Federal Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional

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Federal Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional

Postby Crimson847 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:30 am

https://www.bostonherald.com/2018/12/16 ... s-footing/

A federal court ruling striking down Obamacare threw an explosive political issue in the laps of Republicans and Democrats in Washington just weeks before divided government is set to take hold.

Friday’s ruling by Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor invalidated the federal health care law, reasoning that Congress’s elimination of the individual mandate penalty as part of the 2017 tax law nullified the rest of the health care act. The White House announced the law would stay in place while the ruling, which came on the eve of the Obamacare open enrollment deadline in most states, is appealed.

Trump initially celebrated the decision on Twitter Friday, calling it “Great news for America!”
But Democrats decried the decision, and Republicans and Trump himself seemed to quickly realize the massive political stakes the ruling created as 2020 election campaigns ramp up.
Exit polls during this year’s midterm elections placed health care as the top issue for voters, and Democrats’ focus on the issue helped propel the party to pickup dozens of seats in the House regaining control of the chamber.

Democrats vowed to intervene in the case, which is part of a multistate effort to challenge the constitutionality of the heath care law, and appeal.

A spokesman for the remaining GOP moderates in the House issued this concise statement in response:


Fortunately, few people seem to expect the ruling to survive. Here's Robert Verbruggen at National Review on the matter, who their other legal commentators have echoed on Twitter:

Basically, when Republicans repealed the individual mandate in the tax-reform bill, they didn’t quite repeal it; they just reduced the penalty to $0. (This was all they could do under certain procedural rules without opening the door to a filibuster.) Since the Supreme Court upheld the mandate in 2012 on the grounds that it was a tax, the lawsuit argues, this makes the mandate unconstitutional: A $0 penalty can’t be a tax. And since Congress also left “findings” in Obamacare saying the mandate is important to the operation of the rest of the law, the suit claims the mandate is not “severable” and the entire law should be struck down.

There are huge problems here. For starters there’s the question of whether anyone even has standing to challenge a provision that has deliberately been made completely unenforceable. On top of that, no one on this entire planet, in the Congresses that wrote the law or not, actually believes that a mandate enforced by a $0 penalty is so important that the rest of the law can’t function without it. If Congress believed the mandate was important, it wouldn’t have eliminated the penalty giving it effect, and Republican politicians including the president wouldn’t have run around claiming they’d “repealed” it.

I don’t see the higher courts destroying a huge piece of legislation on such reasoning, even if a district judge bought into it yesterday.
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