The Supreme Court of Florida, under Judge Roger Vinson, has ruled ObamaCare (The Affordable Care Act) unconstitutional, Congress overstepped their authority, and specifically, the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Vinson also found that other parts of the bill cannot survive, because there is no “severability clause in the bill. In other words, parts of the legislation cannot be severed from other parts and become law. Vinson’s ruling essentially says the law cannot be implemented. Period.
This decision, if upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court where it is sure to end up, may be the single most important SCOTUS ruling in our lifetime – may in the country’s history, and that is not an exaggeration, as you will read below.
The short sotry of the Vinson ruling said Congress cannot force us to pay for something we do not want, and they cannot call paying for what we do not want, a tax. Neither Congress’ taxing powers granted by the Constitution, nor the Commerce Clause therein, allows taxing the people for inactivity.
In today’s ruling Vinson considered two arguments made by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, the lead plaintiff on the lawsuit. The first was the legislation forces states to expand Medicaid in a way that’s unaffordable. Vinson quickly dispatches that legal theory, pointing out that Medicaid is and always has been a voluntary program.
The second argument revolves around the individual mandate. The health reform legislation makes it illegal for insurers to discriminate against patients regardless of their health. With that change, and in order to keep the insurance pool from filling up with only sick people, the bill also forces everyone who does not have insurance to buy it over a government exchange. The combination of “guaranteed issue” and the “individual mandate” is the beating heart of the health bill.
Judge Vinson presented another example of what could follow if the mandate is found Constitutional:
“Congress could require that everyone above a certain income threshold buy a General Motors automobile — now partially government-owned — because those who do not buy GM cars (or those who buy foreign cars) are adversely impacting commerce and a taxpayer-subsidized business.” The judge concludes: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.”
In other words, there is not much Congress could NOT require us to do if ObamaCare is ruled constitutional – including buying a car from Government Motors, or insisting that every person buy four pounds of organic carrots because it would be good for carrot farmers, and good for the eyesight of Americans. Dittos cauliflower and broccoli. Goat milk could end up in your grocery cart because it is mandated, and think of the bonus to goat herders rustlers ranchers, breeders, surely they deserve a helping hand from the taxpayer.
Stacy McCain loved that Judge Vinson quoted Barack Obama speaking about mandates in 2008, and specifically how Obama voted at that time, and oh, yes there’s more about the Tea Party and the Judge. Read it here.
The Affordable Care Act is dangerous, and I will not be convinced that the administration did not know exactly what it had spawned.
From The Heritage Foundation – if we must accept a mandate:
…then we have been subjected to “federal control by virtue of the fact that the individual merely resides within the borders of the United States. It will be the first time in the history of the Nation that the Commerce Clause has yielded an action on every single person in the country. Congress will have gained unlimited power.
In Vinson’s conclusion, he said:
“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority….”
Unfortunately, Congress put the American people in the position of agonizing over this law…a law that all thinking people understand expanded the roll of Congress to infinity. I prefer to take Vinson’s “reluctant conclusion” to say that it is unfortunate Congress would act so deceptively and so foolishly. Surely he is not apologizing to Congress and the American people for chopping the head off of an illegal and enslaving mandate.
Judge Vinson acknowledged that health care reform is needed. What is not acknowledged these days is, the many reforms offered, including Tort Reform and buying insurance state lines, that would actually lower the cost of health care with mandating us to do anything. But Tort Reform and efficient purchasing options was not considered because those two options did not grant government the control they so desperately wanted. From Ronald Reagan:
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.
Twenty-five states joined Florida’s lawsuit:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The State of Virginia has already sued and the individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional and Oklahoma has filed it’s own suit.
For detailed information on the Commerce Act and how it applies to the ObamaCare mandate, see this very clear discussion of why the mandate is unconstitutional, including the quote above from The Heritage Foundation. Visit Legal Insurrection for more on Medicaid and ObamaCare and a copy of Vinson’s ruling.