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Federal judge to rule Monday on constitutionality of health-care overhaul

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 11, 2010; 7:27 PM

A federal judge in Virginia is expected to rule Monday on the constitutionality of the nation's health-care overhaul.

Twenty-five lawsuits are pending across the country challenging the federal statute. Two federal judges have ruled that it is constitutional. Many observers say they think U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, who sits in Richmond, may be the first judge to strike down the law. If he does, he would rule that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce with a requirement in that law that individuals obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.

The suit was filed in March by Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R), who said he was defending a new state statute that made it illegal to require individuals to have health insurance. It is separate from a case filed jointly by 20 other states in Florida. A judge is to hear oral arguments in that case Thursday.

Hudson's staff says he is expected to file his ruling by midday Monday. The decision will almost certainly be appealed. The constitutionality of the law will ultimately be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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