- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Judge in Va. strikes down federal health care law
Question of the Day
RICHMOND (AP) — A federal judge rejected a key provision of the Obama administration's health care law as unconstitutional Monday, ruling the government cannot require people to buy insurance, in a dispute that both sides agree will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson is the first federal judge to strike down the law, which has been upheld by two other federal judges in Virginia and Michigan. Several other lawsuits have been dismissed, and others are pending, including one filed in Florida by 20 other states.
The government argued the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives the government the power to require individuals to buy health insurance or face a penalty, a provision due to take effect in 2014.
But Judge Hudson sided with Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II in saying the mandate overstepped the Constitution.
"This case, however, turns on atypical and uncharted applications of constitutional law interwoven with subtle political undercurrents," Judge Hudson wrote. "The outcome of this case has significant public policy implications. And the final word will undoubtedly reside with a higher court."
The White House said that the ruling does not create uncertainty about the implementation of the law's provisions.
Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House health reform director, said that while the Virginia judge struck down the law, the administration is encouraged by two other federal judges who have upheld it.
Ms. DeParle told the Associated Press that the Justice Department is reviewing Judge Hudson's ruling. The department, which defended the law in court, stood by its argument that Congress was within its rights to enact the law.
"We are disappointed in today's ruling but continue to believe — as other federal courts in Virginia and Michigan have found — that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler.
The lawsuit was filed by Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, in defense of a new state law that prohibits the government from forcing state residents to buy health insurance.
Mr. Cuccinelli argued that while the government can regulate economic activity that substantially affects interstate commerce, the decision not to buy insurance amounts to economic inactivity that is beyond the government's reach.
"This won't be the final round, as this will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, but today is a critical milestone in the protection of the Constitution," Mr. Cuccinelli said in a statement after the ruling.
Judge Hudson, a Republican 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.
Administration 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.
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq