Opinion: What if Obama’s healthcare law required every American to buy a gun? How’d you feel about that?


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Ken Cuccinelli has not been a well-known public figure -- until now.

He’s the attorney general of Virginia, who wasn’t given much chance of succeeding in his lonely legal challenge to President Obama’s beloved healthcare legislation designed to change whatever you believe in on that subject.

But then, oops, Federal District Judge Henry Hudson on Monday agreed with the Virginia AG, declaring a crucial part of the law unconstitutional. Full details here, including the opinion’s complete text.


Cuccinelli’s victory which, of course, the Democratic administration will appeal, is but one of several legal challenges to the measure wending their way through the nation’s arcane legal system. Arguments resume in a similar federal case in Florida on Thursday. Nothing will be finally resolved until the Supreme Court gets it, accepts it, decides it and a lot of lawyers’ financial health benefits.

So in the intervening months, possibly years, we’re left with plenty to argue over as both sides seek to make their case to the jury of public opinion.

Cuccinelli did that Tuesday with an unexpected but convincing argument.The issue that persuaded Judge Hudson was the federal government’s use of the famous commerce clause to extend its authority into every family in every state by requiring every citizen to buy health insurance.

Here’s how the judge put it in a powerful historical footnote: “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause power to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”

Speaking today on CBS’ “Washington Unplugged” with Bob Schieffer, here’s how Cuccinelli put it:

“Never before in our history has the federal government ordered Americans to buy a product under the guise of regulating commerce. Imagine if this bill were that in order to protect our communities and homeland security, every American had to buy a gun. Can you imagine the reaction across the country to that?”


Yes, we can.

Lock and load for a long fight, folks. Check out Cuccinelli’s full answer on the video.

-- Andrew Malcolm

The Obama heathcare law contains a little-known provision requiring every American to click here to for Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We’re also available here on Kindle now. Feel free to share this item with friends and family with the ReTweet buttons below.