|In the General Assembly session just finished, the legislators passed a bill stating that Virginia would not accept any mandate concerning the purchase of insurance. Gov. McDonnell, who must be as constitutionally challenged as his fellow rightie Cuccinelli, said the federal law may not override Virginia's prohibition against an insurance mandate.
"If it's not permissible under the United States Constitution's commerce clause to mandate that upon the states, it doesn't matter what kind of federal preemption language you put in there, it's still not going to be upheld," said McDonnell.
Let's see...Here is a little something from the U.S. Constitution:
Article VI, Clause 2: This clause establishes the constitution itself, federal statutes, and U.S. treaties as "the supreme law of the land." These are the highest forms of law in the American legal system. Thus, the Constitution mandates that judges uphold them, even if state laws or constitutions conflict with them.
Now, McDonnell and "Kookinelli," along with their fellow travelers in Texas and a couple of other states, contend that the constitution's "commerce clause," giving Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce doesn't extend to a mandate to have health insurance coverage. They are forgetting another part of the constitution, the Preamble:
"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
I can think of nothing that promotes the "general welfare" more than near universal access to health care.
State Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) called Cuccinelli's planned lawsuit frivolous and politically motivated. "I would be amazed if a court actually took up the issue...I think he's wasting taxpayer dollars by filing suit."
According to the Roanoke Times, Timothy Jost, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, dismissed the planned lawsuit as "political grandstanding." Jost said Virginia lacks standing to challenge the federal law. He said any challenge to the individual mandate provision is premature because the requirement won't take effect for four years. Jost added that Cuccinelli would have to show that Virginia is somehow injured by the federal health care bill.
Since the requirement to purchase insurance hasn't taken effect yet, there could be no damage to Virginia or to its citizens at present. Thus, this is certainly political "grandstanding" by the attorney general and the governor. It's an orchestrated attempt to play to their party's "Tea Pot" radical fringe.
This action by two of the top Republicans in the state simply punctuates the point made recently by David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and a conservative Republican:
"For the most part...opponents of reform didn't even pretend to engage with the reality either of the existing health care system or of the moderate, centrist plan - very close in outline to the reform Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts - that Democrats were proposing. Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency."
Frum went on to call the refusal to join in meaningful debate on this most important issue, the "Waterloo" for his GOP.
Definition of the "Tea Pot Party": A group of angry vessels spouting off steam to no effect, while being heated up by bigotry, fear, racism, zenophobia, and willful ignorance.