The state of Virginia, seeking to revive its constitutional challenge to a key part of the new federal health care law, asked the Supreme Court on Friday to rule that the state has a right to be in court. This is the fifth of the petitions seeking review of the new law’s mandate that virtually all Americans must have health insurance by the year 2014. Virginia is the only challenger now at the Court to have been denied ”standing” in lower courts. Its petition, with a lengthy appendix, is here
Virginia’s challenge to the insurance mandate, unlike that of others who have appealed, is tied to a state law that declared that no resident of the state could be compelled to obtain a health care policy, as required by the federal law. The legislature passed it in anticipation of Congress’s enactment of the health care law, and, relying upon its statute, Virginia was the first to file a federal court case against the mandate. The Fourth Circuit Court, however, ruled last month that Virginia had no basis for challenging the mandate,; it found that the provision imposed no burden at all on the state.
The Circuit Court said that the mandate is imposed on individuals, not on states. It also found that the Virginia law seeking to head off the mandate actually had no enforcement mechanism, so the law did not clash with the federal mandate. The Circuit Court also ruled that a state has no power as a sovereign to nullify a federal law which acts durectly upon a state”s citizens, who are citizens of the federal system, too.
Link to SCOTUS blog