December 13th, 2010
The ruling by District Judge Henry E. Hudson is perhaps the most significant so far among a slew of state-based legal challenges to the law, which also faces attack by newly resurgent Republicans in Congress. More than 20 federal lawsuits have been filed against the health overhaul since President Barack Obama signed it in March.
While the cases differ somewhat, they largely rest on the argument that Congress lacks constitutional authority to require most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a fee. The Obama administration counters that three clauses of the Constitution gave Congress the power to put the requirement, known as the individual mandate, in the law as part of regulating how people pay for health care.
The Virginia challenge is led by that state’s attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Separately, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Fla., on Thursday will hear arguments in a challenge brought by officials in 20 states. He could offer the clearest indication yet of how he will rule.
Supporters of the law are bracing for defeats in Virginia and in Florida. Judges Hudson and Vinson have both shown sympathy to the plaintiffs’ arguments and are GOP appointees.
Source: Wall Street Journal