In a decision that was expected, US Fourth District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled in a 42-page opinion that the federal government overstepped its powers enumerated in the US Constitution when it passed a law requiring that all Americans must purchase health insurance. Also known as the “individual mandate,” the judge ruled that the federal government has no authority to tell Americans what to purchase.
Two other judges earlier this year in other cases ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional. The decision today now makes the score 2-1. Numerous other similar cases are awaiting decisions across the country. Because of the differences between the courts so far, the final decision will have to be made by the US Supreme Court.
Typically, the losing side in a district court decision will appeal the decision to the next level of the court system, namely, the Appellate Court. However, more and more experts and insiders are conjecturing that the issue at hand may leapfrog the appeal process and go directly to the US Supreme Court. If it does, a decision could be rendered by the fall of 2011. If not, it would not be decided until the fall of 2012. The individual mandate is slated to go into effect January 1, 2014.
Earlier this year, the Richmond TEA Party, along with Campaign for Liberty, the 9-12 groups, and other TEA Parties, led efforts to pass the VA Health Care Freedom Act. According to VA AG Ken Cuccinelli, its passage gave VA “better standing” to sue the federal government.