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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Obamacare Is Dead, Now It Just Has To Be Buried

In accordance with Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Title 28, United States Code, Section 2201(a), a Declaratory Judgment shall be entered separately, declaring “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” unconstitutional.

(Above quote from ruling, page #77-78)

Ruling embedded at the bottom of the post.

The White House and Liberals are howling about judicial activism but the 78 page ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson was well thought out and exhaustive in its reasoning and explanations and after going though the ruling itself and the discussions surrounding the ruling, it is apparent that Vinson has dotted all his i's and crossed all his t's.

Congress exceeded it's authority in attempting to force individuals to purchase a service and the White House, by it's own actions and those of Congress, removed the severability clause that could have saved other portions of Obamacase aka Affordable Care Act, from an earlier version and Judge Vinson careful highlights that on page #67 and 68.

The lack of a severability clause in this case is significant because one had been included in an earlier version of the Act, but it was removed in the bill that subsequently became law. “Where Congress includes [particular] language in an earlier version of a bill but deletes it prior to enactment, it may be presumed that the [omitted provision] was not intended.” Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16, 23-24, 104 S. Ct. 296, 78 L. Ed. 2d 17 (1983). In other words, the severability clause was intentionally left out of the Act. The absence of a severability clause is further significant because the individual mandate was controversial all during the progress of the legislation and Congress was undoubtedly well aware that legal challenges were coming. Indeed, as noted earlier, even before the Act became law, several states had passed statutes declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional and purporting to exempt their residents from it; and Congress’ own attorneys in the CRS had basically advised that the challenges might well have legal merit as it was “unclear” if the individual mandate had “solid constitutional foundation.” See CRS Analysis, supra, at 3. In light of the foregoing, Congress’ failure to include a severability clause in the Act (or, more accurately, its decision to not include one that had been included earlier) can be viewed as strong evidence that Congress recognized the Act could not operate as intended without the individual mandate.

As mentioned yesterday when the news of the ruling first broke, Vinson also stated directly "While the individual mandate was clearly 'necessary and essential' to the act as drafted, it is not 'necessary and essential' to health care reform in general," he continued. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void."

The White House may ask a higher court for a stay on this ruling but barring that and despite reports to the contrary, Judge Vinson not only declared the whole Act void but also ensured the White either stop implementation or break the law by continuing to implement portions of Obamacare until a final court ruling comes to pass.

Cato@Liberty explains by using a quote from page #75 of the Vinson ruling:

Declaratory judgment is, in a context such as this where federal officers are defendants, the practical equivalent of specific relief such as an injunction . . . since it must be presumed that federal officers will adhere to the law as declared by the court. [Quoting a D.C. Circuit opinion written by none other than then-Judge Antonin Scalia]

Without a stay on this ruling from a higher court, continuing to implement any part of it will be against the law and the New York Times reports that a senior White House official has stated "Implementation would continue apace."

The Pensacola case is now likely to head to the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, considered one of the country’s most conservative appellate benches. The Richmond case is already with another conservative court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, which has set oral arguments for May.

There is no doubt this case will make it to the Supreme Court and each ruling against it from lower courts will be written to carefully highlight the legal reasoning on how Congress and Barack Obama have exceeded their authority by trying to regulate inactivity on the part of American citizens.

Congress as well as presidents do have limits to their power and the constitutionality of Obamacare was brought up continually during the battle waged to keep it from being passed. Obama and the then-Democratically controlled House and Senate arrogantly waved those concerns away, hell bent on passage of Obamacare and now those decisions as well as a sloppily written law, are all being picked apart and shown publicly just how careless they were by the court system.

Democrats are now scrambling for alternatives but with the House of Representatives now controlled by Republicans, Democrats no longer have control to jam through anything they want as they did in March when they passed Obamacare.

As mentioned by others but something which needs to be passed on far and wide as further proof that Barack Obama speaks from both sides of his mouth, Judge Vinson includes a footnote, page #76)

On this point, it should be emphasized that while the individual mandate was clearly “necessary and essential” to the Act as drafted, it is not “necessary and essential” to health care reform in general. It is undisputed that there are various other (Constitutional) ways to accomplish what Congress wanted to do. Indeed, 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.” See Interview on CNN’s American Morning, Feb. 5, 2008, transcript available at: 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.
See Christopher Lee, Simple Question Defines Complex Health Debate, Washington Post, Feb. 24, 2008, at A10 (quoting Senator Obama as saying: "In some cases, there are people [in Massachusetts] who are paying fines and still can't afford [health insurance], so now they're worse off than they were . . . They don't have health insurance, and they're paying a fine . . .”).

Obamacare is dead. The funeral may be a couple years down the road but Democrats and progressive liberals that encouraged their Democratically controlled Congress to act carelessly will have those years to go through their 5 stages of grief.

Denial- Check Check
Anger- Check
Bargaining - Check Check Check

Embedded ruling:

Vinson Ruling