1/31/2011

Copy of Florida Judge's decision declaring Obamacare to be unconstitutional

A copy of U.S. District Court in Pensacola Justice Roger Vinson's decision is available here. Forbes describes the case this way:

In a ruling out of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola Justice Roger Vinson has declared that the primary mechanism whereby the health reform achieves universal insurance coverage–the individual mandate–is unconstitutional.

With this ruling, and a similar one in December by Judge Henry Hudson in Virgina, it’s likely that the U.S. Surpreme 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 disagreed with the constitutional challenge.)

Henry Hudson, the Virginia judge who ruled in favor of that state’s legal challenge, focused on whether Congress has the ability, via the Commerce Clause, to force uninsured people to buy insurance. He concluded that it does not. Vinson, on the other hand, signaled in an earlier ruling that he was interested in whether the federal fine for not buying insurance is a tax or a penalty. If it’s a penalty, the legislation relies on a broad Commerce Clause interpretation. If it’s a tax, it’s much more difficult to make a constitutional claim against it.

In today’s ruling he writes: “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.” . . .



Obama (Feb. 28, 2008) in an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' television show said:
“Both of us want to provide health care to all Americans. There’s a slight difference, and her plan is a good one. But, she mandates that everybody buy health care. She’d have the government force every individual to buy insurance and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance, it’s that they can’t afford it. “So, I focus more on lowering costs. This is a modest difference. But, it’s one that she’s tried to elevate, arguing that because I don’t force people to buy health care that I’m not insuring everybody. Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t."

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