A federal judge in Florida has ruled unconstitutional the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Obama, setting up what is likely to be a contentious Supreme Court challenge in coming months over the legislation.
Monday's ruling came in the most closely watched of the two dozen challenges to the law. Florida along with 25 states had filed a lawsuit last spring, seeking to dismiss a law critics had labeled "Obamacare."
Judge Roger Vinson, in a 78-page, ruling dismissed the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- the so-called "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face stiff penalties.
"I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and Inequities in our health care system," wrote Vinson.
"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.' "
From CNN's Bill Mears
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