A judge in Florida on Monday became the second judge to declare President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law unconstitutional, in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, ruled that the reform law's so-called "individual mandate" went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.
"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications," Vinson wrote.This case was #2 on my "top ten" predictions for 2011. From my perspective, it was entirely likely to happen. This now makes two judges to find the individual mandate unconstitutional, although Judge Vinson was the first to find the entire act unconstitutional.
The text of the decision is currently available via PACER, which unfortunately costs $0.08 per electronic page (seriously). As soon as I find a free version, I'll post it on the blog.