For the first time, a federal judge has ruled that a key provision in the new federal health reform law is unconstitutional, a major victory for opponents of that plan.
Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia, said the "individual mandate," which requires individuals to buy health insurance "is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution."
"Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution confers upon Congress only discrete enumerated governmental powers," Hudson wrote. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
"On careful review," Hudson continued, " the individual mandate "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."
The decision in a case brought by the state of Virginia was immediately hailed on Capitol Hill by opponents of the plan.
"It's a great day for Liberty!" said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Democrats and the White House meanwhile predicted that they would win this fight before other courts, as they accused the GOP of two-faced political beliefs.
"Apparently Republicans are now for judicial activism after they were against it," fumed Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) in a statement.
Judge Hudson's ruling is only one more step in this legal battle, which many believe will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision comes just a few days before a group of 20 other states will argue the same point in a federal court in Florida, that the Congress overstepped its authority.
"The legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds," wrote Judge Hudson in his ruling.
Judge Hudson took several slaps at backers of the law in his ruling, decrying the "haste" with which it was rushed to approval in the Senate on Christmas Eve last year.
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White House officials, asserting that the HealthCare.gov website is largely fixed, are under mounting pressure from Democrats and close allies to hold senior-level people accountable for the botched rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement and to determine who should be fired.