Obama’s Claiming More Power Over Americans Than King George III, Says Virginia Attorney General

November 12, 2010 - 1:44 PM

Ken Cuccinelli

Then-state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli addressing the Virginia State Republican Convention in May 2009, where he was nominated for state attorney general. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(CNSNews.com) - Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli, who has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama last March, says Obama and the Congress that enacted that law--which mandates that individuals must buy government-approved health insurance plans--are seeking a power over the lives of Americans that even King George III did not claim to possess.

“We now have a Congress and a president who believe they can order you to buy a product when King George III and the Parliament of Great Britain, whom we rebelled against, acknowledged that they could not,” Cuccinelli said in a video interview with CNSNews.com.

In October, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson heard arguments on the merits of Virginia's case against Obamacare.

Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department, representing the Obama administration, argued that the federal government derives the power to force individual Americans to buy health insurance from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which authorizes Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states and with Indian tribes. Virginia Solicitor General Duncan Getchell Jr., representing Cuccinelli and the state of Virginia, argued that an individual who does not buy health insurance is not engaging in commerce and that the U.S. government has never before attempted to force individual Americans to buy any good or service.

Judge Hudson said he would issue a decision on the merits of the case by the end of this year. Cuccinelli told CNSNews.com that whichever way the judge rules, one side or the other will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will need to decide whether in fact the Constitution does give the federal government a power it has never exercised before: the power to order individuals to buy things.

Virginia has enacted its own state law--directly countering President Obama’s health-care law--that specifically states that Virginians cannot be forced to buy health insurance.

In his interview with CNSNews.com, Cuccinelli pointed out that the First Continental Congress, convened by the American colonies in 1774, called for a boycott of British goods. When King George III and the British Parliament had the question legally analyzed by the British solicitor general, said Cuccinelli, they discovered that the colonists were within their legal rights to freely decide not to purchase a product—even if the king and Parliament would prefer that they did purchase it.

“When you have a case that’s unprecedented like this,” Cuccinelli said, referring to Virginia’s suit against Obamacare, “you literally span the length and breadth of American history in discussing the meaning of the particular power at issue. And if you go back before 1776, just two years, to 1774, go to the First Continental Congress, delegates from all 13 colonies showed up, signed a document where they ‘cheerfully acknowledged’--their phrase—‘cheerfully acknowledged' the right of the Parliament and the king to regulate their commerce and, in the same document, they boycotted British goods.”

“Go across the Atlantic and King George III and the Parliament aren’t happy about this because their merchants are taking a beating on it, just taking a beating,” said Cuccinelli. “So, of course, they call their lawyer, what everybody does--then, as now, the solicitor general--and they had a conversation and determined that, in fact, the colonists were within their legal rights and that they couldn’t compel them to buy British goods.

“Now, go forward 236 years and you see where I’m going,” said Cuccinelli. “We now have a Congress and a president who believe they can order you to buy a product when King George III and the Parliament of Great Britain, whom we rebelled against, acknowledged that they could not.”

Cuccinelli concluded that it is not possible to believe the Founding Fathers of this country invested the new federal government they created after the American Revolution with a power they had rightfully refused to grant to the British Parliament and king before the revolution. 

“Now, Americans endlessly debate the meaning of each part of the Constitution,” said Cuccinelli. “But one thing that every American should be able to agree on, if you think in terms of Venn Diagrams--I was an engineer before I was a lawyer, so I do things like this--the circle of power that represents federal power under the Constitution must be entirely within the circle of power exercised by King George III and the Parliament of Great Britain. Otherwise, why rebel? And, yet, here we have a Congress and a president who are exercising power that even Parliament and King George III acknowledged they did not have.”

Cuccinelli said he believes it will take about two years for Virginia’s suit against Obamacare to reach the Supreme Court. In the meantime, however, U.S. District Judge Hudson could strike the law down as unconstitutional in Virginia as soon as next month.

In a separate case, Florida is representing a group of 20 states that also have sued the federal government claiming Obamacare is unconstitutional.