The legal challenge to ObamaCare has borne fruit for the first time: A federal judge in Virginia has ruled against the individual mandate. In the words of the Los Angeles Times (doubtless echoing many other observers): This is “the most serious legal blow to the law thus far.”
The Times offers up several strong statements made by Judge Henry Hudson:
“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause power to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”
“Despite the laudable intentions of Congress in enacting a comprehensive and transformative healthcare regime, the legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds.”
Is this the end of it? Certainly not. The ruling will be appealed, and the mandate is but one part of a noxious law. Still, it’s good to see a judge forcefully refute the extension of the far-too-elastic Commerce Clause. If the clause does at the end of the day justify a mandate to buy insurance simply as a condition of living, there truly is no limit on the powers of the U.S. government, which would mean not only the end of limited government but of federalism as well.