Day in Court

Health-Care Challenge Approved

Setting up what may become a years-long legal battle, a federal judge in Richmond, Virginia, today refused to block the state’s constitutional challenge to the federal mandate to purchase health insurance included in this year’s health-care overhaul law. The ruling was hardly a huge victory, with the judge, Henry Hudson, simply saying that no appellate court has ever addressed the issue in question, and that legal precedents did not apply to the case. Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, predictably chose more grandiose tones: “This lawsuit is not about health care, it’s about our freedom,” he said today. “The government cannot draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause.” Obama lawyers, backed by many experts, countered that Congress has long had the power to decisions such as these.