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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breaking: Florida Judge Rejects Obama Admin's Plea To Dismiss Obamacare Lawsuits

The individual mandate, where Obamacare would be able to force people to buy a product (health insurance) is one of the two issues the judge has allowed to go forward.

Fox reports:

A Florida federal judge rejected a request on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss in its entirety a lawsuit challenging the federal government's health care law, paving the way for a legal battle involving 20 states, Fox News Channel reported.


Click here for the 65-page opinion; here for all earlier LB coverage of the suit, which was filed the same day Obama signed the bill into law.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had already indicated at a hearing last month that he would reject parts of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.

But in his formal ruling on Thursday, Vinson said the case would continue as scheduled. He had previously set a hearing for Dec. 16.

The Politico:

Judge Roger Vinson of Florida's Northern District, a Reagan appointee, ruled that two elements of a lawsuit brought by Bill McCollum and 19 other attorneys general could proceed. A Michigan judge recently ruled against a similar suit.

The charges that survive:

That "the individual mandate and concomitant penalty exceed Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause and violate the Ninth and Tenth Amendments";

and "the Act coerces and commandeers the states with respect to Medicaid by altering and expanding the program in violation of Article I and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments."

[Update] Althouse points to the relevant portion of the judges ruling:

Finally, the judge considered the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. He dismissed some of the claims relating to state sovereignty, and I won't bore you by attempting to paraphrase this part. If you don't know the law in this area, you'd be better off trying to read pages 41-58 of the opinion. So let me confine myself to the individual mandate. Judge Vinson rejects the due process argument, because the scrutiny in this area is minimal and Congress had a rational basis for the mandate. But the Commerce Clause challenge survived.
At this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call. I have read and am familiar with all the pertinent Commerce Clause cases... This case law is instructive, but ultimately inconclusive because the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause have never been applied in such a manner before.... There are several obvious ways in which Heart of Atlanta and Wickard differ markedly from this case... Those cases... involved activities in which the plaintiffs had chosen to engage. All Congress was doing was saying that if you choose to engage in the activity of operating a motel or growing wheat, you are engaging in interstate commerce and subject to federal authority....
... The individual mandate applies across the board. People have no choice and there is no way to avoid it. Those who fall under the individual mandate either comply with it, or they are penalized. It is not based on an activity that they make the choice to undertake. Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive....