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The Unconstitutionality of ObamaCare in Black and White

Key excerpts from Judge Vinson's historic ruling.

by
Jeffrey H. Anderson

Bio

January 31, 2011 - 4:10 pm
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I conclude that the individual mandate seeks to regulate economic inactivity, which is the very opposite of economic activity. And because activity is required under the Commerce Clause, the individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law….

The Necessary and Proper Clause cannot be utilized to “pass laws for the accomplishment of objects” that are not within Congress’ enumerated powers….

Having determined that the individual mandate exceeds Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, and cannot be saved by application of the Necessary and Proper Clause, the next question is whether it is severable from the remainder of the Act….

[T]here are two specific facts that are particularly telling in this respect.

First, the Act does not contain a “severability clause,” which is commonly included in legislation to provide that if any part or provision is held invalid, then the rest of the statute will not be affected….

The lack of a severability clause in this case is significant because one had been included in an earlier version of the Act, but it was removed in the bill that subsequently became law….

Moreover, the defendants have conceded that the Act’s health insurance reforms cannot survive without the individual mandate, which is extremely significant because the various insurance provisions, in turn, are the very heart of the Act itself. The health insurance reform provisions were cited repeatedly during the health care debate, and they were instrumental in passing the Act. In speech after speech President Obama emphasized that the legislative goal was “health insurance reform” and stressed how important it was that Congress fundamentally reform how health insurance companies do business, and “protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry.” See, for example, Remarks of President Obama, The State of the Union, delivered Jan. 27, 2009. Meanwhile, the Act’s supporters in the Senate and House similarly spoke repeatedly and often of the legislative efforts as being the means to comprehensively reform the health insurance industry….

In other words, the individual mandate is indisputably necessary to the Act’s insurance market reforms, which are, in turn, indisputably necessary to the purpose of the Act….

I must [therefore] conclude that the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit. The individual mandate cannot be severed….

Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void….

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Jeffrey H. Anderson, an independent writer, was the senior speechwriter for Secretary Mike Leavitt at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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