Judge Rules ObamaCare
In a 78-page decision issued
earlier today, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson struck down the
entire ObamaCare law, upholding a suit brought by 26 states, but
declined to issue an order blocking implementation of the law.
The Justice Department officials
immediately said they plan to appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals.
To date four courts have
addressed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,"
coming to different conclusions.
Two federal judges-- U.S.
District Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit, Michigan and U.S.
District Judge Norman Moon in Lynchburg, Virginia --have ruled
that Congress does have the authority to require Americans, with
a few exceptions, to get health insurance--the so-called
"individual mandate"--citing the Constitution's Commerce Clause.
Last December U.S. District Judge
Henry Hudson in Richmond, held the mandate requiring almost all
Americans over the age of 18 to obtain coverage
unconstitutional, but concluded the rest of the law met
constitutional muster. The U.S. 4th Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeals in Richmond, Virginia has scheduling hearings for May on
Judge Hudson's ruling.
Judge Vinson is the only judge to
date to have ruled that the entire law is unconstitutional.
Judge Vinson compared the law to
"a finely crafted watch" in which "one essential piece is
defective and must be removed."
As a result, he wrote, "It cannot
function as originally designed. There are simply too many
moving parts in the Act and too many provisions dependent
(directly or indirectly) on the individual mandate ... for me to
try and dissect out ... the able-to-stand-alone from the
As to the substance of the
question--whether the government can require people to buy
health insurance-- Vinson said if it could, it could also
regulate food the same way.
"Or, as discussed during oral
argument, Congress could require that people buy and consume
broccoli at regular intervals," he wrote, "Not only because the
required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce,
but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier,
and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the
health care system."
He added, "If Congress can
penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce,
the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in
vain for it would be difficult to perceive any limitation on
federal power, and we would have a Constitution in name only."
On March 23, 2010, the day Obama
signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
Florida sued on behalf of 13 states. Six more states joined the
suit last year, and another six joined in 2011.