Health Care Law Found Unconstitutional by Federal Judge

December 13th, 2010

Today's New York Times reports:

"A federal district judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, becoming the first court in the country to invalidate any part of the sprawling act and insuring that appellate courts will receive contradictory opinions from below." Judge Henry Hudson declined "the plaintiff's request to freeze implementation of the law pending appeal, meaning that there should be no immediate effect on the ongoing rollout of the law."

Judge Hudson sought to sever those portions of the health care law that violated the Constitution rather than striking down the entire statute.  The provision in question would require everyone to have health insurance or pay a fine.

The opinion states: "'Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.  In doing so, enactment (of the mandate to purchase insurance) exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I (of the Constitution)"

To date, two other District Courts, one also in Virginia and another in Michigan, have upheld the law.

Contradicting opinions from different districts paves the way for a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are more suits pending.

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