Judge Christopher C. Conner of the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania has stricken the Obamacare mandatge in a Memorandum and Order issued today (h/t Fuzzy via Gateway Pundit), as reported by Bloomberg:
The insurance-buying mandate in President Barack Obama’s health-care reform legislation is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled.
U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner in Harrisburg today said Congress exceeded its powers under the federal constitution when it included in the act Obama signed into law last year a provision requiring almost all Americans to have medical insurance starting in 2014.
“The federal government,” Conner said, “is one of limited enumerated powers, and Congress’s efforts to remedy the ailing health care and health insurance markets must fit squarely within the boundaries of those powers.”
A copy of the decision is here. An appeal would go to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which has not yet ruled on the issue.
The 4th Circuit recently dismissed the Obamacare case brought by Virginia on “standing” grounds without reaching the merits, while the 11th Circuit threw out the mandate on the merits. The 6th Circuit has ruled in favor of the mandate on the merits.
Judge Connor summarized the issue as follows:
… this case concerns the precise parameters of Congress’s enumerated authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Specifically, the issue is whether Congress can invoke its Commerce Clause power to compel individuals to buy insurance as a condition of lawful citizenship or residency. The court concludes that it cannot. The power to regulate interstate commerce does not subsume the power to dictate a lifetime financial commitment to health insurance coverage. Without judicially enforceable limits, the constitutional blessing of the minimum coverage provision, codified at 26 U.S.C. § 5000A, would effectively sanction Congress’s exercise of police power under the auspices of the Commerce Clause, jeopardizing the integrity of our dual sovereignty structure. (p. 2)