INTERVIEW: Cuccinelli on the Health Care Reform Act

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Monday marked a critical stage in the legal battle over the Federal Health Care Reform Act.

A federal judge rejected the Justice Department's request that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's lawsuit be dismissed.

Cuccinelli joined NBC12 to discuss what this means going forward.

RYAN: Thank you for being here.

CUCCINELLI: Glad to be here. Thank you, Ryan.

RYAN: First, I want to address this cloud that Democrats are attempting to hang over the head of the judge. In fact, a liberal group today, America United for Changes asked that he recuse himself from any future dealings in this case. Is there any connection between you and Judge Hudson that goes beyond what's talked about in the courtroom?

CUCCINELLI: No. We didn't know about that. It's not a political consulting firm, or maybe they do that. All we did was hire website space, and we're canceling that, and all that firm was doing for us right now was processing our online donations. It's almost nothing. So it's pretty ridiculous. I've been in front of Judge Hudson for over 10 years as a state court judge and federal court judge, and I've had the rulings go for me and against me. Yesterday it went our way, went Virginia's way. There is no indication that that's ever had any effect. If you know Judge Hudson's history, there's no way he'd let that affect him, and I doubt he even knew either.

RYAN: This is a pretty big narrative that Democrats are trying to push. Do you think it could have any impact in the way the case moves forward?

CUCCINELLI: No, I don't. It's irrelevant. When you compare what other judges might have, they all have the same investments anybody else might. You just can't screen for everything. It's interesting that this came up, but it's nothing more than irrelevancy. They're losing right now, so they need to change the tune. They're not saying the case is frivolous anymore. They can't, because a federal court has a very well reasoned basis laid out why the federal complaints about our lawsuit were not meritorious.

RYAN: Let's talk about that in a minute. Democrats say this was just a procedural discussion to move the case forward. Republicans, like yourself, calling it a landmark decision that could have wide ranging implications. From your perspective and what the judge says, what type of indication are you getting and the course this could take from here forward?

CUCCINELLI: There is only one piece that he ruled on yesterday that really will show up again in summary judgment, and it was the claim by the federal government that Virginia didn't even state of claim that we could get a remedy for, which means that if everything we said in our complaint was true, we still lose. Well, the judge said, no, that's not the case, and he was very specific in this area. He said that if this bill is held constitutional and he didn't judge that yet, it will be the most far-reaching commerce clause finding by the Supreme Court or tax finding, which means that it's beyond the outer reaches of Supreme Court jurisprudence on both commerce clause and the taxing power. So we are out in never, never land constitutionally. The judge acknowledged that, so we'll come back October 18. October 18th is the oral argument, and at that point, he'll be confronted with the question, okay, we're out past the commerce clause at least as it's been applied in the past, and we're out past the taxing power. Are we so far out that it's unconstitutional, which is Virginia's position. The federal presumably will retain that position and say it's all within the constitution.

RYAN: Attorney General, thank you for being here.

CUCCINELLI: My pleasure. Thank you, Ryan.

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