Florida’s U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a Reagan appointee, ruled that the Obama administration’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional. He said that the new law violates people’s rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.
Attorneys for the administration had argued that the states did not have standing to challenge the law and that the case should be dismissed. Vinson said otherwise. In his ruling, Vinson mentioned that Congress has no authority, under the commerce clause to regulate inactivity.
“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications…He even cited the contradiction of an American government that originally formed out of opposition to a British mandate of taxing tea, and now we have our own American government mandating Americans to buy health insurance (Page 42).
If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce…we would have a Constitution in name only.”
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” [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], 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. 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”Vinson also cited on page 76, Romneycare leaving the state of Massachusetts “worse off.” Oh my! This comes after Axelrod cited Romneycare as influencing Obamacare.
In fact, he pointed to the similar individual mandate in Massachusetts — which was imposed under the state’s police power, a power the federal government does not have — and opined that the mandate there left some residents “worse off” than they had been before.Bravo to the judge for recognizing the unconstitutionality of Obamacare, as well as to those 26 states and attorney generals for pushing this case. As we all know, this case will likely be taken up by the Supreme Court sometime in the near future.