Saturday, January 29, 2011

Does Virginia's challenge to the individual mandate lack subject matter jurisdiction?


Kevin Walsh at the University of Richmond argues that because of previous Supreme Court precedents, subject matter jurisdiction doesn't exist and that the case, Virginia v. Sebelius, should therefore be dismissed.

Virginia's source of standing in the constitutional attack on the individual mandate is a recently-passed state statute that seeks to shield Virginia's citizens from the gulag-like horror that is the individual mandate; Virginia argues that the individual mandate is unconstitutional if it preempts Virginia's new law. Virginia claims this gives it the necessary hook to challenge the individual mandate in federal court even though the law doesn't require it to purchase health insurance.

Walsh argues that the law of federal courts puts limits on declaratory judgment actions like Virginia's in order to "insulate federal courts from the strong political forces surrounding lawsuits that seek federal court validation of state nullification statutes." Is he right? Read it and decide for yourselves. Federal courts buffs, this one's for you.

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