ObamaCare mandated every citizen must buy health insurance in order to remain a citizen on good standing, in effect forcing people into an economic activity – buying a service from a provider whether they want to or not - and justifying it under the Commerce Clause. The judge wasn't buying it, nor the governments claim that even inactivity is really economic activity, particularly in light of the fact that citizens can't buy health insurance across state lines, therefore the activity isn't considered interstate commerce. (In case you aren't aware, the Commerce Clause in the constitution deals with regulating interstate commerce as a means of preventing one state from putting up barriers to trade with other states.) The government really tried to stretch the meaning of the Commerce Clause into areas it was never meant to cover.
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.
Ironically, congressional Democrats of the 111th Congress may have laid the foundations of the law's own destruction.
As such, severability allows for one portion of a statute in question to be struck down as unconstitutional without affecting the rest of it. Without it, if one portion is struck down, the entire statute is struck down. Should Judge Vinson's decision survive appeal, and if required, Supreme Court review, ObamaCare will be dead.
Judge Vinson also went beyond the Virginia case in striking down the entire ObamaCare statute—paradoxically, an act of judicial modesty. Democrats intentionally left out a "severability" clause if one part of the bill was struck down, and the Administration repeatedly argued that the individual mandate was "essential" to the bill's goals and mechanisms and compared it to "a finely crafted watch." Judge Vinson writes that picking and choosing among thousands of sections would be "tantamount to rewriting a statute in an attempt to salvage it."
So much for Nancy Pelosi's dismissal of ObamaCare's constitutionality.
Vinson went deeper, also addressing the backdoor use of the Necessary and Proper Clause to justify the government's actions.
So, in effect what the government was trying to do was create a health care crisis, and then use that crisis to implement control over the health care system. It sounds almost like the old Mob “protection” racket: “Gee, that's a nice health care system you've got there. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it....” It's almost like something out of The Untouchables. (Hey, didn't that take place in Chicago? And isn't Obama a creation of the Chicago political machine? I'm just sayin'....)
Judge Vinson flatly rejected the administration's attempt to escape the restrictions of the Commerce Clause by appealing to the Necessary and Proper Clause. His decision acknowledges that, while reforming an insurance market is a regulation of commerce, Congress cannot artificially create its own "free rider" crisis in the insurance market and then use that crisis to justify an otherwise unconstitutional mandate as "necessary and proper" to save the market from collapse.
The decision has affected at least one state not part of the suit.
Here in New Hampshire, Republican House leaders have called on the Executive Council to reject a proposed $610,675 consulting contract that would lay the groundwork for implementing the provisions of ObamaCare.
While the previously Democrat majority legislature and Executive Council would have likely gone along with this effort, the present legislature – a heavy GOP super-majority in both the House and Senate – and the all Republican Executive Council, are likely to block any action or funding for such an effort, particularly in light of Judge Vinson's decision. With a return to fiscal sanity in Concord, it is highly unlikely the legislature or the council will go along with something that will eventually lead to millions being added to the budget deficit already facing the state.
...Gov. John Lynch (sic) press secretary Colin Manning said the council may not get the chance to take up the contract at their meeting -- it could be pulled from the agenda by Lynch or withdrawn from consideration by Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny.
"My understanding is that it will not come up for a vote," Manning said late Tuesday.
If the council does vote to reject the contract, Lynch cannot override the vote.
It seems ObamaCare is on the path to a well deserved death.
UPDATE: David Harsanyi delves into the claims by the White House that Judge Vinson's decision was nothing more than judicial activism.
Apparently judicial activism is only proper when a decision expands the power of progressives working to weaken individual rights in favor of more control by the state, ignoring the Constitution or creating new rights out of thin air.
Co-opting conservative terms like "judicial activism" is a cute way of trying to turn the tables on those who have some reverence for the original intent of the Founders.
Vinson may be overruled, but his decision is cogent and persuasive and doesn't seek out excuses for abuse. His ruling asks for the kind of government restraint that judges rarely have the appetite to call for, even though, need I remind you, "judicial activism" in the defense of liberty is no vice.