A blow to ObamaCare *UPDATED*

This just in:

Judge overturns much of Obama health care law as unconstitutional – AP 27 minutes ago via breakingnews.com

To the extent that anything is yet known, there’s a little more here:

The full text of the decision from Federal Judge Roger Vinson is not available yet, but according to reporters who’ve seen the decision, he’s ruled the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The ruling favors of the 26 state attorney generals challenging the law. The judge ruled the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance invalid and, according to the decision, “because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”

UPDATE: Here’s the ruling. The question now is whether it is well reasoned.

UPDATE II:  Hallelujah!  It is well reasoned.  The first part of the opinion (correctly) dismisses the State’s contention that ObamaCare forces them into an impossibly costly Medicaid situation.  As the Court points out, Medicaid has always been a voluntary relationship between State and Feds.  The fact that the Feds made it more costly doesn’t change its voluntary nature.  In a way (although the Court doesn’t say this), the States are like drug addicts whose dealer has jacked up the price.  That’s just tough.

Of course, the gist of the opinion goes to the Constitutionality of the individual mandate, and Judge Vinson is, again, right on the money.  As the parties and the Court frame it, the question is whether the federal government exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause when it included the individual mandate in ObamaCare.  The mandate, as you recall, says that people must buy federally approved insurance or pay a fine. The Court neatly sums up the issue as follows:

At issue here, as in the other cases decided so far, is the assertion that the Commerce Clause can only reach individuals and entities engaged in an “activity”;and because the plaintiffs maintain that an individual’s failure to purchase health insurance is, almost by definition, “inactivity,” the individual mandate goes beyond the Commerce Clause and is unconstitutional. The defendants contend that activity is not required before Congress can exercise its Commerce Clause power, but that,even if it is required, not having insurance constitutes activity. The defendants also claim that the individual mandate is sustainable for the “second reason” that it falls within the Necessary and Proper Clause.

For me, as a conservative, to state the issue is to resolve the issue:  The federal government lacks the Constitutional power to coerce people into buying a product they may neither need nor want.  If the feds want to change that, they need to amend the Constitution.  Judge Vinson, however, doesn’t have the luxury of reaching this straightforward conclusion without carefully going through all of America’s federalist hoops, something that he does clearly and meticulously.

Judge Vinson starts his analysis by citing long-standing Supreme Court law limiting the feds’ power under the Commerce Clause to only three areas:  (1) regulating interstate commerce; (2) regulating intrastate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce; and (3) regulating activities that have a substantial relationship to interstate commerce.  It is the third category that comes into play here, because it is the most subjective and the broadest in application.

[Ack!  Gotta run.  I'll actually publish this and stop here, even though I've only reached page 21 of the Court's decision.  Anyone who wants to chime in, making this an interactive summary/analysis, should feel free to do so.]

UPDATE III:  Finished taking care of my mother, now taking care of my kids, so there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that I’ll be able to finish reading the case today.  Fortunately, by this point in time, I don’t have to.  Other have waded in:

Power Line

Hot Air

Daniel Foster

Carrie Severino

The Heritage Foundation

Grace-Marie Turner

The Wall Street Journal

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Comments

  1. Spartacus says

    Crikey.  Not even venturing any farther than the RSS-able content of this blog, we see The World According to Liberals:
    milk = oil
    cooling = warming
    – inactivity = activity
    My initial instinct is to say, “It sure must be fun being a liberal.”  But closer observation and closer reflection both confirm the same thing, also known as the Spartacan Reality Postulate: “Reality is your friend.  You can leave Reality, but Reality will never leave you, so you might as well try to get along.”

  2. SADIE says

     
    Dear President Obama:
     
    We all know you are an avid golfer and look to improve your game (face). We’re all keeping score and it seems you keep driving the balls into sand traps (like Egypt). No doubt with the new Federal ruling you’ll be looking for some helpful hints.  Firstly, it is a ‘federal’ ruling, nothing like a self endowed progressive banner, that said otherwise. I’ve linked the ‘How To’ get yourself out of a trap and know that you’ll be paying close attention to #1 (emphasis mine). Just remember, we’re all keeping score!
     
    Sincerely,
    Sadie
     
     
    1. Always think ahead to your next shot. You want to set yourself up for a good lie for your next shot, whether that means chipping out back onto the fairway, or onto the green, first think ahead to what you want your next shot to be.
    Read more: How to Hit a Golf Ball Out of a Sand Trap | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_6040569_hit-ball-out-sand-trap.html#ixzz1CeZtKPh1

  3. Wolf Howling says

    The best line of the decision by far, after the Judge reviewed the original intent of the drafters:

    It is difficult to imagine a nation that began, at least in part, as the result of opposition of a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.

    I will bet a dollar to a dime that the above quote ends up in Scalia’s soon to be written opinion on this case.  And you have to love the lawyers who argued for the HHS on the grounds that the individual mandate was not severable . . . . lolllllllll – and not to mention the Congress for taking the severability provision out of the bill.  Thankfully the people who support Obamacare are intellectually challenged. 

  4. SADIE says

    If only it killed the bill. We’re gonna have to wait for SCOTUS. I understand they have a predetermined docket each year and I doubt if they’ll squeeze this in.  Looks like October before they’ll hear the case, which sets quite a tone for the election a year out.

  5. says

    It is interesting that for all the repetition by Democrats that they are for democracy, when it comes to the single source of their authority, they don’t use any democratic means at all. A super majority or other such methods laid down in the Constitution on how to change the Constitution, may as well be tissue paper to the Utopian Democrats.
    How can they say they believe in democracy, the rule of majority votes, when in fact they seek to bypass voting entirely when it comes to amending the US Constitution. Are these the so called “political opposition” that a democracy really needs? And is a republic compatible enough with political oppositions that are poisonous even to democracies?
     

  6. Kirk Strong says

    A small footnote to this marvelous decision:
     
    According to Wikipedia, Judge Vinson is a Reagan appointee, replacing Lynn Higby, a Carter appointee.  Some presidential appointments really do matter, don’t they?
     
     

  7. Kirk Strong says

    Out of curiosity, I visited a liberal blog to see what they had to say about the ruling:
     
    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/31/vinson-frc/
     
    Ugh!  The comments are incredible!  Not one — not one — addresses the issues of the case.  They’re all ad hominem attacks against Judge Vinson, calling him a stooge of the Tea Party and a plagiarist for using words from an amicus brief, despite the fact that he credits his source in a footnote.
     
    The amicus brief, incidentally, was submitted by the Family Research Council, “branded as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
     
    Now I’ve got to go take a shower.

  8. SADIE says

    Kirk Strong
     
    Reading is believing. So, I visited the linked site and I wasn’t a bit surprised to find out that I actually was reading the script from Animal House during the ‘food fight’ scene in the cafeteria – all misfits without the  humor.
     
    Pass the soap!

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