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Judge declares Obama health-care law 'void' in its entirety

A federal judge in Florida rules that the health-care law passed by Congress last year is unconstitutional. Three other federal judges have also ruled on the health-care law – one against, two in favor – setting up a potential Supreme Court showdown.

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Senior US District Judge Roger Vinson speaks to candidates for citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at the US District Court in Pensacola, Fla., in this July 27, 2007 photo. Vinson declared the Obama administration's health-care overhaul unconstitutional Monday.

Ben Twingley/Pensacola News Journal/AP

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A federal judge in Florida ruled on Monday that President Obama’s health-care reform law exceeds Congress’s authority under the Constitution’s commerce clause.

US District Judge Roger Vinson declared the 2,700-page reform measure “void” in its entirety, while concluding that the law’s individual mandate requiring all Americans to buy a government-approved level of health insurance was a “bridge too far.”

“The individual mandate falls outside the boundary of Congress’s commerce clause authority and cannot be reconciled with a limited government of enumerated powers,” Judge Vinson wrote.

The action, if upheld on appeal, means that Congress would have to return to the drawing board to draft a significantly different version of health-care reform.

Vinson is the second judge to strike down the health-care law’s individual mandate requiring all Americans who can afford it to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

Two other judges have upheld the constitutionality of the health-care reform law.

The conflicting rulings have set the stage for legal battles in the federal appellate courts and perhaps, eventually, at the US Supreme Court.

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