Va. health care reform lawsuit: Cuccinelli seeks Supreme Court review

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's attorney general said Thursday he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his challenge of a key portion of the Obama administration's health care reform law, leapfrogging an appeals court review.

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Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (Photo: Associated Press)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said a speedy review by justices would spare states and the private sector "enormous amounts of resources" preparing to implement a law he said could be ruled unconstitutional.

"Regardless of whether you believe the law is constitutional or not, we should all agree that a prompt resolution is in everyone's interest," Cuccinelli said in a statement. The request is being prepared and will be filed "as soon as is practicable," his office said.

In a statement, the Justice Department said the Virginia challenge should first be heard by an appeals court because the Cuccinelli lawsuit is based on a state law.

The department said the provision targeted by Cuccinelli does not go into effect until 2014, so there is sufficient time for the case to work its way up to the Supreme Court.

The law is widely expected to wind up before the Supreme Court at some point after split rulings by federal judges in four separate lawsuits so far.

Cuccinelli's office said the Rule 11 request, which would allow an expedited review, is also based on the more than 20 states that are challenging the law's core requirement that most Americans carry health insurance.

"That, in and of itself, is exceptional and makes the cases excellent candidates for immediate review in the Supreme Court," Cuccinelli said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell called the action by his fellow Republican "proper and necessary."

"States, businesses and individuals are already incurring expenses of time and money as they seek to understand and prepare for the implementation of this unprecedented law in 2014," McDonnell said in a statement.

The Supreme Court's speedier involvement would offer "clarity and finality on such an important national issue," he said.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond is scheduled to hear the government's appeal of the Virginia case in May.

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