*Updated - 6:15 PM EST 12/13/10
In Virginia on Monday morning, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled the new federal healthcare reform law’s mandate, requiring American citizens to have health insurance, to be unconstitutional. The Associated Press is reporting:
“Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed the lawsuit challenging the law’s requirement that citizens buy health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.
He argues the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional authority to impose the requirement.
Other lawsuits are pending, including one filed by 20 states in a Florida court. Virginia is not part of that lawsuit.
The U.S. Justice Department and opponents of the health care law agree that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final word.”
House Speaker Designate John Boehner, Ohio Republican, responded on his Facebook page to the Virginia judge’s ruling :
“A federal judge today ruled that the individual mandate in President Obama’s jobs-killing health care law is unconstitutional. When the new Congress convenes, Republicans will make good on our pledge to America & fight to repeal ObamaCare. We need to start over w/common-sense reforms that will protect jobs & help lower health care costs without unconstitutional mandates, new taxes, & penalties on small businesses.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke with reporters about the ruling:
“Without an individual responsibility portion in the law, you could not find yourself dealing with pre-existing conditions, because the only people that would likely get involved with purchasing healthcare would be the very sick, and obviously that would be enormously expensive,” he said
Mr. Gibbs went further saying, “I think it is safe to say that because there are several other cases in the pipeline and because of—again you got district court rulings 115 miles away that the bill will continue to have its day in court. I do think its important that even this judge ruled the bill continues to move forward in terms of its implementation and obviously the individual responsibility aspects of this legislation weren’t to go into effect until 2014. So there’s some time to work this through.”
“Challenges like this are nothing new in terms of laws that have come before the courts in the past and which our position has prevailed. We’re confident that it is constitutional and, quite frankly, two of the three courts that have rendered a decision of this question have ruled in our favor,” he added.
Two district court rulings previously decided that the health care mandate is constitutional, so an appeals court should take it up given the split between the courts on the rulings. However, Fox News reported Monday afternoon that Congressman Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell are calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case now and bypass the appeals courts.