Federal Judge Declares Health Care Reform Unconstitutional

Rules in favor of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 13, 2010 11:30 AM CST
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli holds a clean sweep broom during a rally in Richmond, Va, in this Nov. 2, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge declared the Obama administration's health care law unconstitutional today, siding with Virginia's attorney general in a dispute that both sides agree will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. US District Judge Henry E. Hudson is the first federal judge to strike down the law, which has been upheld by two others in Virginia and Michigan. Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli filed the lawsuit challenging the law's requirement that citizens buy health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.

Cuccinelli argued that the federal government doesn't have the constitutional authority to impose the requirement. Hudson, a Republican who was appointed by President George W. Bush, sounded sympathetic to the state's case when he heard oral arguments in October, and the White House expected to lose this round. Officials told reporters last week that a negative ruling would have virtually no impact on the law's implementation, noting that its two major provisions—the coverage mandate and the creation of new insurance markets—don't take effect until 2014. Other lawsuits are pending, including one filed by 20 states in a Florida court; Virginia is not part of that lawsuit.

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