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Federal Government Moves To Dismiss Virginia Lawsuit

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By Rebecca Sheir

The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit challenging the new health-care overhaul law. Virginia's attorney general has less than two weeks to file a response.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says the federal mandate to purchase health insurance goes against a state law, which exempts residents from having to buy coverage.

However, federal attorneys say the U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to regulate commerce.

"But that presumes the existence of commerce," he says. "They are claiming the ability to order people who want to do nothing, to mandatorily get in to the stream of commerce and buy health insurance, even though they don't want to."

Under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, federal law usually trumps state law. But if a federal law is ruled unconstitutional, while a conflicting state law is ruled constitutional, the state law will prevail.

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