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VA Makes Final Argument for Expedited Health Care Review at Supreme Court

Reiterating the argument that the Supreme Court must now decide the merits of the federal health care overhaul because of the "crippling uncertainty faced by the country," Virginia's solicitor general made one final written appeal to the justices Tuesday.

The filing responds to the Obama administration's arguments made to the court last week that the justices should allow the appellate review process proceed as normal and not expedite review. The government also argues that Virginia lacks proper standing to even bring the case into a courtroom.

"The [federal government's] opposition to Virginia's Petition is largely based on a misapprehension of the scope of the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act and on a failure to recognize the significant damage that delaying final resolution of the questions will inflict upon States and others," Duncan Getchell Jr. wrote to court.

Tuesday's response attacks the Obama administration's assertion that Virginia's lawyers, including Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, lack standing to challenge the federal health care law. The state argues that its law prohibiting any entity compelling its citizens to buy health insurance, passed shortly before Congress passed its law, gives Virginia the sovereign right to challenge the federal law as a violation of its own law.

Late last year a federal judge ruled in favor of Virginia and set aside the health care overhaul's individual mandate. The case is currently on appeal to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond with arguments scheduled for May 10. Supreme Court rules allow for a case to bypass lower appellate review only if it can be demonstrated that it is of such "imperative public importance" to justify the deviation from normal practice.

"If this case does not satisfy that standard, it is difficult to see what case ever could," Getchell said.

This should be the last significant filing in the case before the justices decide whether to grant the expedited review. The court's docket doesn't yet show when they will discuss the matter in their closed-door conference, but it's likely to happen in the next few weeks.

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