(Reuters) - A federal judge in Pennsylvania said the insurance-buying mandate in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in unconstitutional, the latest ruling over an issue likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court.
District Judge Christopher Conner in Harrisburg on Tuesday said the Commerce Clause of the Constitution did not grant Congress the power to include a provision requiring nearly all Americans to have health insurance. The provision is scheduled to take effect in 2014.
"The nation undoubtedly faces a health care crisis," Conner wrote. "The federal government, however, is one of limited enumerated powers, and Congress's efforts to remedy the ailing health care and health insurance markets must fit squarely within the boundaries of those powers."
Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said: "We believe, as other federal appeals courts have held, that the law is constitutional."
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and James Vicini in Washington, editing by John Wallace)