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Judge Hears Oral Arguments In Va.'s Health Care Lawsuit

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The state of Virginia should get a ruling by the end of the year on its challenge to the federal health care law.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson listened to oral arguments in the case on Monday and says he will take the next few months to decide whether the law's individual health insurance mandate and the penalty for not buying insurance are constitutional.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says his challenge to the law is about much more than health insurance.

"If Virginia loses this fight, and the federal government is allowed to cross this line, Congress will be granted virtually an unlimited power to order you to buy anything," Cuccinelli says.

George Washington University law professor Peter Smith says this isn't the first time the country has struggled with what the federal government can force states to do: Opponents of school desegregation also argued federal lawmakers were overstepping their bounds.

"But even today it's considered politically toxic to suggest that Congress lacked power to pass the Civil Rights Act," Smith says.

Smith wouldn't predict which way Hudson will rule. Cuccinelli says he expects the case to go all the way to the Supreme Court.


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