Health Care and Life Sciences > Health Reform Resource Center > District Court Ruling Finds Individual Mandate Unconstitutional
14 Dec '10

As has been widely reported, on December 13, 2010, federal Judge Henry E. Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of the motion for summary judgment filed by  Virginia’s Attorney General, Kenneth Cuccinelli, and invalidated the so-called “individual mandate” in the health care reform legislation.  There is no doubt that this case, which struck down one of the central provisions of the legislation, will make its way through the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and end up before the Supreme Court.  In his 42-page decision, Judge Hudson ruled as unconstitutional PPACA Section 1501, which requires that starting in 2014 virtually every American must have a minimum level of health insurance coverage or be subject to a tax penalty.   Although the court found that this provision exceeded Congress’s powers under the commerce and general welfare clauses of the U.S. Constitution, as a remedy, the court determined that it was appropriate to sever that section from the rest of the health care reform legislation instead of invalidating the entire health reform law. For additional analysis of this decision, please see the article on our sister-site, SCOTUSblog.”