VA Court: Obamacare Mandate Unconstitutional

BREAKING:   Monday, December 13, 2010:  A federal judge in Virginia struck down the provision of the Obama administration’s health reform law that mandates the individual purchase of health insurance.  In a 42-page opinion, District Judge Henry Hudson ruled that the means chosen by Congress “lacks logical limitation” and if upheld would enable Congress to mandate private purchases in any arena, including “transportation, housing or nutritional decisions.”  As explained by the court:

“In her argument, the Secretary urges an expansive interpreation of the concept of [economic] activity.  She posits that every individual in the United States will require health care at some point in their lifetime, if not today, perhaps next week or even next year.  Her theory further postulates that because near universal participation is critical to the underwriting process, the collective effect of refusal to purchase health insurance affects the national market.  Therefore, she argues, requiring advance purchase of insurance based upon a a future contingency is an activity that will inevitably affect interstate commerce.  Of course, the same reasoning could apply to transportation, housing, or nutritional decisions.  This broad definition of the economic activity subject to congressional regulation lacks logical limitation and is unsupported by Commerce Clause jurisprudence.”


This case, brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is separate from the high-profile challenge brought by 20 states that is now pending ruling in a Florida federal court.  District court judges in two separate challenges have upheld the individual mandate, making an ultimate Supreme Court resolution more likely especially if there is a split in the upcoming decisions by the federal courts of appeals.

Related Resources:

  1. Politico reports on the Virginia ruling.
  2. K. Parker, “Federally Funded Abortions are in our Future,” Washington Post (Mar. 28, 2010).
  3. J. McCormack, “Stupak Deal Brokered by Former Planned Parenthood Lobbyist,” Weekly Standard (Mar. 24, 2010).
  4. BDF: Your State Can Enact Obamacare Abortion Opt-Out Legislation
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