Federal Judge Rules Individual Mandate of Obamacare Unconstitutional

This isn’t a surprise–it was inevitable that one judge would find the Obamacare law to be unconstitutional. But today Federal Judge Henry Hudson became the judge to do just that.

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.

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions.

The judge wrote that his survey of case law “yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, not withstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme.”Supreme Court challenges to Obamacare are likely from several different angles. Now that there are contradictory opinions from lower level federal courts, a path to higher level courts is pretty clear.

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