Florida judge strikes down entire health-care law, citing ‘severability’

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

A second federal judge has ruled the federal health-care law unconstitutional, siding with the 26 states who are trying to get the courts to block the its implementation. Florida judge Roger Vinson writes that the law's individual mandate, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance, is unconstitutional.

Vinson then uses a technical argument to say the entire bill must be thrown out, because the bill does not include a "severability" clause the explicitly says courts can reject parts of the law without voiding the whole thing. Talking Points Memo blogger Brian Beutler notes that this argument would most likely not hold water with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who earlier this year struck down only part of another bill that did not have a severability clause.

"The act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker," Vinson writes.

Virginia Judge Henry Hudson ruled in December that the individual mandate was severable from the bill, and said it was unconstitutional.

For those keeping score at home, two federal judges have thrown out challenges to the law and two have ruled against the law so far, making it all but inevitable that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately determine the law's constitutionality.

(A tea party protester last March: AP.)