UPDATED: Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional

ANOTHER UPDATE: And now reps. Bill Cassidy, Steve Scalise and John Fleming have weighed in.

Cassidy…

“This is one of many important steps to enacting real health reform that lowers costs, expands access to high quality care, and is consistent with the principles of individual freedom that Americans value.” 

“Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide whether the individual mandate is constitutional.  I do not believe the Constitution allows for the federal government to require citizens to purchase a particular product, and am hopeful that the Court will agree today’s decision.”

Scalise…

“Today’s decision is a resounding victory for the American people and ensures that the principles set forth in the Constitution by our founding fathers remain intact. Many of us have said from the beginning that President Obama’s health care law was unconstitutional, so it is welcome news that the federal court agrees with us in this critical ruling. 

“Today’s ruling underscores why it is critical that we repeal the unconstitutional government takeover of health care and replace it with real reforms that lower costs and actually address the problems in health care without the unconstitutional mandates and taxes in their bill.  President Obama needs to acknowledge this decision and come back to the table as we work to implement real solutions to the problems facing health care in America.”

Fleming…

“Today’s ruling marked a major milestone in the fight to end the unconstitutional government takeover of health care. It is also a significant victory for the majority of American’s who firmly opposed this legislation.

“While Judge Hudson’s ruling is a step in the right direction, we must continue to remain vigilant as this process moves forward.  Republicans will continue to stand with the American people in the fight to repeal this law and replace it will market-based patient-centered solutions.”

UPDATE: Rep. Charles Boustany and Sen. David Vitter have now weighed in on the decision.

Boustany…

“This ruling clearly demonstrates one of the most significant problems with the legislation, which I will continue to aggressively fight in the upcoming Congress,” Boustany said. “It is wrong for the federal government to mandate that Americans purchase more expensive Washington-approved coverage.  This court decision is a step in the right direction towards repealing Obamacare and replacing it with commonsense, affordable solutions.”

Vitter…

“This ruling confirms what I and so many others have been saying all along about Obamacare: that it’s an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government that infringes on the rights of Louisianians and their doctors to make their own health care decisions,” said Vitter.  “The American people have sent the message loud and clear that they want Congress to undo the damage before it’s too late.  As this case makes its way toward the Supreme Court, I’ll continue working in the Senate to defund, dismantle and push my own bill to flat-out repeal Obamacare.”

ORIGINAL POST: Obamacare was ruled unconstitutional today by Virginia Judge Henry E. Hudson. Specifically, he struck down the individual mandate requiring individuals to purchase health care. However, Hudson ruled that the other aspects of the bill were legal. Hudson released a 42 page opinion, which is summed up by the following:

“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market,” he wrote. “In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]

The decision is a significant political victory for proponents of repeal, and it was a widely anticipated outcome given Hudson’s questions prior to the ruling.  The most puzzling aspect of the decision was that the judge did not strike down the entire bill.  The individual mandate for health care purchase was the primary funding mechanism for the bill.  Without that provision, there is no way to pay for the bill.  Hudson reasoned that there was no reason to repeal the entire bill because it did not  begin to go into effect until 2014.

Regardless, Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, is pushing ahead to bypass the fourth circuit court of appeals and proceed straight to the Supreme Court.  The maneuver is interesting in that this tactic is usually approved for cases that have vital public ramifications.  He certainly  has an argument on that front.  He is attempting to convince the White House to agree to the procedure, arguing that it is in their interest to seek a swift resolution.

However, it is unlikely that the Administration will agree to the request.  They would hope that they face a Clinton appointee in the next circuit who would overrule the current judgement.  Hudson is a Bush appointee.



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