Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida judge rules federal health care legislation is unconstitutional



U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson today ruled that the federal health care legislation is unconstitutional.

Vinson made the decision after hearing arguments in December in the case, which pits 26 states against the federal government. Among other things, the states, led by Florida, argue that the legislation passed by Congress in March and pushed by President Barack Obama is unconstitutional because it requires people to buy health care or pay a fine, a provision known as the "individual mandate."

Vinson agreed.

"I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate," Vinson wrote in his 78-page ruling. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void."

The case will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In his opinion, Vinson said that everyone recognizes the nation’s health care system needs reforming, and that Congress has the power to do that.

"The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here," he wrote. "Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution."

Former Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the lawsuit in March, and current Attorney General Pam Bondi is carrying it forward.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott today said he applauds Vinson’s ruling.

"The judge has confirmed what many of us knew from the start: ObamaCare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people," he said in a prepared statement. "Patients should have more control over health care decisions than a federal government that is spending money faster than it can be printed."

Read more about it here.



[Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 4:42pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours