FedSoc Blog

Federal Judge in Florida Strikes Down Individual Mandate


by The Federalist Society
Posted January 31, 2011, 3:21 PM

A second federal judge struck down a provision of President Obama's health-care law requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance today, reports the New York Times.

Judge Roger Vinson in Florida federal district court ruled that the individual mandate provision went beyond Congress' power under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and that this provision was not severable, meaning that the entire health-care law would be struck down if his decision is upheld.

This ruling brings the count of federal district court decisions on the individual mandate to two decisions invalidating the law and two decisions upholding it.

From the decision:

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.


In sum, notwithstanding the fact that many of the provisions in the Act can stand independently without the individual mandate (as a technical and practical matter), it is reasonably “evident,” as I have discussed above, that the individual mandate was an essential and indispensable part of the health reform efforts, and that Congress did not believe other parts of the Act could (or it would want them to) survive independently.

Click here to read the full decision.

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