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White House Slams Judge's Decision in Health Reform Lawsuit

The White House today hit back against a district judge's decision to let a lawsuit against President Obama's health care reforms move forward, arguing that the decision was wrong but nevertheless had minimal significance.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson today denied the federal government's request to dismiss a lawsuit against the health care reform bill filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the president for special projects, pointed out on the White House blog that the judge's decision does not rule on the merits of Cuccinelli's claim that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional -- it merely means the court has jurisdiction to hear further arguments.

"The federal government believes this procedural ruling is in error and conflicts with long-standing and well-established legal precedents," Cutter wrote, "the types of precedents that, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, are designed to preserve the 'judiciary's proper role in our system of government' and to ensure that our courts do not become forums for political debates."

Now that the lawsuit must go forward, however, Cutter wrote that "the government fully expects to prevail on the merits" of its case.

Cuccinelli is suing on the grounds that Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause by requiring citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. Cutter contends the law falls well within Congress's power to regulate under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause and the General Welfare Clause.

The law was created "precisely because of the interconnectedness of our health care costs," Cutter wrote. Furthermore, she said, "Many reforms provided by the law - such as the requirement that insurers cover individuals with pre-existing conditions - can only be effective if everyone is part of the system, which is why the minimum coverage, or shared responsibility, requirement is part of the law."

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care

Cutter said the lawsuit is "an attempt to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government" -- which is "nothing new."

"We saw this with the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act - constitutional challenges were brought to all three of these monumental pieces of legislation, and all of those challenges failed," Cutter wrote. "So too will the challenge to health reform."

Meanwhile, CBS News has learned that Judge Hudson has reported receiving income from stock in a Republican online communications firm, Campaign Solutions, Inc., of which Cuccinelli is a client.