Video: Judge: ‘Obamacare’ is unconstitutional
Transcript of: Judge: ‘Obamacare’ is unconstitutional
MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: So is President Obama 's health care plan in jeopardy or not? As Matt mentioned, a federal judge has now found part of it unconstitutional. NBC 's justice correspondent, Pete Williams , has more on that. Pete , good morning.
PETE WILLIAMS reporting: Meredith , good morning. One of the things that makes this noteworthy is that this is the first time a federal judge has ruled that the key part of the Obama health care law, the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance , is unconstitutional, so now there's sure to be a legal battle all the way to the Supreme Court . The Justice Department is likely to appeal the ruling which echoed a theme of
tea party activists and conservatives: The Congress has no power to order everyone to buy insurance.
Senator ORRIN HATCH (Republican, Utah): People still have the right to personal decisions. Whether they buy health insurance or they don't buy health insurance , they should not have it imposed upon them by government.
WILLIAMS: Ruling on a challenge from the state of Virginia , federal judge Henry Hudson said that while the "Constitution gives Congress broad power to regulate economic activity, it has no power to regulate inactivity," such as declining to buy insurance. Congress , he concluded, has "no authority to compel anyone to enter the stream of commerce and buy something." The Obama administration argued that no one stays entirely out of the health care economy, eventually getting care from somewhere like an emergency room. And the president told NBC affiliate WFLA that with more than two dozen legal challenges already in the courts, the battle is far from over.
President BARACK OBAMA: Keep in mind, this is one ruling by one federal district court . We've already had two federal district courts that have ruled that this is definitely constitutional.
WILLIAMS: The judge decided not to block the mandatory insurance requirement for now because he said the law doesn't take effect for a few more years so there's time for the courts to decide who's right, Meredith .
VIEIRA: All right, Pete Williams , thank you very much .