“The Obama administration pushed back forcefully on Monday afternoon against a Florida judge’s ruling that its signature health care law is invalid, calling the judgment a legally “dubious” reading of the law…
“‘I’m not a lawyer,’ said Axelrod, from a makeshift office in the West Wing. ‘But I will tell you that I think that many lawyers are very dubious about that. The role of the courts is not to look for expansive opportunities to invalidate an act of Congress — it is to rule narrowly as possible and leave intact the intent of the legislation. So I’m sure that will be a matter of intense discussion and debate as this case moves forward in the courts.'”
“Today’s ruling – issued by Judge Vinson in the Northern District of Florida – is a plain case of judicial overreaching. The judge’s decision contradicts decades of Supreme Court precedent that support the considered judgment of the democratically elected branches of government that the Act’s ‘individual responsibility’ provision is necessary to prevent billions of dollars of cost-shifting every year by individuals without insurance who cannot pay for the health care they obtain. And the judge declared that the entire law is null and void even though the only provision he found unconstitutional was the ‘individual responsibility; provision. This decision is at odds with decades of established Supreme Court law, which has consistently found that courts have a constitutional obligation to preserve as a much of a statute as can be preserved. As a result, the judge’s decision puts all of the new benefits, cost savings and patient protections that were included in the law at risk…
“We don’t let people wait until after they’ve been in a car accident to apply for auto insurance and get reimbursed, and we don’t want to do that with healthcare. If we’re going to outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, the only way to keep people from gaming the system and raising costs on everyone else is to ensure that everyone takes responsibility for their own health insurance.”
“Senior administration officials vowed implementation of the law would ‘proceed apace.’ The Justice Department is appealing the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit…
“Asked by a reporter whether the ruling would have any practical impact on implementation of the law at all, a second senior official said ‘no…we don’t see any basis for that judgment.’
“Obama officials predicted states party to the lawsuit would not use the ruling as a basis to resist mandates in the law. ‘I don’t believe any state would take that position,’ said the first senior administration official.”
“Personally, I think Vinson is exactly right. The Framers would be aghast at the idea that the federal government has the power to force citizens to do something they don’t want to do. The only two areas where this could happen would be a military draft and jury duty, which arise under different constitutional provisions. As Judge Vinson nicely points out, it would be astounding to think that a people who revolted from Great Britain because they didn’t want to buy tea from a British monopoly would allow a new federal government to force people to buy tea. (Was this, in fact, a veiled reference to the Tea Partiers? I am sure the kooks on the far Left will soon be scanning video of tea party meetings in Florida to see if Judge Vinson has been to any). If the federal government can force people to buy insurance, or cars, or to eat and exercise for better health, there is no stopping point to its powers — the very result that the Framers guarded against by carefully enumerating Congress’s powers in the Constitution.”
“The political cost of striking down the legislation has been reduced by the decision of the House to vote for the repeal. It is not that the courts dutifully follow the election returns. It is that they are less constrained in how they think about a case once they do not fear the kinds of political retribution that leave even independent judges quaking in their boots.
“At the same time, the intellectual appeal of the antigovernment case has picked up because the United States has yet to sound a consistent theme in support of the legislation. The challengers keep stressing two simple points. First, if this mandate is allowed, there are no actions that cannot be coerced by state action, no matter how egregious and intrusive in form. Second, the novelty of this case, with its action/inaction decision, has persuaded the courts that the case marks an unprecedented extension of the law in ways that the Framers—indeed even the architects of the New Deal—could not have anticipated…
“This decision is in some sense only a preliminary canter, for everything depends on what the nine Justices will do. But do not put it beyond possibility that the spate of lower court decision gives cover to the Supreme Court if it chooses to knock out the statute. It is one thing to do this when all lower courts have thought the legislation fine. It is quite another to do this when other courts have issued reasoned opinions that help place the Supreme Court in the newly found political mainstream.”
“‘There is one person in the United States who will decide on this law, and that’s Anthony Kennedy,’ Seidman said. ‘He’s not going to be unduly influenced by what a district judge in Florida says. All of this is just scrimmaging.'”
Via the Daily Caller.