Published by POLITICO
States that oppose the health reform law might consider civil disobedience if the Supreme Court upholds it, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told POLITICO on Monday.
That doesn’t mean state officials would stage sit-ins in the offices of a federal fallback exchange — but they could obstruct implementation by not lifting a finger to implement the law.
In a brief interview at the Republican Attorneys General Association meeting, Cuccinelli said it would be “contrary to the law” not to implement it. But he pointed out that it might not be easy for the federal government to force states to comply if they continued to resist.
“It’s not like there’s criminal penalties out there — it becomes a power struggle,” he said.
Cuccinelli noted that it would not be the first time that states have tried to obstruct federal laws, pointing out that states resisted complying with the Alien and Sedition Acts and fugitive slave laws.
“There have been periods of time when states have just thrown their hands up and said, ‘We’re not going to do this,’” he said. “It’s still possible, but it’s outside the expected legal structure.”
But Cuccinelli punted when pressed as to whether he’d recommend that Virginia refuse to comply as attorney general — or if he is elected governor.
“Even if I become governor, that’s two years away,” he said. “The next general assembly … will have to contend with the results either way [the Supreme Court rules], win or lose.”