Monday, January 31, 2011
A federal judge on Monday ruled that the entire health care overhaul is unconstitutional, the most striking blow yet to President Obama’s signature domestic legislation.
But Judge Roger Vinson stopped short of ordering the federal government to stop enacting the law.
Vinson ruled that the law’s requirement that nearly all Americans purchase health insurance coverage is not within the legal bounds of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause.
Because the provision is instrumental to the rest of the law, he declared the entire law unconstitutional. The law also doesn’t have a severability clause, a common legal phrase that prevents courts from striking down a whole law because one piece has been found to be illegal.
“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void,” he wrote in his 78-page ruling. “This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”
Since there are several cases working their way through the legal system, with two rulings in favor of the bill and two finding it unconstitutional so far, it seems unlikely this will be resolved until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the bill.