Speaking to a crowd of tea party activists at the 9/12 rally on the Washington Mall, Ken Cuccinelli made a bold claim, comparing Obama’s administration to the tyranny inflicted on the United States under British colonial rule.
“King George III and the parliament of Great Britain that we rebelled against respected the liberty of the colonists of America more than the Congress and the president of the United States of America,” he said. Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, filed suit against health care reform on the day Barack Obama signed the bill into law. One of the key points of contention is a mandate that requires those without insurance to buy it in the coming years or face a financial penalty. Virginia residents, however, are exempted from that provision, thanks to a law passed by the state legislature.
Cuccinelli compared this mandate to the American colonists’ famous tea boycott, saying that the federal government has overstepped its bounds in requiring citizens to buy insurance. “If the federal government can order you to buy health insurance, they can order you to buy anything,” he said.
Speaking of tyranny, though, let’s do a quick rundown of the actions that have placed Cuccinelli in the spotlight, again and again, throughout this year. Most recently, after trying and repeatedly failing to get laws passed in the Virginia assembly which would require abortion clinics to conform to hospital-type standards (thus closing most of the clinics, which would have to undergo costly renovations and in some cases move to a different location), he bypassed this cumbersome arm of our government and issued a legal opinion placing the decision in the lap of the Virginia Board of Health.
A Circuit Court judge recently put a stop to Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against former UVA climate scientists Michael Mann, who Cuccinelli claimed had defrauded taxpayers in seeking grants for global warming research. Mann’s work, which is highly controversial, has repeatedly been targeted by global warming skeptics like Cuccinelli. UVA refused to release the information, and it looks as though Cuccinelli’s assault on academic freedom, thankfully, will go no further.
Both of these actions sought to suppress two crucial kinds of freedom, intellectual and reproductive. It seems odd that, as Dahlia Lithwick pointed out last month, Cuccinelli’s legal opinions seem always to match perfectly with his legal opinions, but for such a stronger defender of freedom, he seems to be blissfully unaware of what the concept actually means.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.