Virginia

BREAKING: Federal judge rules against ObamaCare

As expected, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson has ruled that ObamaCare is an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause, which the Obama Administration was arguing gave them the power to enforce the individual mandate, in what is the clearest legal rebuke of the new health care reform law:

A federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that a key provision of the nation’s sweeping health-care overhaul is unconstitutional, the most significant legal setback so far for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson found that Congress could not order individuals to buy health insurance.

In a 42-page opinion, Hudson said the provision of the law that requires most individuals to get insurance or pay a fine by 2014 is an unprecedented expansion of federal power that cannot be supported by Congress’s power to regulate interstate trade.

“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market,” he wrote. “In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]

We’ll have more reaction to the decision posted later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can read his opinion below:

Virginia Turns Just A Little More Red

Continuing a trend that began with the GOP wins last year at the statewide level, Tuesday was a very good night for Republicans in the Old Dominion:

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) was holding on to a thin lead in the race to keep his seat Tuesday night, even as a Republican wave swept three fellow Democratic members of Congress from Virginia out of office.

In a rematch of their 2008 race, Connolly led Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R) by less than 500 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting in the 11th Congressional District, which includes most of Fairfax County and a portion of Prince William County. Connolly won by 12 percentage points two years ago and was leading Tuesday by less than 1 percent.

Connolly, a veteran politician who once headed the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, spoke to supporters late Tuesday and made what appeared to be an acceptance speech.

“I hope you will find me worthy… and accept my deep gratitude to continue to be able to serve this public for another two years,” he said.

But Fimian did not concede. His campaign released a statement early Wednesday saying, “In an election this close, it is important to take the time to get the result right by seeing the counting and canvassing process through.”

Fairfax elections officials said they had counted all of the votes – including absentee ballots – except for those in two precincts, where a small number of machines malfunctioned. Those votes will be counted Wednesday morning, Registrar Edgardo Cortes said.

Connolly won each of those precincts two years ago by 20 percentage points.

Pence believes SCOTUS will find ObamaCare unconstitutional

Despite a recent federal court ruling out of Michigan upholding ObamaCare, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) believes that the Supreme Court will eventually find the individual mandate to be unconstitutional:

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the third-ranking House Republican, who serves as conference chairman, said he saw enough votes on the high court to strike a blow to President Obama’s signature domestic initiative.

“It’s going to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court’s going to decide whether or not the Constitution of the United States permits the government to order the American people to purchase goods or services, whether they want them or need them or not,” Pence said Friday on WLS radio in Indiana.

The Indiana lawmaker, and potential 2012 presidential candidate, has been among the crowd of Republicans to question whether a central part of Democrats’ healthcare reform bill is constitutional. The crux of their argument is that the individual mandate — the section of the law requiring individuals to have health insurance of some sort — violates the Constitution.

A similar lawsuit pushed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has cleared its first hurdle, a motion to dismiss the case by the Obama Administration. Another suit in Florida has had mixed results.

The Hill polls battleground House seats

New polling in 12 battleground House districts shows Republicans leading in all but one, though some races are within the margin of error:

In several of these districts, Obama was likely the difference-maker in 2008, helping then-Democratic challengers such as Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio) and Tom Perriello (Va.) edge their GOP opponents.

Kilroy and Perriello won the two tightest congressional races in the country in 2008, Kilroy by fewer than 3,000 votes and Perriello by fewer than 1,000.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) beat Obama in half of th 12 polled districts, sometimes by a fairly wide margin. In Maryland’s 1st district, for example, where Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) trails Andy Harris by three percentage points, McCain routed Obama two years ago, winning by 19 points.

Kratovil’s ability to hang in the race despite the political winds and makeup of his district is attributable to his strong support among independents.

Kratovil is one of just two Democrats in the 12 districts who leads among independents — 38 percent to 35 over Harris.

In New Mexico’s 2nd District, Rep. Harry Teague (D) holds a two-point edge among independents over Republican Steve Pearce.

Teague, Kratovil and Rep. Glenn Nye (Va.) are the only Democrats of the 12 who voted no on healthcare reform. Nye is losing his race by 6 points.

As we’ve often seen this cycle, independent voters are breaking for Republicans, prefering divided government by a 53% to 30% margin, in what they are viewing as a referendum on the first two years of his presidency.

Republicans Leading In Three Virginia House Races

Three separate polls show Republicans leading in House races for seats currently held by Democrats:

There’s a new batch of polls in Virginia’s four most interesting House races.

“On Monday, September 27, ccAdvertising completed surveys to voters in four key Congressional districts in Virginia. These surveys focused on the competitive Congressional races as well as current national issues. The surveys were conducted to both landline phones and mobile phones.”

In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Scott Rigell has a commanding lead over Democrat Glenn Nye in the race for Congress of over 14 percent. When asked whom voters will choose on Election Day, 48.6 percent are supporting Rigell, while 34.5 percent are supporting Nye and 16.9 percent are undecided.

In the 5th District, Republican Robert Hurt would defeat incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello by approximately 16 percent. A 51.1 percent majority of respondents support Hurt while 34.7 percent support Democrat Tom Perriello and 14.1 percent are undecided.

(…)

In Virginia’s 11th District, Republican Keith Fimian has a five and one half percent lead over Democrat Gerry Connolly. When asked whom voters support, 42.2 percent favor Fimian, 36.7 percent support Connolly and 21.1 percent are undecided.

Meanwhile, the poll also surveyed voters in the 9th District and found incumbent Democrat Rick Boucher with only a three point lead.

There are high numbers of undecided voters in all three polls so it’s unclear that this means a lot right now. However, it’s clear that the GOP has a good chance of huge gains in Virginia on Election Night.

GOP to unveil “Contract with America” on Thursday

We noted yesterday that Republicans were developing a new “Contract with America” to present to voters ahead of the mid-term election, though it looks at though they will punt on taking a strong stand against earmarks.

House Republicans are set to unveil their agenda this Thursday, September 23rd, in Sterling, Virginia:

House Republicans plan to unveil what amounts to a campaign blueprint on Thursday in suburban Virginia, GOP sources have told CNN.

The much anticipated announcement comes after a nearly three-month-long listening session with the public online and through town hall meetings, dubbed “America Speaking Out,” and is intended to show that House Republicans would have a governing agenda if rewarded with majority control in the congressional elections on November 2.

Many GOP strategists call such an agenda - like the 1994 Contract with America - a critical missing ingredient for Republicans this election season to help give voters a reason to vote for GOP lawmakers, not just against Democrats.

Republican leaders plan to brief rank-and-file House members Wednesday on the details of the plan, which is still being refined, according to the GOP sources.

Unlike the Contract with America in 1994, which was presented with a big signing ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, House Republican leaders will lay out the details of the new plan during a news conference at a hardware story in Sterling, Virginia, following a meeting with small-business leaders, sources said.

A senior GOP leadership aide working on the project told CNN that it will focus mostly on economic priorities like creating jobs and reducing spending.

Repeal of 1099 provision fails again

For those of you that don’t remember or don’t know, the health care reform contains an onerous provision that requires businesses to file 1099 forms for expenditures totaling over $600 in a year. The provision is opposed by the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Obama Administration and several members of Congress in tough re-election bids support removing nixing this job killer.

Congress had a second chance to repeal the provision that is part of ObamaCare, and for the second time, they failed. When it first came up in the House, Democrats decided to play games by putting repeal of the requirement in a bill containing tax hikes. Yesterday in the Senate, Democrats did the exact same thing, this time putting the provision in an amendment with a tax hike on oil companies, which would hurt states like Louisiana that depend on that industry for jobs, in the president’s latest gimmick to “create jobs.” You can see how your Senators voted here.

Photo of the Day: An Original Tea Party Patriot

On Labor Day, my family and I spent the morning placing a headstone at the grave of my great great grandparents in Villa Rica, Georgia. While we were there, I took some pictures of the cemetery.

Below is a picture of the headstone of my great (x6) grandfather, Pvt. Joseph Carnes, who fought in the Virginia Militia during our fight for independence against England.

Joseph Carnes

Judge Napolitano reacts to first ObamaCare legal victory

Judge Andrew Napolitano, host of Freedom Watch and a legal commentator for Fox News, weighed in on the news of Judge Henry Hudson’s rejecting the Obama Administration’s motion to dismiss a challege on the constitutionality of ObamaCare brought forward by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli:

Reactions to ObamaCare lawsuit clearing first legal hurdle

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson denied the Obama Administration’s motion to dismiss a challenge to the constitutionality of the health care reform brought forward by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Hudson’s opinion on the motion, which can be read here, gave us insight as to how courts may view the expansive view, even more so in previous cases, of the Commerce Clause:

Never before has the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause been extended this far. At this juncture, the court is not persuaded that the Secretary has demonstrated a failure to state a cause of action with respect to the Commerce Clause element.

Hudson also wrote of the individual mandate:

While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate –and tax– a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce. Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed this issue. No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce. Give the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side’s position, this Court cannot conclude at this time stage that the Complaint fails to state a cause of action.


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