Bush-Appointed Judge Rules Key Parts of Obama's Health Care Reform Law Unconstitutional

It's been a rough few weeks for President Obama. The latest news is that a Bush-appointed federal judge in Virginia has ruled unconstitutional the "keystone provision" in the health care reform law passed by his administration last year.

Reports the New York Times:

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions.

The good news is that the judge, Henry E. Hudson, declined a request by the plaintiff to freeze implementation of the law, so health care reform will continue to be rolled out as planned, for now (pending appeal). The bad news, per the Times:

[T]he ruling is likely to create confusion among the public and further destabilize political support for legislation that is under fierce attack from Republicans in Congress and in many statehouses.

A noteworthy aspect of this story is that Judge Hudson has "a long history in Republican politics in northern Virginia":

Thus far, judges appointed by Republican presidents have ruled consistently against the Obama administration while Democratic appointees have found for it.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at December 13, 2010, 6:49am

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