Friday, August 12, 2011

Obamacare Unconstitutional: 11th Circuit

It has just been announced that the Eleventh Circuit Court in Atlanta has ruled the Obamacare law unconstitutional.  The finding backs up US District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling on the matter from last January.  The most telling point of the 11th circuit's decision is:
[T]he individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional.  This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives. . . .

The federal government’s assertion of power, under the Commerce Clause, to issue an economic mandate for Americans to purchase insurance from a private company for the entire duration of their lives is unprecedented, lacks cognizable limits, and imperils our federalist structure.
Oddly, the court made an effort to rule that the mandate provision of the law has a "presumption of severability" which had been found before.  The law was written (and we have been able to read it, after Nancy Pelosi's famous quip that the law would have to be passed first before we could see it) so that it is an all-or-nothing bet -- no provision being severable from the rest.

Since the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati ruled in favour of the law in June, this makes it even more likely that the final decision on the matter will rest with the Supreme Court.

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