UPDATE ADDED BELOW ON JUDGE VINSON’S JANUARY 31 DECISION TO STRIKE DOWN PPACA
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has dealt the Obama DOJ a major defeat in the case brought by twenty state attorneys general challenging the power of Congress to pass a law requiring everyone to buy health insurance.
One of the most important parts of the ruling involved the Obama administration’s ridiculous claim that the individual mandate is somehow a tax. Here are Judge Vinson’s precise words on that point:
Congress did not intend to impose a tax when it imposed the penalty. To hold otherwise would require me to look beyond the plain words of the statute.
He also dealt a blow to the government’s claim that the Constitution’s commerce clause gives Congress the power to impose an insurance mandate. Here are Judge Vinson’s precise words on that point:
At this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call. . . This case law is instructive, but ultimately inconclusive because the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause have never been applied in such a manner before. The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent.
He went on to discuss the difference between regulating an economic activity, like buying a car or a house, and attempting to regulate an economic nonactivity—-like refusing to buy health insurance:
[In the latter] case we are dealing with something very different. The individual mandate applies across the board. People have no choice and there is no way to avoid it. Those who fall under the individual mandate either comply with it, or they are penalized. It is not based on an activity that they make the choice to undertake. Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive.
On Monday, January 31, Judge Vinson ruled the entire ObamaCare law unconstitutional. He also granted the states “declaratory relief,” which has the effect of an injunction. My write-up for the American Spectator on that ruling can be found here.
Judge Vinson was able to strike down the entire corrupt edifice because the Democrats neglected to include a severability clause. My discussion of that interesting piece of legal arcana can be found here.