Virginia to take healthcare suit to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:36pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The state of Virginia plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a recent decision in its challenge to the federal healthcare reform law, its attorney general said on Friday.

The announcement comes after President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked the country's highest court to rule on the law he championed in appealing a decision made in a lawsuit filed by 26 states and a major business group.

"Given the importance of the issue, we believe that multiple petitions should be granted to guarantee that the Supreme Court has a case in which it can reach all the key constitutional questions," Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement.

An official printer will submit the appeal to the Supreme Court on Friday, an official in Cuccinelli's office said. The filing will posted to the Internet on Monday.

Within hours of Obama signing the law in 2010, Virginia sued saying the mandate that every citizen buy health insurance or pay a fine was unconstitutional. Virginia has also raised questions as to whether the federal law can trump a state one allowing residents to forego health insurance.

Earlier this month, an appeals court handed Obama a victory by rejecting the state's challenge to the law. Obama's appeal means the Supreme Court will likely hear and make a decision on the law during its upcoming term that begins next week and lasts through June 2012.

It also means the multistate lawsuit -- and not Virginia's -- will hold the acclaim for forcing the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Obama's signature domestic policy.

But Cuccinelli said the Supreme Court needs to address his state's law specifically barring the federal requirement for health insurance. A handful of other states have passed or are considering passing similar legislation.

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