US District Court Judge Vinson Rules ObamaCare Unconstitutional; The Odd Left’s Reaction; Kagan must recuse herself when this reaches SCOTUS; Related- Medicare and Medicaid; Senate Vote Fails to Repeal Obamacare entirely, however Does Repeal Part of.
On Wednesday night, the Senate voted against repealing Obamacare along party lines. But something changed: in September, 40 Senators supported repeal, on Wednesday 47 Senators voted for repeal!
Florida judge Roger Vinson declares Obama’s healthcare legislation unconstitutional; top court next?
January 31, 2011
The ruling applies mainly to the part of the legislation that requires people to buy health insurance by 2014 or face fines.
With the ruling, Judge Roger Vinson, a Republican appointee, accepted the argument from the 26 states that filed the suit.
The law, according to Vinson, was “outside Congress’ Commerce Clause power and it cannot be otherwise authorized by an assertion of power under the Necessary and Proper Clause,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
While it’s a small – and perhaps one of the most controversial parts of the legislation -the clause makes the entire law void, according to Vinson.
The White house slammed the ruling as judicial overreach as the Justice Department said it would appeal.
How’s this for overreach? First US District Judge Hudson of Virginia struck down the mandate in December. Now a second Federal Judge, US District Judge Roger Vinson of Florida has ruled also, as approximately 2 dozen State Attorney Generals around the country, including Harry Reid’s home state of Nevada, have pending lawsuits against Obamacare.
“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void” – Judge Vinson
|QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, On the Left’s Reaction to Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson’s Ruling This Week That ObamaCare is Unconstitutional:“Liberal pundits who have consulted liberal law professors about liberals’ great achievement — ObamaCare — are pronouncing the ruling by Judge Roger Vinson to be much to do about nothing. The ruling is. . . um. . . thinking of a case liberals hate. . . um. . . just like Bush v. Gore ! (Except it has nothing to do with the Equal Protection Clause or any other aspect of that case.) It is, we are told, ‘curious,’ ‘odd,’ or ‘unconventional.’ “These are complaints, not legal arguments. And they suggest that the left was totally unprepared for the constitutional attack on their beloved handiwork. After all, the recent mocking by the left of conservatives’ reverence for the Constitution suggests they are mystified that a 200-year old document could get in the way of their historic achievement. They are truly nonplussed, and so they vamp, not with reasoned analysis but with an outpouring of adjectives… “The only thing ‘odd’ about the ruling is the left’s response…” Read more of this week’s notable quotes now.
|ObamaCare: We Have the Final Say, Not Justice Kennedy For the second time in two months, a federal judge has ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional. Specifically, Judge Roger Vinson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that ObamaCare’s “individual mandate,” which would force each and every citizen in each and every last corner of American territory to purchase federally approved health insurance, violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause restraint on federal authority. …Almost immediately, pundits spanning the political spectrum concluded that United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will ultimately determine ObamaCare’s viability. With four reliably conservative and four reliably liberal justices, according to that consensus, Justice Kennedy will settle this controversial matter for the entire country.But that is not correct. The fate of ObamaCare isn’t in Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s hands. It’s in ours. Read more now.
[Related – Hatch: Kagan Should Recuse Herself on Obamacare
Patriot Post Digest – Friday, February 4, 2011
“[A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” –Thomas Jefferson
A Major Victory Against ObamaCare – ruled unconstitutional
“Never before has Congress required everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States,” wrote Judge Vinson. “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. … Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.”
There is little doubt the Founders purposefully denied the Legislative Branch such broad powers, but leftists have long asserted that Congress can do whatever it has a majority of votes to do. When asked about the constitutionality of ObamaCare, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) snorted, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” She is now the minority leader.
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) was similarly smug when congressional power was questioned, explaining, “I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life.” He continued, “The federal government, uh, yes, can do most anything in this country.”
Judge Vinson’s ruling was a strong rebuke to such thinking. Notably, he struck down the law in its entirety because the individual mandate didn’t include a severability clause, which would have allowed the removal of the provision while leaving the rest of the law intact. Even the Obama administration argued that the individual mandate is so integral to the legislation that the law would be impotent without it.
Vinson wrote, “Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals [of universal health care] in passing the [Affordable Care] Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution.” He added, “[T]his case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation, or whether it will solve or exacerbate the myriad problems in our health care system. In fact, it is not really about our health care system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the constitutional role of the federal government.”
As Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, observed, “This case could define federalism for the next 100 years. If the Obama administration prevails in its view, it’s hard to see what’s left of federalism.”
Typical of its disdain for Rule of Law, an administration official called the originalist ruling “odd and unconventional,” and the White House promised to continue implementation of the law, despite its being ruled unconstitutional. Several states aren’t waiting around, however. Many are ceasing efforts to comply with the mandates and regulations of the law. Virginia is asking the Supreme Court to expedite its hearings on the law.
Though a full repeal as passed in the House fails to pass the Senate, the Senate does however repeal a portion of Obamacare, a smaller but still significant victory.
In Congress, Senate Republicans tried but failed in a vote for full repeal, 47-51. They did succeed, however, in once again putting all Senate Democrats on record as supporting ObamaCare, a status that will no doubt plague many of those who are up for re-election in 2012. In addition, Senate Republicans succeeded, 81-17, in repealing the onerous requirement that businesses file 1099s for goods purchased from vendors that total $600 or more in a year. That mandate would have been a back-breaker for small businesses. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also introduced legislation allowing states to opt out of any part of ObamaCare.
At the risk of “inciting violence” with fighting metaphors, we hope the continued onslaught against ObamaCare continues to see success, and that this battle to preserve Essential Liberty will eventually be won.
“Monday’s decision is a crucial victory for all Americans in many ways. First, it is an important step toward freeing our economy from the burdens that the ACA has already placed on our small businesses and employers. We need to grow jobs right away, and the ACA has stifled hiring. Second, Judge Vinson has restored the quintessentially American principles of individual liberty and of federalism, protecting the rights enshrined in our Constitution. I agree wholeheartedly with Judge Vinson that this law exceeds the power granted to the federal government. Although the lawsuit will likely proceed to the Supreme Court, today’s ruling is a win for all Americans who now suffer due to an invasive and domineering federal government.” – Freshman Congresswoman Dr. Nan Hayworth, (R-NY)
ObamaCare to Crush States with Medicaid
One of the ways the Democrats’ health care law will fulfill its promise of insuring more Americans is expanding Medicaid to cover more people. The problem with that is not only that Medicaid is a system that has been broken for a long time, but also that states will never be able to afford it with the amount of debt they’re already in. This is the primary reason why 26 states have joined in a lawsuit against it. By opening Medicaid to applicants 33% above the poverty line in 2014, ObamaCare could expand Medicaid enrollment by as much as 25%, according to the plaintiffs in the Florida suit. This means that an item that’s already one of the most expensive items on state budget sheets is about to grow to immense proportions. If ObamaCare isn’t repealed on time, you can bet that other crucial state programs (like education and infrastructure maintenance, for example) will have to be cut. Wall Street Journal
GOP Considers Privatizing Medicare
House Republicans are floating the idea of partially privatizing Medicare in an attempt to save the bloated entitlement. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has released a plan that would allow current enrollees and people within 10 years of eligibility — 55 to 64 — access to Medicare. People outside these parameters would receive a fixed payment at the age of 65 that would allow them to buy into a Medicare-approved private plan from a number of coverage levels. The public remains skeptical, and Democrats have voiced opposition — it is an entitlement program, after all — but we are fast approaching the day when the government simply won’t be able to cover everyone’s favorite entitlement.