Judge Bites Man
Stand by for Extreme Confusion…
A second federal judge ruled on Monday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to enact a health care law that requires Americans to obtain commercial insurance, evening the score at two-to-two in the lower courts as conflicting opinions begin their path to the Supreme Court.
Well, “Obamacare Declared Unconstitutional” isn’t exactly news, is it?
Like a Virginia judge in December, Judge Roger Vinson of Federal District Court in Pensacola, Fla., said he would allow the law to remain in effect while the Obama administration appeals his ruling, a process that could take two years. But unlike his Virginia counterpart, Judge Vinson ruled that the entire health care act should fall if the appellate courts join him in invalidating the insurance requirement.
Remember how the Demrats forgot to initiate a spending bill in the House last fall? Similar oversight: They also forgot to include a “severability clause” in the healthcare bill, which would allow any piece to be struck down without affecting the whole. Not that John Roberts cares about such finer points.
The Justice Department intends to appeal, of course. We’ll just step back and let the lawyers sort it out.
Federal Judge Rules Health Law Violates Constitution [NYT]
Vinson Opinion [Scribd]
The Florida opinion isn’t hackwork, but the judge tossed an easy one to the Scalia wing of the Supremes.
It is to laugh.
I will laugh my ass off if this leads to Single Payer.
Whatever. Everyone knows it’s going to the USSC no matter which way any lower court rules. Wake me when cert is granted.
Judge Vinson needs to read his Kochs-supplied talking points better next time – I suspect severability was *deliberately* not included to try to save the insurers. After all, even the RW economists agree that the other provisions (without the mandate) would basically self-destruct the health insurance industry via adverse selection.
@Dodgerblue: OTOH, some of my legal eagle and policy wonk buddies say that this was actually the best thing to happen to the liberal wing/position on HCR. Namely, the lack of a severability clause was deliberate so that once the RATS wing of SCOTUS affirm Vinson, it’ll be universal health care as the only constitutionally acceptable option, and the public will be open to it because the lack of a stay on implementation means folks will get used to some of the perks of Obamacare.
I think that’s a really ambitious gamble, and I wouldn’t put my money on it. Then again, I’m a very cautious person, and never gamble. Nojo reminded us in 2008 that Obama was a sharp poker player, so who knows, maybe my buddies are right and this was all an elaborate move to say “Well then, Medicare for All.”
@SanFranLefty: Do your buddies also have a taste for 9/11 conspiracies?
Honestly, that’s a wildly complex theory. Applying Occam (and news reports, and general tendencies), it’s far easier to say that Obama sold us out to the insurance companies with a Republican proposal that the Republicans decided they didn’t like, because that would give him a victory.
Poker against a single electoral opponent is a far simpler proposition.
I think MayorEmanuel said it best:
Is it a preexisting condition when every fucking healthcare opponent is a fucking cancer in my ass?
@nojo: You have no idea the crazy (and brilliant) shit constitutional lawyers think up. Sometimes it works.
ADD: IOW, Constitutional Lawyers are a whole nuther breed of lawyer, IMHO.
@nojo: This isn’t tinfoil territory. I’d give it 5-10% odds.
As JNOV said, it’s crazy enough to be brilliant.
@JNOV: And, oh thx. Because when people ask me what I do I tell them either I’m a civil rights attorney or a Constitutional Law attorney. Depends on whether they’re a liberal (the former) or a teabagger (the latter).
@SanFranLefty: Right on! Yeah, ConLaw nerdz (I’m a wannabe) think in flow charts. I think y’all visualize them. And it’s not all binary yes/no shit. It’s yes/no/I can make this a yes or no if I think about it enough. ConLaw nerdz don’t just read the footnotes, they read the cases in the footnotes and journal articles before class. They ask questions in class that I just don’t fucking understand. :-)
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