December 13th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional

Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN) - A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional, setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge's findings in a federal appeals court.

Hudson's opinion contradicts other court rulings finding the mandate constitutionally permissible.

"An individual's personal decision to purchase - or decline purchase - (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution," Hudson wrote. "No specifically constitutional authority exists to mandate the purchase of health insurance."

"Despite the laudable intentions of Congress in enacting a comprehensive and transformative health care regime, the legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds," Hudson added. "Salutatory goals and creative drafting have never been sufficient to offset an absence of enumerated powers."

A federal judge in Virginia ruled in favor of the administration earlier this month over the purchase requirement issue, mirroring conclusions reached by a judge in Michigan back in October.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Good- Now if they will rule Required Auto insurance & Income taxes unconstitutional as well, we might get some where 🙂

    December 14, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  2. Riley

    The difference between auto insurance and health insurance is that the care insurance is to protect other people who could be hurt by your driving, for a car is a very dangerous vehicle when operated recklessly, or if someone makes a small mistake, it could have deadly consequences. If an individual doesn't want to buy car insurance, they don't buy a car, they can walk, ride a bike, or use some form of public transportation. Health insurance only represents a danger to the individual, and if that person believes other fees take precedence over a medical condition that may or may not occur in the future, that is his right.

    December 14, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  3. William of Iowa

    Hudson is a Republican plant who colluded with Virginia's Attorney General to block healthcare reform. They both have a vested interest in doing so. Amazing how far some will go to get what they want. Oh well, campaigns rule, good governance just a pipe dream – or vehicle for consulting fees.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    If it is unconstitutional to require a person to purchase health insurance does this also mean that the law in most states to require the public to purchase car liability insurance is also unconstitutional? If not, then I wonder what the difference is? To me, they both appear to be the same principle and if one is unconstitutional than the other should be as well.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm |