Virginia Court Strikes Down Individual Mandate in Healthcare Law

Dec 13, 2010

www.LC.org

Richmond, VA – Today, Judge Henry Hudson ruled that the individual mandate in Section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) healthcare law is unconstitutional. Judge Hudson ruled that Congress lacked the authority to mandate that every person must purchase healthcare insurance. The order severs the individual mandate from the law. The case was brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. This case will be appealed to the same court of appeals that will hear the lawsuit brought by Liberty University and private individuals who also object to the employer and the individual mandates.

In the order, Judge Hudson wrote that the “enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I.” In ruling the individual mandate unconstitutional, Judge Hudson severed Section 1501 from the rest of the law. He wrote that the remaining bill which contained the healthcare law contains over 400 unrelated laws. As a practical matter, however, as Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of Health and Human Services admitted, the remainder of the ACA will not function without the individual mandate.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said: “I applaud the ruling by Judge Hudson. There is absolutely no authority in the Constitution that would allow the federal government to force every person to purchase a particular kind of health insurance. Today marks the beginning of the end of this federal power grab. I am confident when the Supreme Court hears the cases of Liberty University and the Virginia Attorney General that the final nail will be driven into this monster’s heart.”

Liberty University’s case is currently pending appeal at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A briefing schedule has been issued by the court and the briefs will soon be filed.

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