PENSACOLA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) – A federal judge in Florida has ruled that the mandate in President Barack Obama's health care reform law that requires individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

Monday, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson released a 78-page decision that says the federal government is unfairly trying to regulate economic inactivity under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Vinson granted summary judgment on that issue to the 26 states that have challenged health care reform.

Vinson wrote that the lawsuit raised important issues concerning the Constitutional role of the federal government and included a quote from James Madison about government controlling itself.

"The Framers (of the Constitution) believed that limiting federal power, and allowing the 'residual' power to remain in the hands of the states (and of the people), would help 'ensure protection of our fundamental liberties' and 'reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse,'" he wrote.

"Very early, the great Chief Justice John Marshall noted 'that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the constitution is written.' Over two centuries later, this delicate balancing act continues."

Twenty states, led by Florida, filed the lawsuit in March after Obama signed the legislation into law. Recently, six states joined the effort.

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