Judge Strikes Down Obamas Healthcare As Unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the reform law’s so-called individual mandate went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.

In a lawsuit filed by 26 states and led by Florida, Judge Roger Vinson said the requirement that individuals buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The federal government considers the requirement critical to implementing the reforms. FULL TEXT OF THE BILL HERE: H.R. 4872

Vinson used Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

In his footnotes, Judge Vinson points out the hypocrisy of Candidate Obama vs. President Obama.

Indeed, I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that “if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.”

Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday. Most legal scholars expect one of the suits to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Individuals, advocacy groups and hospitals have also sued. Summary: Health Care Reform Bill H.R. 4872

Here are details of the current state of legal challenges to the law:

RECENT DECISIONS

* A U.S. federal judge in Florida said Congress exceeded its authority in requiring Americans to buy health insurance and imposed an injunction against the law. Judge Roger Vinson said the entire law “must be declared void” because the requirement is inextricably linked to other parts of law. The federal government is expected to appeal the decision, and will likely seek a stay of the ruling pending review of the appeal.

* A U.S. appeals court last week agreed to expedite consideration of challenges to a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson that the federal government could not compel a person to buy health insurance. The court set oral arguments to be held between May 10-13. The U.S. government has appealed and, in a twist, so has the state of Virginia, which filed the suit. The state said the judge erred by not throwing out the entire law. Hudson said the penalty charged for not having health insurance is not a tax, shooting down the federal government’s argument that it is empowered to levy taxes.

* A U.S. District Court in New Jersey dismissed on December 9 a lawsuit filed by a cardiologist, a patient and a physicians’ advocacy organization that had alleged the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which allows the federal government to regulate commerce among the states, and also violated the Fifth Amendment.

OTHER RULINGS

* Another appeal, in a lawsuit filed by Liberty University, the college founded by conservative evangelical leader Jerry Falwell, has also been expedited and will be heard by the Fourth Circuit court in May. In November, a federal judge ruled the individual mandate and a requirement some employers buy coverage for employees was legal under the Commerce Clause. The judge also said the law did not illegally permit federal funding for abortion.

* In October, another federal judge partly dismissed a suit filed in Michigan by the Thomas More Law Center, ruling Congress had the authority to enact the law under the Commerce Clause.

* A California court dismissed a lawsuit, now under appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court, that said the healthcare law violates individual rights, increases taxes and violates physician-patient privileges, along with violating the Commerce Clause.

* In November, U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd partially denied and partially granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Citizen’s Association in Ohio. While he dismissed arguments that the law violates freedom of association, due process and privacy protections, Dowd is considering arguments that the law exceeds federal authority granted by the Commerce Clause.

* At least 24 lawsuits have been filed in federal courts by states and private parties.

WHAT IS AT ISSUE?

* States like Virginia have passed, or are considering, legislation declaring the healthcare law cannot be enforced in their states. State legislators in Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming have introduced bills that establish penalties, including fines and jail time, for any agent seeking to enforce the healthcare law within their states’ borders.

* The states’ main concern is that the law permits the federal government to force people to buy things, in this case requiring that all Americans purchase health insurance or pay a penalty under the “individual mandate.” The federal government counters that everyone will inevitably pay for healthcare, whether through insurance or during an emergency, and that without the individual mandate, premiums will rise.

* If the courts decide the individual mandate is unconstitutional, it is unclear if the mandate can be cut away from the law while leaving the other requirements intact. The states say that without the individual mandate the law is rendered toothless.

* Parts of the U.S. Constitution that have come into play are the Commerce Clause, the Supremacy Clause, which makes federal power supreme to states’ power, and the 10th Amendment, which leaves to states all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government.

* Some of the suits also focus on whether abortions are funded with taxpayer dollars under the law.

* When Obama lobbied for the bill, he said there would not be a new tax associated with the individual mandate requiring coverage. The penalty for not having health insurance, though, is collected through tax filings and the federal government argues the fine is indeed a tax it is empowered to levy. States say the U.S. government does not have the authority to charge the fine and point to the discrepancy between Obama’s statements and the U.S. government’s arguments.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void,” he wrote, “This has been a difficult decision to reach and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”

Referring to a key provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Vinson sided with governors and attorneys general from 26 U.S. states, almost all of whom are Republicans, in declaring the Obama healthcare reform unconstitutional.

in Article 1 Section 8–and health care systems, welfare redistribution systems and systems of charity are not among those powers. The Tenth Amendment further makes this clear.

Judge Vinson also notes another important statement about the limited powers of the federal government made by Madison:

The powers delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the states.

Vinson also repudiates the Leftists who think our Constitution is outdated and obsolete:

Rather than being the mere historic relic of a bygone era, the principle behind a central government with limited power has “never been more relevant than in this day, when accretion, if not actual accession, of power to the federal government seems not only unavoidable, but even expedient.”

Liberals have abused the Commerce Clause as an excuse for the federal government to bypass Article 1 Section 8 and do whatever it wants, and the Commerce Clause is at the heart of the Obama Administration’s weak defense of ObamaCare.

Vinson also dealt with another favorite of constitutional usurpers, namely the “Necessary and Proper Clause,” by recalling that

the Clause is not an independent source of federal power; rather, it is simply “a caveat that the Congress possesses all the means necessary to carry out the specifically granted ‘foregoing’ powers of [section] 8 ‘and all other Powers vested by this Constitution.’ [It] is ‘but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those (powers) otherwise granted are included in the grant.’”

He concludes:

Ultimately, the Necessary and Proper Clause vests Congress with the power and authority to exercise means which may not in and of themselves fall within an enumerated power, to accomplish ends that must be within an enumerated power.

In ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, he effectively ruled that the entire law was unconstitutional because that provision of the law is instrumental to carrying out the entire program. He notes that even the proponents of ObamaCare consider the individual mandate essential to the operability of the entire law: “the defendants concede that [the individual mandate] is absolutely necessary for the Act’s insurance market reforms to work as intended.

“Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution,” Vinson, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, ruled.

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