ObamaCare is unconstitutional. But Democrats could frankly care less what that meaningless moldy old document says.
Twenty-six states demanded that ObamaCare be declared unconstitutional in this decision, not counting Virginia which previously got its own successful decision against ObamaCare.
Federal District Judge Roger Vinson’s incredibly well-reasoned Constitution-based decision is available here.
A good article on this story was written by David Whelan for Forbes:
Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola ruled today that the primary mechanism used by the health reform legislation to achieve universal insurance coverage–the individual mandate–is illegal. If his ruling stands it would void the 2,700 page, $938 billion health reform bill passed last year.
“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,” Vinson writes.
With this ruling, and a similar one in December by Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, it’s likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will be the final arbiter of whether ObamaCare stands. Two other lawsuits–one in Michigan and one in Virginia–were thrown out by other federal district judges last year who ruled the constitutional challenge lacked merit.
Most analysts were expecting a ruling in favor of the 26 states hoping to overturn the bill. Vinson, in an earlier ruling, suggested that the federal fine for not buying insurance is more of a penalty than a tax. If it’s a penalty, the legislation relies on a broad interpretation of federal regulatory powers. If it’s a tax, as the Department of Justice’s lawyers argued, it’s much more difficult to make a constitutional objection.
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 there’s a risk that only sick people would buy insurance and healthy people would wait or be priced out of the market. To address that problem, the bill forces everyone who does not have insurance to buy it. The combination of “guaranteed issue” and the “individual mandate” is the beating heart of the health bill.
While the new rules banning medical underwriting are popular, the individual mandate has bred resentment. The bill’s authors never anticipated the mandate would become a ripe target for legal challenges.
The argument that’s had the most traction is based on the limitations of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Commerce Clause explicitly allows the federal government regulate interstate commerce. But it also has been used to justify federal laws that affect other kinds of economic activity. The question raised by the lawsuit against the health reform bill is whether refusing to buy insurance constitutes interstate commerce. In his ruling Vinson says that in the past the Commerce Clause has been used to regulate activities like growing marijuana or navigating a waterway, but not used to force someone to do something they weren’t already doing. “It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause,” he writes.
Vinson rejects the administration’s argument that the health care market is unique since nobody can truly opt out–and that not buying insurance is in itself an economic activity since the cost of care then falls on others. Vinson mocks this argument, writing: “Everyone must participate in the food market… under this logic, Congress could [mandate] that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily.” If they didn’t buy wheat bread they might have a bad diet which would put a strain on the health care system, he writes.
Later he offers another analogy: “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.” Vinson concludes: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.”
Judge Vinson marshalled quite a few opinions against ObamaCare. Interestingly, one of them was Obama’s himself.
From the Washington Times:
In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, arguing that there are other ways to tackle health care short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.
“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that ‘if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of the 78-page ruling Monday.
Democrats have established quite a recent history in thumbing their noses at the Constitution.
Charles Krauthammer had this to say on Fox News Special Report on January 5th about Democrats literally boycotting the reading of the Constitution on the House floor:
KRAUTHAMMER: “It is truly astonishing. One member of Congress called it a long, dull document. The New York Times editorial reading of the Constitution in the House is presumptuous. Liberals got in trouble in the 60s and 70s for being on the wrong side of the flag and the anti-war demonstrations and now three decades later, they want to be on the wrong side of the Constitution.
The Constitution, after all – when these members were sworn in today, that they did not swear to defend the country or the army or the people; it was to defend the Constitution. That is the essence of America, and it is what makes us unique and why we are a country not of blood or race but ideas. For liberals to think that there is actually an advantage in dismissing reading the Constitution and the requirement of having a constitutional reason to introduce a bill is real bad politics.”
It wasn’t just “bad politics.” Krauthammer underscored that better than anyone. It was contemptible citizenship. It was the act of unAmerican people.
One Democrat actually called the reading of the U.S. Constitution “propaganda,” adding that a reading of the Constitution amounted to “total nonsense.” He added that Republicans were reading it “like a sacred text.” When, of course, so many Democrats treat it more like toilet paper. Liberal Ezra Klein added historical ignorance to his moral ignorance by saying that the Constitution is confusing, having been written “a hundred years ago,” and that it is no longer binding. Obviously, liberal Ezra Klein is an ignorant fool.
It is beyond official at this point. We can separate the population of the United States of America into two groups: the American people and the unAmerican people. And the Democrat Party has become the party of the unAmericans.
UnAmericans don’t give a damn about America. They want to change it, pervert it, warp it, distort it. They want to make it into something that it never was and never should have been. And they call their effort “hope and change.”
Mind you, that’s “hope and change” in the direction set by Karl Marx; never the one set by George Washington.
A Muslim extremist named Tayyip Erdogan had this to say about democracy, comparing democracy to a bus: “You ride it to your destination, and then you step off.” Democrats were elected democratically; and then they started imposing their 2,700 pages of fascism using every procedural gimmick in the book. Nancy Pelosi actually said:
“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Let’s take another bus tour to how we got ObamaCare shoved down our throat:
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi:
(CNSNews.com) – When CNSNews.com asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance–a mandate included in both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill–Pelosi dismissed the question by saying: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
Youtube audio of Nancy Pelosi dismissing constitutionality:
Yeah, people who actually care about the Constitution, and care about the fact that our lawmakers – who take an oath to uphold the Constitution – actually consider it.
Rep. Pete Stark, responding to a question on health care:
Questioner: “If this legislation is constitutional, what limitations are there on the federal government’s ability to tell us how to run our private lives?”
Rep. Stark: “I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life. now the basis for that would be how does that affect other people.”
Questioner: “The constitution specially enumerates certain powers to the federal government, and leaves all other authority to the states. The constitution is very limited as to what it can do…. if they can do this, what can’t they do?”
Rep. Stark: “The federal government, yes, can do almost anything in this country.”
Watch the Youtube video of this question and answer:
Liberal Supreme Court justices imposed abortion on the grounds of a fundamental right to privacy – which is actually nowhere to be found in the Constitution – based on nothing more than “penumbras and emanations” discerned from gazing into the Constitution like a crystal ball rather than like a historical document. Now they are saying there IS no right to privacy of any kind, whatsoever in order to impose government health care and all the violations of rights and liberties that go hand-in-hand with that imposition. Because it never was about the Constitution or even about any right to privacy; it was always about using whatever rhetorical argument they wanted to get the result they wanted. So they said we had a right to privacy until the right to privacy got in their way.
If the federal government can do almost anything in this country, how then do you stop the next dictatorship? How do you stop tyranny? How do you stop totalitarian big government?
And let’s consider a corresponding Democrat’s statement on the same subject of government health care:
Democrat Rep. John Dingell:
“The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re passing legislation that will cover 300 million American people in different ways, it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”
And, of course, Dingell is right: it takes time and effort to abandon the Constitution – which places limits on federal power – and then impose controls on the people that utterly abandon any scintilla of any meaningful form of constitutional government.
Democrat Robin Carnahan, Missouri Secretary of State and candidate for the United States Senate:
Carnahan: “We’re going to also have a libertarian and a Constitution Party candidate running. And I will tell you no one’s going to know who they are, but it’s not going to matter, because Glenn Beck says you’re supposed to be for the Constitution, and there is some percentage of people who will go vote for them. And in our internal polling about six or seven percent goes like that to the Libertarian and Constitution Party. So I’m quite sure that whoever wins is going to do it with less than fifty percent of the vote.” […]
Donor: “You just don’t sound like those Constitution Party votes are going to come out of your account.”
Carnahan: “What do you think?” (Audience laughter)
Donor: “I think you’re right.” (Audience laughter)
Here’s the Youtube audio of that exchange:
Stop and think about that: it is a matter of mocking derision that no one who actually cares about the integrity of the Constitution is going to vote for the Democrats. And in fact Robin Carnahan – who is serving as a Democrat in the office of Secretary of State – cynically intends to exploit the fact that she can divide those who care about the Constitution and win by attrition.
And they mock the fact that no one who votes Democrat gives a leaping damn about the Constitution.
Take Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky on “The Stephanie Miller Show” on 9/30/2010:
“Actually, I think really what it was was an effort to get the Tea Partiers to think that they really have some sort of revolutionary plan, because at the beginning they quote a lot from the Constitution, the idea that free people can govern themselves, that the government powers are derived from the consent of the governed.
All that stuff that I think that, that that’s an effort to try to appeal to those people, the Tea Party.
They embrace the Tenth Amendment – ‘tenthers,’ you know?”
The audio of the interview is available here.
That Tenth Amendment is a real load of crap, right?
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Let’s just go ahead and abolish it so we can have the kind of totalitarian big government that Democrats yearn for. Because Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, and all these other leftist dictators were just such groovy people, and we need their ilk here in red, white and blue America.
Yeah, that’s right. Ridicule me, Rep. Schakowsky. Call me a “tenther” like I’m a “birther” or a “truther” or some sort of nutjob because – unlike Democrats – I actually honor our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.
Jan Schakowsky calls Tea Party people “extreme” because they actually take their Constitution seriously. But this is a woman who was perfectly willing to abandon principles to turn ObamaCare into a Trojan horse for a socialist single payer system (and see also here). This is a woman who said:
“A public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer” – Rep. Jan Schakowsky (to wild applause).
Marxism and communism is not extreme. Nope. It’s not extreme to use ObamaCare as a vehicle to put the private sector out of business so you can sneak in a government-planned economy. What’s “extreme” is believing in the Constitution that Democrats such as Jan Schakowsky once deceitfully swore an oath to uphold.
Democrats spent over a year imposing 2,700 pages of unconstitutional “laws” upon a people who never wanted it. And now, amazingly, they’re demanding that Republicans merely recognize that it’s done and over with, and move on.
Fortunately, Republicans DO care about the Constitution. And they’re going to fight Democrats for the soul of this country.
If Democrats give a damn about the American people, they will join Republicans in demanding that this verdict go immediately to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final judgment. Rule 11 of the Supreme Court allows particularly important cases that are of imperative public importance to gain such an emergency hearing. But only if both sides agree. If Democrats don’t demand this, they will continue to do even more harm in keeping the American people in the dark about how to plan. Businesses will continue to hold off on hiring, and the economy will continue to suffer until this decision is finalized.