U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson found that Congress could not order individuals to buy health insurance.
In a 42-page opinion, Hudson said the provision of the law that requires most individuals to get insurance or pay a fine by 2014 is an unprecedented expansion of federal power that cannot be supported by Congress’s power to regulate interstate trade.
“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.]
if the mandate goes down at the Supreme Court level, I’m not certain how any of it stands given the lack of severability.
Today Federal District Judge Henry Hudson ruled against the Obama Administration on three essential points involving Obamacare:
1. Individuals who do not actively participate in commerce — that is, who do not voluntarily purchase health insurance — cannot be said to be participating in commerce under the United States Constitution’s Commerce Clause, and there is no Supreme Court precedent providing otherwise;
2. The Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution cannot be used as a backdoor means to enforce a statute that is not otherwise constitutional under Congress’s enumerated powers;
and 3. There is a difference between a tax and a penalty, there is much Supreme Court precedent in this regard, and the penalty provision in Obamacare is not a tax but a penalty and, therefore, is unconstitutional for it is applied to individuals who choose not to purchase health care.
According to the WaPo article, 59% of the majority of Americans who oppose Obamacare want the law repealed. John Hinderaker:
The main impact of today’s ruling, and any similar future rulings, likely will be to keep the issue of repeal alive. Scott Rasmussen finds that support for repeal has risen to 60 percent, with only 34 percent opposing repeal. The Democrats assumed, I think, that if they rammed Obamacare down our throats in spite of the bill’s well-known unpopularity, it would become a fait accompli and voters would become resigned to it. So far, at least, that hasn’t happened, and adverse rulings like Judge Hudson’s will add fuel to the pro-repeal fire.
You can read the ruling here.