Monday, January 31, 2011

Stunning Footnote In Healthcare Ruling



"I MUST RELUCTANTLY conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate," Vinson writes. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. ---Judge Roger Vinson in ruling Obamacare uncontitutional



In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, arguing that there are other ways to tackle health care short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that ‘if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of the 78-page ruling Monday.

In essence, the judge, and candidate Obama of 2008, conclude that if you mandate health care on the American people what's to keep Congress from mandating home ownership? Buffalo burgers? Priuses? Or....You get the picture.

A federal mandate for Americans to buy anything is setting a very dangerous precedent. First there's health insurance, then car insurance. Then solar water heaters. Then there'll be mandates NOT to buy things like cigarettes, red wine, hellium balloons and salted peanuts for heavens sakes. And where she stops, no body knows!

Why not give up the idea of unconstitutional, unenumerated mandates and let people live by the consequences of their choices to buy or not to buy? That's the trillion dollar question.


William said...

A health care mandate? Unprecedented!

Socialism !

mRed said...

In a forum conversation, which always digresses, the fundamental reason sited for HCR is Republican "hate" which makes Obama's HCR a necessity.

That "hate" includes greed, cabals and secret international corporate control aimed at controlling and then destroying the middle and lower classes.

I'm not kidding.

William said...

What would a conservative physician think of all this?

Also interesting to note that John McCain, Mitt Romney, Orin Hatch, Tommy Thompson and a host of other Republicans supported health insurance mandates at one time. For it before they were against it.

When it was proposed during GHW Bush presidency it was a good idea. When Obama proposes it, it's suddenly a bad idea.


Webutante said...

mRed, Unfortunatley I know you're not kidding but wish you were. All this finger pointing only diverts us further from real solutions which if implemented still won't please all the people all the time.

Thank you.

Webutante said...

William, I don't care who once maybe, sorta, kinda flirted with mandates for health care, I still say it's wrong and unconstitutional for the federal government to try to implement.

Dr. Bill Frist was mistaken.

Last night I got a call from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, evidently now in full gear, asking me for money. Not only did I say 'No!,' I insisted they take me off their call list. I have no interest in electing him to office.

mRed said...


A "Joe" read your post and then posted this on my site:

- - I guess when President John Adams and America's Founding Fathers signed into law America's first healthcare insurance mandate in 1798, they were acting unconstitutionally?

I guess when Republican physician supports the individual mandate, he doesn't know what he's talking about?

You mentioned "greed, cabals and secret international corporate control aimed at controlling and then destroying the middle and lower classes." Thank you for pecisely summing up the conservative decision know as "Citizens United." - -

The 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen is their new meme for supporting mandates. Unfortunately, no where in the act is their a mandate for a private citizen to purchase anything.


Webutante said...

Yes, it is, mRed.

The 'Joe' over there is really William who's the resident pet socialist here. Government seems to be his god and fix for everything under the sun.

William said...

Let me cut to the chase. Congress has ample power and precedent through the Constitution’s “Commerce Clause” to regulate just about any aspect of the national economy. Health insurance is quintessentially an economic good, as Bill Frist has explained through his extensive experience int he field. The only possible objection is that mandating its purchase is not the same as “regulating” its purchase, but a mandate is just a stronger form of regulation. When Congressional power exists, nothing in law says that stronger actions are less supported than weaker ones.

The Constitution protects individual autonomy strongly only when “fundamental rights” are involved. There may be fundamental rights to decide about medical treatments, but having insurance does not require anyone to undergo treatment. It only requires them to have a means to pay for any treatment they might choose to receive. The liberty in question is purely economic and has none of the strong elements of personal or bodily integrity that invoke Constitutional protection. In short, there is no fundamental right to be uninsured, and so various arguments based on the Bill of Rights fall flat.

Chris Taus said...

Obviously this will eventually go all the way to the Supreme Court, but the scholarly ruling by Judge Vinson was well crafted and a real boost to overturning the law. Actually, you now have to say it HAS been overturned, in its entirety, and only a successful series of appeals can save it, absent Congressional action.

Webutante said...

Yes Chris, agreed an extremely well crafted and deeply historical opinion. Thanks for commenting.

William, let me also cut to the chase: The American people are tired of being enslaved in the name of The Commerce Clause. Most of us believe the Constitution places limits on federal control.

This from an email I received yesterday:

'As Judge Vinson took pains to emphasize, the case is not really about health care at all, or the wisdom—we would argue the destructiveness—of the newest entitlement. Rather, the Florida case goes to the core of the architecture of the American system, and whether there are any remaining limits on federal control. Judge Vinson's 78-page ruling in favor of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, among others, is by far the best legal vindication to date of Constitutional principles that form the outer boundaries of federal power.

At the heart of the states' lawsuit is the individual mandate, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance or be penalized for not doing so. "Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States," Judge Vinson writes.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration justified this coercion under the Commerce Clause, so it is fitting that Judge Vinson conducts a deep investigation into its history and intent, including Madison's notes at the Constitutional Convention and the jurisprudence of the first Chief Justice, John Marshall. The original purpose of the Commerce Clause was to eliminate the interstate trade barriers that prevailed under the Articles of Confederation—among the major national problems that gave rise to the Constitution.

The courts affirmed this limited and narrow understanding until the New Deal, when Congress began to regulate harum-scarum and the Supreme Court inflated the clause into a general license for anything a majority happened to favor.

In a major 1942 case, Wickard v. Filburn, the Court held that even growing wheat for personal use was an activity with a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, thus justifying federal restrictions on the use of agricultural land meant to prop up commodity prices. It wasn't until the William Rehnquist Court, a half-century later, that the Justices began to recover some of the original limits, notably in the Lopez (1995) and Morrison (2000) cases.

Webutante said...

Partial Comment from William the Socialist and 'Living' Constitutionist:

'Vinson's arguments about federal authority deal mainly with states’ rights and sovereign power, especially by sentiments about individual rights - the notion that government should not use its authority to tell people how to spend their money. This notion of economic liberty had much greater traction in a prior era, but it has little basis in modern constitutional law. Eighty years ago, the Supreme Court used the concept of “substantive due process” to protect individual economic liberties, but the Court has thoroughly and repeatedly repudiated this body of law since the 1930s.....'

From Webutante:

Basically what you're saying is there are now no limits on what the federal government can order the American people to do or to buy in the name of the Commerce clause. And that recent modern precedents have voided obscured the original intent of the Founders and thre's no going back.

Well, that is indeed what the whole fuss is about. A vast majority of Americans believe this is hogwash and are not willing to tolerate it.

Time will tell. Meanwhile I suggest you take your Bolshevik baloney over to the HuffPo and pontificate there.