A federal judge in Richmond, Va, refused on Monday to throw out a lawsuit filed by the Virginia attorney general challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform law.
The ruling is the first decision in what may be years of litigation over the question of whether Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen’s decision not to buy health insurance.
US District Judge Henry Hudson said that neither the US Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals had squarely addressed that question. Existing legal precedents are inconclusive, he said.
“Given the presence of some authority arguably supporting the theory underlying each side’s position, this court cannot conclude at this stage that the complaint fails to state a cause of action,” Judge Hudson wrote in a 32-page opinion.”
Hudson’s ruling is available here. Having read it, I’d say that his sympathy with Virginia’s argument is pretty clear, and leads him to perhaps push his analysis a bit. But that’s fine. As Hudson notes, this case is destined to be settled in a higher court than his, and if accepting the case pushes that process along, so be it.