Federal judge strikes down Obamacare mandate as unconstitutional 

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson just struck down the individual mandate in Congress' sweeping health care legislation passed earlier this year. The case was brought on behalf of the commonwealth of Virgina by state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The legislation requires all qualified Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. At issue is whether the commerce clause in the constitution gives the federal government authority to force Americans to purchase goods or services. In addition to Cuccinelli's lawsuit, another case is being brought brought by a consortium of 20 state attorney generals, challenging the Obama administration's rather confused position on whether the mandate is or is not a tax. These lawsuits are also notable because the health care legislation does not contain a "severability clause" -- meaning that if part of the legislation is invalidated in the courts, the whole of the legislation might have to be tossed out. 

For more details on the ruling, see the Associated Press' write-up here. And for a more background on why the individual mandate might be unconstitutional, see the Heritage Foundation's Hans Bader discuss the issue here.

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Mark Hemingway

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