From Washington Times:
In ruling against President Obamaâ€˜s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obamaâ€˜s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.
â€œI 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, â€˜If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,â€™â€ Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.
Judge Vinson, a federal judge in the northern district of Florida, struck down the entire health care law as unconstitutional on Monday, though he is allowing the Obama administration to continue to implement and enforce it while the government appeals his ruling.
A federal district court judge in Florida ruled today that a key provision in the new health care law is unconstitutional, and that the entire law must be voided.
Roger Vinson, a Ronald Reagan appointee, agreed with the 26 state-government plaintiffs that Congress exceeded its authority by passing a law penalizing individuals who do not have health insurance.
“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate,” Vinson writes. “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void.”
And some more from Bloomberg:
President Barack Obamaâ€™s health care law, assailed as an abuse of federal power in a 26-state lawsuit, was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. judge who said Congress overstepped its authority to regulate commerce.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Florida, declared the entire law unconstitutional today in a 78-page opinion. He said the lawâ€™s provision requiring Americans over 18 to obtain insurance coverage exceeded Congressâ€™ powers under the commerce clause of the U.S Constitution.
Florida filed suit on behalf of 13 states on March 23, the same day Obama signed into law the legislation intended to provide the U.S. with almost universal health-care coverage. Seven states joined the suit last year, and six this year. Virginia sued separately on March 23 and Oklahoma filed its own suit on Jan. 21.
â€œRegardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution,â€ the judge wrote. â€œThis case is not about whether the act is wise or unwise legislation. It is about the constitutional role of the federal government.â€
The ruling by Vinson, who was named to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, in 1983, may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta. An appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, is already slated in May to hear challenges to two conflicting lower-court rulings in that state, one upholding the legislation, the other invalidating part of it.
The U.S. Supreme Court may ultimately be asked to consider the issue. According to Vinson, of the four courts that have ruled on the health-care act, two have found that Congress exceeded its authority, while two have not. Vinsonâ€™s ruling is the first to invalidate the entire act.
â€œThe judge has confirmed what many of us knew from the start: Obamacare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people,â€ Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, said in a statement.
The 955-page law bars insurers from denying coverage to people who are sick and from imposing lifetime limits on costs. It also includes pilot projects to test ideas like incentives for better results and bundled payments to medical teams for patient care.
â€œThe Act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker,â€ Judge Vinson wrote.
In a 78-page opinion, Judge Vinson held that the insurance requirement exceeds the regulatory powers granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Judge Vinson wrote that the provision could not be rescued by an associated clause in Article I that gives Congress broad authority to make laws â€œnecessary and properâ€ to carrying out its designated responsibilities.
â€œIf Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain,â€ Judge Vinson wrote.
In his decision, Judge Vinson wrote:
â€œIt would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause.â€
If Congress has such power, he continued, â€œit is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.â€
Media storm about to begin. This Judge will be torn to shreds by evening.
That is all.
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