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Virginia Suit Against Health Reform Law Moves Forward

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By Kavitha Cardoza

The Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, says he's "very happy" with a federal district court ruling allowing the state's lawsuit challenging the new federal health care law to move forward.

Cuccinelli's argues that it's unconstitutional for Congress to require every person to buy health insurance or face a penalty.

The federal government can regulate "interstate commerce"... but the Attorney General says it can't regulate a person's decision not to participate -- in this case, a person's decision not to buy insurance.

Cuccinelli says the federal government has exceeded its powers.

"This case is not so much about healthcare as it is about liberty," he says.

The Obama administration asked for the challenge to be dismissed -- arguing health care is unique -- where every person will need medical services at some point.

But Judge Henry Hudson is allowing the case to move forward, saying the health care law raises what he calls "a host of complex constitutional issues."

Virginia's General Assembly this year passed legislation exempting state residents from being required to buy health insurance.

The judge says the Cuccinelli has a right to defend that state law.

Professor Corrine Parver teaches at the Washington College of Law.

She says the judge's decision will make the government have to work a little harder to prove it's case -- but...

"I really would have been very surprised if the case was thrown out and dismissed from the get go," she says. "I don't think it's a major setback at all."

Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, says she's confident the government's case is "solid" and constitutional.

A hearing is set for October.

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