The Justice Department said it would appeal a decision invalidating a core provision of the federal health-care overhaul, the next skirmish in a constitutional struggle likely to reach the Supreme Court before the 2012 presidential election.
On Monday, a federal district judge in Richmond, Va., ruled that Congress lacked authority to compel individuals to carry health coverage. If ultimately upheld, the decision would undercut a core feature of the national insurance market envisioned by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Obama administration is bracing for another possible setback in Pensacola, Fla. A federal district judge there is hearing a challenge to the law brought by a group of mostly Republican state attorneys general and governors. Arguments in that case are set for Thursday.