Federal Judge allows health care lawsuit to move forward

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit against the Federal Government challenging health care reform moves on.

Judge Henry Hudson rejected an effort by the U.S. Justice Department to dismiss the case.

It is an early win in what is expected to be a long battle for Virginia's Attorney General.

The case moves forward, but the Justice Department believes it is just a matter of time before the law is declared constitutional.

It may have only been a question of procedure, does the case have enough merit to move forward? But Cuccinelli saw a lot in Judge Hudson's opinion that leads him to believe this case is moving in his direction.

"I'd rather go to round two, having won round one, than the other way around," said the Republican.

But a spokesperson from the Justice Department said this opinion has little to do with the ultimate outcome.

"Today's ruling is merely a procedural decision by the court to allow this case to move forward," wrote Tracy Schmaler in a prepared statement. "We are confident that the health care reform statute is constitutional and that we will ultimately prevail."

And that next step comes in the form of an oral argument set for October 18th. A decision on that could come before thanksgiving. But no one, including the Judge issuing this first opinion expect that to be the end.  A point the Attorney General shared with reporters.

"While this courts decision may set the initial judicial course of this case, it will certainly not be the final word," said Cuccinelli reading from Judge Hudson's opinion.

And it could be quite awhile before the merits of this case are finally hammered out. The Attorney General predicted today that it be another 1 or 2 years before a final decision, will be made. That decision will probably be from the U.S. Supreme Court.

For extended coverage on the Health Care Reform lawsuit, including extended clips from Attorney General Cuccinelli's press event see our political blog: DecisionVirginia.com

*Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will appear live on NBC12 First at 4 on Tuesday.

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