Gavel Grab

U.S. Appeals Judge's Health Care Ruling

President Obama’s administration formally appealed this week a federal judge’s ruling that declared unconstitutional a key section of the new U.S. health care reform law.

The Justice Department filed notice that it was appealing to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the ruling by Judge Henry Hudson of the U.S. District Court in Virginia, according to a Reuters article.

“There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Affordable Care Act and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail,” Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said.

Judge Hudson’s ruling  was the first to declare unconstitutional a part of the law that orders most people to get health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine. The requirement goes beyond the authority that Congress has been granted  under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, the judge wrote (see earlier Gavel Grab post).

When six more states signaled the same day they would join a legal challenge in Florida to the federal law, it meant more than half the states in the nation — or 26 states — will be challenging the law, the Associated Press reported.

As the Republican-controlled House of Representatives began debating repeal of the federal law, more than 100 legal scholars joined in a statement affirming the constitutionality of the law, the American Constitution Society blog said.

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