U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson on Monday became the second federal judge to declare the national health care law’s individual mandate unconstitutional.
The decision concerns the lawsuit based in Florida and involving 26 states, and follows a similar decision last month in the suit based in Virginia.
But Vinson’s decision went a step further than the Virginia ruling by not only declaring that the mandate was unconstitutional, but striking down the rest of the law as a result.
As enacted, the law did not include what’s known as a “severability clause,” which specifies that if one part of the law is struck down, the rest of the law stands. Those challenging the law have argued that as a result, the whole law should be struck down, too. While U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson of Richmond declined to do so, Vinson argued that, “because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”
The Obama administration has launched an appeal in the Virginia suit, and is expected to do so in the Florida-based suit as well, likely setting the stage for an eventual showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Read the ruling here.