Spoiling for a fight: President Barack Obama pumps his fists while talking with senior staff in July. From left, Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the Office of Health Reform; Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget; Phil Schiliro, assistant to the president for legislative affairs; and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council.
It’s not like nobody saw this coming, but Monday, one Judge Henry E. Hudson of Richmond, Va., kicked off the next round of attacks on what the right still likes to call “Obamacare” by contesting the constitutionality of one of the main tenets of the health care reform bill the president signed last fall. —KA
The New York Times:
Judge Henry E. Hudson, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, declined the plaintiff’s request to freeze implementation of the law pending appeal, meaning that there should be no immediate effect on the ongoing rollout of the law. But the ruling is likely to create confusion among the public and further destabilize political support for legislation that is under fierce attack from Republicans in Congress and in many statehouses.
In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions.