UPDATE: Cuccinelli Sues over Federal Health Care Legislation

BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCHThe challenge by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was filed immediately after President Barack Obama signed the health care legislation. WIRE AND STAFF REPORTS Published: March 23, 2010 Updated: March 23, 2010 Source: Courtesy of Richmond Times Dispatch

Virginia’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s health care overhaul law.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed the suit today in U.S. District Court immediately after President Barack Obama signed the landmark measure into law. Cuccinelli, a Republican, and other conservatives claim the law represents an unconstitutional overreach of federal authority.

“Congress lacks the political will to fund comprehensive health care in this way because taxes above those already provided in (the legislation) would produce too much opposition,“ his suit states. “The alternative, which was also a centerpiece of the failed Clinton administration health care proposal, is to fund universal health care in part by making healthy young adults and other rationally uninsured individuals cross-subsidize older and less healthy citizens.“ ...


Va. House Passes Bill to Defy Health Care Mandate

By: William C. FlookExaminer Staff Writer Source: Courtesy of The Washington Examiner February 12, 2010

Virginia's House of Delegates on Thursday voted to defy a potential health insurance mandate from Congress. The vote, which follows the passage of a similar measure in the Virginia Senate last week, puts the state legislature squarely in opposition to a core provision of congressional Democrats' health care bill.

The Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, sponsored by Del. Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, passed 72-26 in the Republican-controlled chamber.

The legislation looks to exempt Virginians from any government requirement to buy into a health plan, although its larger purpose is as a "message bill" meant to persuade federal legislators — especially those representing Virginia — to back off from the proposed overhaul.

"It's pretty clear that government-run health care is unwelcome in Virginia," said Victoria Cobb, president of the conservative Family Foundation. "Hopefully our federal representatives will get the message and pull the plug on Obamacare."


Despite Health Bill Uncertainty, Va. Protest Bills March On

By: WILLIAM C. FLOOKExaminer Staff Writer Source: Courtesy of The Washington Examiner February 1, 2010

The precarious position of national health care legislation hasn't stopped lawmakers in Virginia from moving ahead with bills that seek to defy a federal health insurance mandate.

The proposals -- which have advanced in committee or subcommittee in both the Virginia House and Senate -- look to exempt Virginia from Congress' health care initiatives. While the measures may end up being more symbolic than substantive, they have gained wide notice as Republican lawmakers seek to harness unrest over an expanded federal role in medical care.

Del. Bob Marshall's Health Care Freedom Act has become this session's most viewed bill on the state's legislative Web site -- with more looks than even the two-year budget proposal.

Similar legislation in the Democratic-led Senate has narrowly emerged from committee, with the cross-over support of two Democratic senators.

The victory of Republican Scott Brown this month in a special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat deprives Democrats of a needed 60th vote to stop a GOP filibuster, casting in grave doubt any efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system.

And even if the national health bill passed Congress, a state legislature wouldn't have the authority under modern Supreme Court doctrine to defy it, said Ilya Somin, associate law professor at George Mason University School of Law.

"They can pass legislation if they want to, but the legislation in and of itself wouldn't do anything for them unless they were able to have the federal legislation invalidated in court," Somin said.

Nevertheless, Virginia lawmakers are likely to hotly debate the legislation in the coming days. Several freshman Republicans won election partly on the promise to oppose Democratic initiatives on health care, the environment and economic stimulus, as did recently inaugurated Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Most controversial is the idea of an individual mandate -- a provision that would fine Americans who don't purchase health care. Marshall, R-Manassas, calls the mandate unconstitutional.

"If members of Congress are shoving something out that violates the provisions of the Constitution ... we have an obligation to stand up to it, not just to roll over and play dead," he said.


Maryland, Virginia Mull Anonymous Juries

Written by Kristi Jourdan Source: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Stephen Cardosi, the foreman in the Scott Peterson murder trial, has some advice for states considering anonymous jurors in all crimes. So does fellow juror Mike Belmessieri, and they don't agree.

Hounded by reporters who wrote down his license-plate number and called him at 3 a.m., Mr. Cardosi says no one has the right to his or any other juror's identity.

"The public still has a First Amendment right to know about the person who committed the crime, but you don't have the right to know my private information," Mr. Cardosi, a 34-year-old paramedic and firefighter, said.

"That would be like me walking up to a girl and saying, 'Hey, I have a right to know your phone number.'"

Mr. Belmessieri faced much of the same scrutiny in the high-profile California murder trial in which Peterson was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and unborn child. Yet he strongly disagrees. He says the stakes are too high and jurors need to take responsibility for their decisions, including who they are.

"If I'm going to send someone to the death house, I'd better be able to stand tall and look someone square in the eyes and say, 'I did it,'" said Mr. Belmessieri, a 60-year-old retired police officer and Vietnam-era Marine.