Meanwhile the Obama administration is planning to continue implementing the law in direct violation of the judge’s order. Imagine the media outrage if George Bush had ignored a federal court ruling.
Judge Vinson chose to use the original tea party to illustrate the absurdity of claiming that our constitution grants the government the right to force people to buy health insurance:
It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.
The full text of the ruling can be found here.
The judge also referred to a Reason TV debate between conservative law professor John Eastman and liberal professor Erwin Chemerinsky on the individual mandate and the Commerce Clause. Watch “Wheat, Weed and Obamacare” to understand why a federal ruling finally putting a limit on what Congress can do under the Commerce Clause is so important if we want to preserve any limits on the power of the federal government. It is well worth investing ten minutes to watch this debate:
Judge Vinson’s ruling will eventually go to the Supreme Court possibly in 2012 just before the election. It is likely that a 5-4 majority will either uphold or overturn this ruling. Let’s hope that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the Court, sides with Judge Vinson and the Constitution.