"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Florida Ruling Only Adds To Urgency Of Repealing Obamacare

February 1st, 2011 by sclemons · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal reports today, “A federal judge ruled that Congress violated the Constitution by requiring Americans to buy insurance as part of the health overhaul passed last year, and said the entire law ‘must be declared void.’ With his ruling, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson set up a clash over whether the Obama administration still has the authority to carry out the law designed to expand insurance to 32 million Americans.”

The Washington Post notes, “The decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson represents a more sweeping repudiation of the law than the December ruling in a suit brought by Virginia that found the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance to be unconstitutional. As the judge ruled in the Virginia case, Vinson held that Congress overstepped its authority by compelling nearly all Americans to be insured or pay a fine. But Vinson went further: Likening the law to ‘a finely crafted watch’ in which ‘one essential piece is defective and must be removed,’ he ruled that the insurance mandate cannot be separated from the rest of the statute and therefore the entire law must be voided.”

And the WSJ observes, “The legal morass is the biggest blow yet to the law since President Barack Obama signed it in March. Most of the plaintiffs—governors and attorneys general in 26 states—are Republicans seeking to knock down Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.”

Importantly, The New York Times points out, “In his 78-page opinion, Judge Vinson held that the insurance requirement exceeded the regulatory powers granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.”

In their amicus brief filed in November in support of the states’ lawsuit against the Democrat health care bill, Senate Republicans focused on the law’s overreach, far beyond what the Commerce Clause allows. “Indeed, in more than 200 years of debate as to the proper scope of the Commerce Power, the Supreme Court has never suggested that the Commerce Power allows Congress to impose affirmative obligations on passive individuals, or to punish individuals for failing to purchase a particular product.” GOP senators pointed out, “As Congress’s own non-partisan research arm noted, the individual mandate ‘is a novel issue: whether Congress can use its Commerce Clause authority to require a person to buy a good or a service.’” They further argued, “If Congress can use the Commerce Power to punish a decision not to engage in a private activity, on the basis that the future consequences of this choice, in the aggregate, would substantially affect interstate commerce, there is seemingly no private decision Congress could not regulate or no activity it could not force private citizens to undertake . . . when, in the aggregate, it concludes that doing so would benefit the economy.”

Yesterday, Judge Vinson wrote, “It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting — as was done in the Act — that compelling the actual transaction is itself ‘commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce’, it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. . . . It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to 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.”

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: Majority of Voters Still Question Health Care Waivers, Think They Should Be Given To All

St. Louis Activist hub: Florida Ruling Only Adds To Urgency Of Repealing Obamacare

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