Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum Wednesday praised a Pennsylvania federal judge's ruling striking down the individual mandate section of President Obama's health care law, noting that he had pushed for the appointment of Judge Christopher Conner in 2002.
"Now the nation sees what I saw in Chris when I recommended him for the bench," Santorum said. "Judge Conner has done a constitutional service."
Conner ruled Tuesday that requiring people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014 is an unconstitutional exercise of authority conferred on the federal government by the Constitution’s commerce clause.
“The nation undoubtably faces a health care crisis,” Conner said. “Scores of individuals are uninsured and the costs to all citizens are measurable and significant. 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.”
Santorum has stressed the ending of "Obamacare" as a major theme of his presidential campaign, and he sought to contrast his consistent stance against government involvement in health care to the positions of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has surged to the top of the GOP heap in many polls.
In the early 1990s, Perry supported an earlier attempt at universal health-care system pushed by former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Santorum, as a member of the House and Senate, was a prominent opponent of that effort.
"I’m not a recent convert to the fact that universal healthcare is wrong – whether at the state or federal level," Santourm said. "And I pledge to repeal ObamaCare on day one as president. ObamaCare has crippled this country and crushed any potential to create jobs."