McDonnell eyes ‘finality’ in expedited suit

December 20, 2010

By Joseph Weber, The Washington Times

Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia defended his efforts Sunday to have the state’s trial-court victory in its federal health reform lawsuit bypass an appeals court and go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Asked by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace about whether he just wants to “kill ‘Obamacare’ before it gets rolling,” Mr. McDonnell said he’s really looking for a definitive answer for everybody.

“Let’s create finality for businesses, for citizens and for everybody about is [the law] constitutional or not, so everybody knows how to govern themselves,” Mr. McDonnell said. “That’s the big issue for me.”

Mr. McDonnell has advocated “fast-tracking” the case to the high court since Dec. 13, when a U.S. district court judge in Virginia ruled as unconstitutional a key provision in the law that forces most Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty. The case was filed by state Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican, and heard by a Republican-appointed judge.

The Justice Department wants to send last week’s ruling by Bush-appointed Judge Henry E. Hudson to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

“Virginia’s suit is based on a state statute that is not applicable nationwide,” Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said. “And the department believes this case should follow the ordinary course of allowing the courts of appeals to hear it first so the issues and arguments can be fully developed before the Supreme Court decides whether to consider it.”

The White House said the ruling will not affect President Obama‘s 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, whose major provisions are not set to start until 2014. Two other district court judges, both Democratic appointees, have found the law constitutional. In a fourth case, 20 states are suing in a Florida court to overturn the law.

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