Appeals Court: Obamacare Mandate Unconstitutional
by Andy Adams on August 13, 2011 at 5:11 PM
The 11th Circuit has found that Obamacare's mandate to force Americans to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit panel of three judges upheld (2 to 1) a Florida District Court's decision that the mandate was unconstitutional. However, the panel declined to affirm the full scope of Judge Vinson's ruling and hold the entire law unconstitutional. We reported on Judge Vinson's decision here.
"This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives," the majority said in its opinion.
That opinion was jointly written by Judges Joel Dubina, who was appointed to the appeals court by Republican President George H.W. Bush, and by Frank Hull, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.
If you are keeping score at home that makes Obamacare 1 and 1 at Circuit Court of Appeals level. The 6th Circuit has upheld the individual mandate. The 4th Circuit has yet to rule on Virginia's challenge to the law.
The fact that the 11th Circuit declined to uphold the scope of Judge Vinson's decision is disappointing. The court stated:
While such wholly unrelated provisions are too numerous to bear repeating, representative examples include provisions establishing reasonable break time for nursing mothers, 29 U.S.C. § 207(r); epidemiology-laboratory capacity grants, 42 U.S.C. § 300hh-31; an HHS study on urban Medicare-dependent hospitals, id. § 1395ww note; restoration of funding for abstinence education, id. § 710; and an excise tax on indoor tanning salons, 26 U.S.C. § 5000B. . . . In light of the stand-alone nature of hundreds of the Act’s provisions and their manifest lack of connection to the individual mandate, the plaintiffs have not met the heavy burden needed to rebut the presumption of severability. We therefore conclude that the district court erred in its wholesale invalidation of the Act.
Thus, Obamacare is saved by its own "manifest lack of connection." Looking over this random list is a reminder of what a bad piece of legislation it really is. However, this does not address Judge Vinson's excellent summation of the government's admissions on the "essential" nature of the individual mandate.
Still no word on whether this ruling will accelerate the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or what Justice Anthony Kennedy thinks about it.
Read more about appeals court ruling that Obamacare mandate unconstitutional in comments by TX CD-25 candidate Dianne Costa