Hearing on health reform law's constitutionality begins in Virginia

The health insurance mandate is protected by the Commerce Clause that gives the U.S. government authority over commerce between states, Justice Department attorney Ian Gershengorn argued on Thursday at the first hearing of a lawsuit filed by Virginia against the health reform legislation. Moreover, allowing state laws to pre-empt federal laws would mean giving states the power to refuse participation in other government programs such as the military draft or U.S. Census, Gershengorn said.

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