Virginia AG asks Supreme Court to rule

Virginia’s attorney general on Thursday joined the growing chorus calling for the Supreme Court to immediately decide if the healthcare law is constitutional. 

“Currently, state governments and private businesses are being forced to expend enormous amounts of resources to prepare to implement a law that, in the end, may be declared unconstitutional,” said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who challenged the law in federal court. 

Cuccinelli said the high court should expedite a ruling to settle the confusion surrounding the numerous lawsuits against healthcare reform.

“Regardless of whether you believe the law is constitutional or not, we should all agree that a prompt resolution of this issue is in everyone’s best interest," he said in a statement.

On Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down the entire reform law in a 26-state lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. In December, a federal judge ruled in favor of Cuccinelli’s challenge to the reform law’s requirement for individuals to purchase insurance by 2014, but the judge did not rule the entire law unconstitutional. 

Meanwhile, two federal judges last year upheld the reform law. So far, the court rulings have been split by party lines. The two judges upholding the law were appointed by President Clinton, while the two ruling against the law were Republican appointees. More than a dozen lawsuits were thrown out in court on standing.

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In light of the Florida ruling — which went one step further than the Virginia ruling by declaring the entire law unconstitutional — some states have said they will halt efforts to implement healthcare reform until the Supreme Court weighs in on the law. Florida even returned $1 million in federal funding provided under the reform law.

The confusion prompted Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, to offer a resolution Wednesday calling on the Supreme Court to expedite a ruling on the constitutionality of healthcare reform.

“We ought to do the right thing and ask the high court to rule quickly so we don’t keep arguing over this for the next several years,” Nelson said.

However, the Obama administration so far has seem content to letting the appeals process play out. It appealed the Virginia and Florida decisions to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and 11th Circuit, respectively.