Florida judge rules for the states in constitutional challenge to the individual health insurance mandate

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers praised a court order today from the U.S. District Court for the District Northern Florida, calling it a major victory for federalism and the limitation of federal power.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for federalism,” Suthers said. “The judge’s well-reasoned order clearly lays out why the individual health insurance mandate included in the president’s health care overhaul law far exceeds the bounds of the federal government’s enumerated powers.”

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson’s order granting the states’ motion for summary judgment follows his October decision denying the government’s motion to dismiss.

Vinson’s order is the latest in a series of decisions from U.S. district courts across the country. Vinson is the second judge to rule that the individual mandate and Congress’s ability to penalize consumers for their economic inactivity — not buying a product or service it deems beneficial — goes beyond the powers granted to the federal government in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“This ruling and other decisions from across the country all but assure that this critical constitutional question will eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Suthers said. “This ruling also rebuts the contention among critics of the lawsuit that this question is somehow frivolous or without merit. To the contrary, this ruling underlines that this case confronts a significant constitutional question that could reshape how the federal government interacts with its citizens and the states on a wide variety of issues.”

Colorado is one of 28 states participating in this and other similar lawsuits. The National Federation of Independent Business also is a co-plaintiff on the multistate lawsuit. Colorado has not billed any hours or expended any money as part of its participation in the lawsuit.

To learn more about the multistate challenge to the individual health insurance mandate or to the review filings in the case, visit www.healthcarelawsuit.us.

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