What are the limits of the federal government's power? Surely, no enactment in modern times pushes the boundary further than Obamacare. In denying the Obama administration's motion to dismiss the Commonwealth of Virginia's challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare, US District Judge Henry Hudson thus correctly recognized that the individual mandate "literally forges new ground and extends Commerce Clause powers beyond its current high water mark." Specifically, the court recognized that there is a critical difference between the federal government regulating "a voluntary decision to perform an act" and mandating "that a person ... perform an involuntary act." Interestingly, the court also invoked the notion of enumerated powers, noting that there is no "specifically articulated constitutional authority" for imposing an individual mandate.
It's very early days. A trial court decision on a motion to dismiss is hardly dispositive of squat. Having said that, however, this opinion sets a very good tone for the lengthy battles to follow.