“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Judge Vinson Rules: ObamaCare UnConstitutional!

It's official! US Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson has ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional.

According to various sources I've read and heard, his is the most authoritative ruling on the case. Some detractors are claiming it's really just still '2-2,' with two other judges refusing to hear the case, and the Virginia judge also ruling against the law, but less expansively.

Vinson's ruling is clearly a product of his awareness of context and deep reasoning. It runs 78 pages and makes references to the government's own language in their defense, as well as Madison's Federalist Papers No. 51, his Constitutional Convention notes, and John Marshall's rulings.

Essentially, Vinson finds that choosing not to buy health insurance is a non-activity and, thus, can't be regulated by Congress under the Commerce Clause. Then he finds that the government's other argument, the Necessary and Proper Clause, a/k/a the Elastic Clause, also falls short.

Because the Democrats who wrote this law didn't see fit to include any sort of severability language, Vinson appropriately struck down the entire law, in deference to and accordance with the government's analogy to "a finely crafted watch." Allowing for the urge to be sick when comparing ObamaCare to a finely crafted watch, Vinson showed remarkable restraint in refusing to attempt to legislate from the bench, and simply tossing the whole mess out.

The pundits are all over this one as to whether the parties will agree to expedite its appeal directly to the Supreme Court, or not. And whether Elena Kagan will behave responsibly and recuse herself, though nobody can force her to do so. If not, it's obvious to everyone this will go down as a 5-4 decision, turning on which way the unpredictable Justice Kennedy will blow.

Regardless, it certainly has given new life to the various states which are refusing to plan for the law, and Mitch McConnell's efforts to get a floor vote on repeal in the Senate.

I forget which Congressman it was, a Democrat, who said that, basically, Congress may pass anything it wishes. Perhaps it's the nature of a chamber designed to be the repository of hot-tempered, less-educated and -sensible elected Representatives that one of its number would make such a callous, egregious statement. Perhaps that's why having a branch of career jurists is, when well-functioning, so necessary.

For once, it seems that the Judicial branch of our federal government may actually do its job and prevent Congress from a final, lethal trampling of the Constitution.

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