In a January 31, 2011 ruling, Florida Judge Roger Vinson ruled the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Judge Vinson specifically targeted the individual mandate as unconstitutional. In his ruling he stated, “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. At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.””
Twenty-six states had joined this lawsuit against PPACA. Judge Vinson denied a motion for an injunction to stop the implementation of the law despite declaring the law unconstitutional. Judge Vinson is the second federal judge to rule PPACA unconstitutional. Virginia Judge Henry Hudson also ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional.
The Obama Administration has won rulings on other challenges to the health reform law. Two federal judges, one in Michigan and one in Virginia, have already ruled that PPACA does not violate the Commerce Clause.
Judge Vinson’s ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The Supreme Court is likely to be asked to consider the issue.
Click here to read the entire ruling.