Kevin Sack at The New York Times reports that today Judge Henry E. Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia struck down the individual mandate provision in President Obama's health-care law that requires individuals who can afford to do so to purchase health insurance.
Judge Hudson, who concluded that the individual mandate exceeds Congress's authority under the Federal Constitution's Commerce Clause, becomes the first judge to invalidate a provision of the law. He wrote that his review of past cases
yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, not withstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme.
The Department of Justice is currently considering appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which already has before it a case from the district court in Lynchburg, Va., where the court held that the individual mandate was constitutional. Judge Hudson decided not to halt implementation of the law pending appeal.