling is in. Va won this round.

He followed that up with an e-mail about 17 minutes later:

Today, a federal judge in Richmond ruled the individual mandate of the federal health care law UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

In other words — we won!

This won't be the final round, as this will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, but today is a critical milestone in the protection of the Constitution.

I am still fully digesting the court's ruling, so I'll get back to you again later with more details, but I wanted you to hear the good news right away.

Thank so many of you for your support to become the Attorney General of Virginia, and your support since then. Today is a day to celebrate those same first principles that our founding fathers articulated over 200 years ago.

We are proud to defend their work and the same first principles today in the 21st century.

Stay tuned — and thank you for your support.

To Judge Hudson's decision. Here are pertinent quotes from his 42 page opinion (see here):

Page 24:

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. ...

Page 37-38:

The absence of a constitutionally viable exercise of this enumerated power is fatal to the accompanying sanction for noncompliance. ...

A thorough survey of pertinent constitutional case law has yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme. The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimal Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers (emphasis added). At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it's about an individual's right to choose to participate.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution confers upon Congress only discrete enumerated governmental powers. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

On careful review, this Court must conclude that section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — specifically the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision — exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.

Judge Hudson, however, did not do two things the Commonwealth asked: He did not place an injunction on the law, stating the individual mandate won't take affect for three more years while acknowledging his decision will be appealed. However, he cited precedent stating that "declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction," and noted the Commonwealth conceded the administration is duty-bound to honor the decision. 

He also did not invalidate the entire law, saying there were more than 400 provisions unrelated to the specific provision challenged. That, however, gives an idea as to how obnoxiously crafted the legislation was.

The White House's Response To Virginia's Round One Health Care Win

Perusing liberal blogs today has been a hoot. The Left Wing is in hysterics (for example, see Blue Virginia). At least it uses a nice picture of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. More composed, of course, but no less disingenuous, is the White House itself. Stephanie Cutter, writing on its blog, posted the following:

Having failed in the legislative arena, opponents of reform are now turning to the courts in an attempt to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government.

The federal government believes this procedural ruling is in error and conflicts with long-standing and well-established legal precedents . . . designed to preserve the "judiciary’s proper role in our system of government" and to ensure that our courts do not become forums for political debates.

Now that this preliminary stage has ended, the government fully expects to prevail on the merits. The Affordable Care Act falls well within Congress’s power to regulate under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the General Welfare Clause.

So little written, so much nonsense. Regarding activist courts, the Left Wing should know better. Much better. But they often prove not understand the U.S. Constitution — or purposefully misguide: The courts were put in place as a safeguard against government encroachment on individual liberty. So, when the government overreaches (especially when new requirements are established), individuals, localities and states have recourse. It is the check against the ruling class which, if not held back, could easily consolidate all power unto itself. By the White House's logic no law can be overturned as long as it is — by definition — passed by Congress and signed by the president. Absurd!

Real judicial activism is legislating from the bench, rather than undoing a law, or something not previously on the books. So the White House has it only half correct, but it is liberals who, over the decades, when failing to get legislation passed into law, have resorted to seeking decrees from courts to invent laws and "rights" nowhere to be found in the constitution. There was no more frank admission of this than the infamous remark by now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor where she said, "The court of appeals is where policy is made." (See YouTube.)

The White House also cities numerous clauses, a debate it assuredly doesn't want to have — at least not before it finishes debating itself. None of the clauses mentioned empower the government to force people to purchases something they may not use. Knowing this, the Justice Department argued at the hearing to dismiss on July 1 that the law comes under the taxing authority of the constitution. But at every turn, including his campaign and during the shambolic legislative process leading up to the health care vote, Barack Obama and Congressional liberals said it was not a tax bill.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama went so far as to oppose an individual mandate, opposition to which is the thrust of Attorney General Cuccinelli's argument (see news release). That the White House and its own DOJ are on separate pages tells us much and perhaps liberal bloggers need rant at them before taking aim on the attorney general. Even bloggers at the White House.

Virginia News Stand: April 15, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Nuts And Bolts, Tax Day, TEA Party Version

After yesterday's very meaty edition of the News Stand, we've compiled a very basic version today — can't always keep that pace up, you know. Plus, there's other stuff to do. (What good conservative blogger wouldn't be getting ready for the TEA Party tonight?) Still, we have a good variety of reading for you today, especially of state news, of which we play a big part (the first three links).

Something else of interest: The Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this week on a property dispute between the (liberal) Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and nine more traditional (or orthodox) parishes that broke away and kept their property when the Episcopals appointed an openly homosexual bishop in New Hampshire a few years ago. The diocese wants the land back. At contention is an 1867 Virginia law meant to referee such disputes. 

Nationally, the polls show liberal leaders falling faster than American prestige around the world, and — lo and behold! — TEA Party members are wealthier and better educated than most and not racist! Golly Gee! (This is only news to mainstream media types, but fun to cite.)

Have fun paying your taxes (those who do) and attend a TEA Party!

News

*McDonnell proposes adding to Va. budget to attract commerce (Washington Post)

*Pro-choice plate avoids McDonnell veto pen (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

*Governor McDonnell Targets Abortion Funding (Video 2:16) (CBS6/WTVR.com)

McDonnell makes no vetoes to legislation (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Going fast more costly (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell amends 122 bills (Roanoke Times)

19 Baptist pastors criticize McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. Episcopal hierarchy fights to keep church property (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Tea Party Supporters Richer, More Educated Than Most, Poll Finds (FOXNews.com)

AP-GfK Poll: Obama slips, other Dems slide, too (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Poll shows resistance to health care bill rising (AP/GOPUSA.com)

National News

Tea Party leaders on alert for infiltrators (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bunning endorses outsider Paul in Kentucky US Senate race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

RNC chairman: GOP wants to help black community (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Fla. governor Crist might run for Senate as independent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Establishment Terrified by Tea Party Movement (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

GOP Should Push Tough Regulation of Wall Street (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

William Ayers' Wyoming Debacle Highlights Leftist Weaknesses (Christopher G. Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

The Individual Mandate: We're All Amish Now (Jon N. Hall/GOPUSA.com)

With Signing Of Health Care Freedom Act, National Health Care Fight Moves To Virginia

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.