Constitutional Law

Appeals Court Strikes Down ObamaCare's Individual Mandate, Calls It "a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority."

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No, Congress can't just decree that individuals must buy a private product, even if the market has unique properties. To do so would be more than unprecedented; it would be an unconstitutional overreach. That's the gist of what an 11th Circuit appeals court said today when it ruled in favor of 26 state governments by saying that the federal requirement to purchase health insurance contained in last year's health care overhaul is unconstitutional. From the ruling:

The individual mandate exceeds Congress's enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives. We have not found any generally applicable, judicially enforceable limiting principle that would permit us to uphold the mandate without obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers. "Uniqueness" is not a constitutional principle in any antecedent Supreme Court decision.

However, the panel, made up of two Democratic appointees and one GOP-appointed judge, did overturn lower court Judge Roger Vinson's decision to invalidate the entire law, preferring to strike only the mandate and related provisions. 

More on previous decisions for and against the mandate here and here

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203 responses to “Appeals Court Strikes Down ObamaCare's Individual Mandate, Calls It "a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority."

  1. How unmutual. Can’t we get rid of the courts? They seem undemocratic to me.

    1. That will be coming out of TEAM BLUE shortly, ProL. Just you wait.

      1. I love love LOVE this decision.

      2. That observation is 75 years too late

      3. In all seriousness, I think we’re due for a constitutional crisis. Not necessarily over this, but it just seems like we’re heading for one. Probably a good thing.

        1. From your lips to Allah’s ear.

          1. Allah, Allah, Allah…

            Can’t HEAR you!

            1. Get the humus out of your ears!

              1. Yeah, and get the drone missles out of your children’s ears, too!

            2. “ALLAHBACK!”

  2. …preferring to strike only the mandate and related provisions.

    This is the best possible outcome for single-payer advocates.

    1. I would be fine with the argument for single-payer, but most of the people supporting single-payer that I’ve met believe it won’t work unless healthy/young/rich people are forced to accept the same level of service as they are.

      1. That’s kinda implied in the definition of single-payer. In most places that have such a system it means you can’t buy service for yourself – you wait in line with everyone else (unless you are politically connected, then you go to the front of the queue).

      2. Let me rephrase that. I’d be fine for “government healthcare” (I know, medicare/medicaid) not “single-payer”. I keep forgetting what their argument is since it bounces back and forth between “free healthcare for all” and “no private healthcare for anyone”

        1. the ironic thing is while there is an excellent argument obamacare is unconstitutional, something like france’s system would not be

          1. Depends, dunphy.

            Under existing SCOTUS jurisprudence, probably not, because practically nothing is beyond the Commerce Clause now.

            If you look at the words in the Commerce Clause, and how it was applied until 1942, then there is really practically no scope for the feds to regulate health care or health financing at all.

            1. yea, i can buy that.

    2. Yep. And I’m not sure how they managed to sever provisions that are not severable in the law.

      Maybe next time they’ll just invalidate the spending cut portion of a deficit reduction bill but leave the tax increase alone…

      1. You’re correct. The issue of the individual mandate is not severable, and there’s the rub.

        If this decision stands, there will be no individual mandate, but the remainder of Obamacare cannot survive without the funds provided by that mandate. The entire house of cards will collapse.

        For those of us who are quite pleased with our current health insurance and deeply opposed to every aspect of Obamacare, this is a marvelous decision.

  3. So they’re saying the mandate is bad, but everything else, which is worse, can stay? Boo.

    1. Given that the entire foul undertaking automatically collapses beneath its own awful weight, sans said mandate: works for me.

      1. Works for me even better…

        1. Yeah only problem the guy who is office with the majority behind him with the job to fix it is Paul Ryan.

          Sorry single payer dude. You lose.

          1. Yep. All you need is a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Geronimo!!!

            1. Which is likely to come after the 2012 elections.

              1. Duly noted, Criswell.

            2. actually w/o a majority on either side, there would be little or no movement towards a single-payer.

              1. Without Democratic control of both houses and the presidency, there will be no movement torward single payer. They had that, but blew their wad already. They aren’t going to have the same chance for at least a generation.

                Personally, I feel there is a strong chance that the ultimate outcome with be SCOTUS striking down the mandate plus guarenteed issue/community rating.

                1. Bingo! (See directly below.)

              2. I think the point is the pre-existing condition requirements coupled with ever-increasing state mandates on what must be covered, drive prices to infinity and the private sector to bankruptcy. Then the socialists jump out, claim “market failure”, and nationalize it.

        2. Do you really not “get” it, or are you simply trolling? Without the mandate, the entire scheme automatically collapses, due to lack of funding.

          What, you think the Chinese are going to graciously pick up the tab for the requisite trillions, otherwise? Bitch, please.

  4. *unties noose, puts rope away, for now*

  5. *wisely licks chops in anticipation*

    1. ?Debes escribirlo en espa?ol?

      1. wise latina, etc

  6. Under the idea that Obamacare is supposed to wreck the health care economy further in order to bring about single payer, this counts as a massive win.

    1. Indeed. This is an application of Masturbatin’ Pete’s First Law of Government:

      “Any problems in a regulated industry will always be successfully blamed on that portion of the industry that remains unregulated.”

      1. “It was the Free Market? that done this, it was! I seen it with me own eyes!”

        1. she turned me into a newt…well, i got better.

      2. I’m going to steal that.

        1. Word of advise, you might not want to credit the original author during polite conversations.

          If you’re chatting with a female co-worker and start talkin about Masturbatin’ Pete’s First Law, it might have some repercussions.

    2. this counts as a massive win.

      I’m not so sure. If the ban against not covering pre-existing condition stays in effect, this will turn health insurance in to nothing more than a mildly risky lottery. Why pay up when you can just get it when you’re sick?

      I have no doubt that the insurance cos. will take steps to make sure that won’t be the case, but removing the individual mandate without getting rid of the disincentive to only purchase as needed is Russian roulette-like with the insurance industry.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with this decision, but I’m not sure if it’s going to cause more harm than it prevents, with how the cards are stacked.

      1. Er. it would cause an insurance death spiral.

        IMO, the likely response is that insurance companies will simply refuse to issue any more individual policies. Much like they have done with the child-only healthcare policies.

        If you aren’t issuing new policies to ANYONE, they can’t ding you for discriminating against the sick.

        Only employer-based coverage will be available. This will put pressure on congress to modify, amend or repeal the pre-existing conditions aspects.

        Single payer will NOT happen unless the Democrats win filibuster proof majorities in both houses, which ain’t going to happen again any time soon.

  7. Interesting that the judges were two Democratic appointees and one GOP-appointed.

    1. The GOP judge (Reagan initially, elevated by GWB) and a Clinton judge were the two authoring the ruling.

      1. gotcha – wasn’t sure what the breakdown was based on the initial news.

  8. Circuit split! Off to the Supremes we go…

    1. Decision coming in summer 2012. This will end in hilarity.

      1. Mark it, Donny.

        Summer 2012: Supremes strike down mandate. Dark Knight 2 breaks all box-office records. Emo lib kids take to the streets as socio-vigilantes.

        1. I thought the riots would come after Obama lost the election. I might have to move up the deadlines on my gun/provisions stocking plan.

          1. Serious question. What does happen when Obama loses in 2012?

            Riots are not out of the question based on past behavior of the spoiled entitlement class leeches.

            Oh, that and black people.

            1. Depends on how bad the loss is, Sloopy. Is it a Mondale-esque asskicking? Or a Gore/Bush should-have-been-called-a-tie? In the latter case, with SCOTUS called upon to break the tie, and Obama loses? I don’t think any potential rioters will take that well.

              1. In any event, despite the crushing need to rid the Executive of this monumentally incompetent man, I’m not happy at the idea of this GOP running both houses of Congress and the Presidency. Now, if the TEA Party keeps kicking ass, and running successful primary fights against some of the GOP who voted for this abortion of a debt compromise…that might be O.K.

        2. Emo lib kids take to the streets as socio-vigilantes.

          Yes please. Now what do you think is better cracking the bones of “Teh Yuth” rioters who want my Android phone? 3/4″ lead pipe or the good old fashioned monkey wrench?

          1. Monkey wrench, if you want to able to tell the nice copper you were just going to help your gran with her leaky sink.

            Otherwise, a length of garden hose weighted to your specifications with lead shot is very hard to, er, beat. Or so I’ve, um, heard.

            1. I’ve considered defaulting to the tried by true padlock wrapped in a dishrag/bandana. But it doesn’t give me the reach I like.

              1. Cut your garden hose to your desired length. Add as much lead shot as you want. Totally customizable.

                1. What do I seal the ends with? Duct tape? Rubber cement? Wood putty? I want to get more than one shot out of it.

                  1. A lot of duct tape would probably work. Or a nice 2-part epoxy. Or both.

  9. So this pretty much hulls the debt reduction deal, right? Great. All the regulation with none of the revenue.

    1. The ship will sink just a little faster – wheeeee!

    2. IIRC CBO put out a report that found eliminating the penalty would actually reduce costs. What you collect in penalties under current law is offset by what you would spend in on the newly insured.

      1. You’re harshing my cynicism here, dude. But your way makes sense.

  10. What’s telling is this quote from the dissent:

    “The majority “has ignored the undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries and is now generally accepted as having afforded Congress the authority to create rules regulating large areas of our national economy,” Marcus wrote.”

    There you have it. It’s grown. Obviously it has. But a true Constitutional scholar would be making the case that the same definition has always been in place. It’s just that when the boundaries were tested, few were found.

    But this admits that the boundaries were moved.

    1. That is one scary dissent – or should I say descent (into madness).

      1. It shows you quite clearly what goes on in the minds of many of the legal priest caste.

        1. In my Con Law class, we spent a couple of weeks on Commerce Clause jurisprudence, with lots of talk about the limits of federal power in this area, how it wasn’t a grant of general police power, etc. Come exam time (we just had the one test for the entire course in most core classes), the Commerce Clause question was correctly answered by saying, in effect, yeah, they can do it–the Commerce Clause allows just about anything.

          Sickening, and it’s so clearly the opposite of what was intended by the entire Constitution (states have general police powers; federal government has enumerated limited ones), that it’s hard not to view the current laws and government as anything other than an illegal usurpation of power.

          1. In my Con Law class

            It’s too bad you’re not a “Constitutional Scholar”, like our Pres and so many others
            🙁 Then you’d understand why this view of the Commerce Clause (PBUH) that you protest is CORRECT, and, ultimately, all for the best. For ALL of us.

            Just lie down and let the drugs take effect. It won’t be so bad if you don’t fight it. Just relax….accept…relllllaaaaaax….

            1. I’ll be bahck

          2. it’s hard not to view the current laws and government as anything other than an illegal usurpation of power

            No it’s not. It’s actually extremely easy.

            1. For those “running” the country? Yes, I agree.

              You don’t have to be an anarchist or even a libertarian to question the right of our government to do anything at all when it proclaims that it has no limits and abuses even its legitimate powers on a regular basis. That’s not the deal. The deal was written down a while back.

              1. There is no deal. The Constitution is a fucking piece of paper. See why I’m an anarchist?

                1. Yes, because people did so well for the millennia before we started instituting such things? Without it, we’re just oppressed like we’ve always been. As bad as it’s gotten here, it could be worse.

                  The problem with anarchy is the species. Some of us will seize power while enough of the rest of us will let them do it. We’ve been consistent about that. For now, the best we can do is try to build in ways of limiting the damage of the power-hungry. Our system worked okay for a while, and it might’ve done better but for some historical problems (mostly slavery) and, in my mind, insufficient checks on federal power.

                  1. Some of us will seize power while enough of the rest of us will let them do it

                    Right, exactly as they are doing now. You do understand how absurd your faith in this “system” is, right? It actually provides cover for the power hungry; it doesn’t guard against them. It gives them legitimacy. And you’re all for it.

                    You do realize that the massive theft from us and future generations that was the bailouts is “legal” under your system, right? That such a corrupt maneuver has that cover?

                    1. Without it, we’d have worse. Like we always have. As bad as this system is, it’s still better than any alternative that’s actually been tried.

                      I’m all for a more cooperative, less coercive system, but it seems that too many people aren’t. Until we can fix that flaw, I don’t see how anarchy can work on any large scale.

                    2. So stick with an unbelievably shitty system because it’s “the best that’s been tried”. Really, who is the problem here? The power hungry, or people like you who are willing to keep the system in place that gives the power hungry a structure within which to do their thing?

                    3. I get your point, but what that means to me is that we either fix the current system, or we toss it out in favor of a better system. I don’t want the current situation to continue, either.

                      I’m perfectly okay with a political system that involves a government much, much smaller than we have now. Maybe more like the original federal government, with additional checks on its power. I also think we made a mistake not making state and local power more limited, right from the get-go.

                      The big problem with fixing everything seems to be that we let the federal government become too vulnerable to democratic control. Because of that, it’s been in the interest of the power-hungry to buy votes and voter apathy to usurpation of power with regulations and flat-out redistribution of wealth. By doing that, any attempts to radically change the system right now would likely face majority opposition. For instance, can you imagine what we’d end up with if we had another constitutional convention right now?

                    4. You keep saying that you don’t want the current situation to continue, and then talk about…going back to an earlier instance of the current system. You’re completely logically inconsistent on this issue. You don’t want an out of control government, so you’ll institute a government that will grow out of control. You arguments are confused and meandering, because you absolutely don’t want to admit the one thing that you know is right: the minarchist system will never fucking work, ever. EVER. It will always grow out of control or be usurped.

                      Until you can evolve past a forlorn desire to have that system be a successful one–which it has shown it is not, most conclusively–you will continue to be disappointed and confused.

                    5. Propose a workable alternative. Your idea that no government won’t have tyranny creep is no truer than the idea that some government will have it. Either way, somebody has to be ever vigilant against usurpation of power.

                      I’m in the camp that we have to (1) never stop trying to rein in government, and (2) be ready to hit the reset button if things start getting out of hand.

                      Frankly, we can say whatever we want, but unless we revolt against the current government or even fight it within the system, we are accepting it. The Constitution doesn’t have to just give government tyranny cover–it can be used to impose real limits. Just because it failed to keep the Leviathan shackled doesn’t mean that it can’t possibly do it or, at least, do it better.

                    6. I think the problem with systems of written laws like the Constitution is that it gives cover to tyranny. “See? It’s in the Constitution. These guys in black robes say so. And since it’s in the Constitution, it’s a democratic outcome and we all know democracy is Right? and therefore you have no standing to complain. Bend over.” And people do bend over.

                      A written constitution can be useful if the people are educated and understand the tradeoff between liberty and government. Sadly, people today seem to think we have liberty *because* of government.

                    7. The real flaw in any human system is the humans. If we had and maintained one thing–a fundamental distrust of government–our liberties wouldn’t be in such jeopardy.

                    8. oh c’mon. our system, with all its warts is immensely superior to anarchy

                      of course you have the advantage of not having any anarchist systems to compare us to. convenient that.

                      and the warts can be cured with da penicillin. i hope

                    9. SOMALIA!!!!!11!1!1!!!!

                    10. Just as you conveniently have no way to prove your bald assertion that it is a fact that our current system is better than anarcho-capitalism.

                      And don’t give “historical precedent”. There wasn’t a whole helluva lot for the type of gov’t the founders created, either, but they still went out on a limb and tried. Athens was a direct democracy (which had a lot of different flaws), and Rome was ruled by plutocrats even when it was a republic. Our original system evolved out of many things that came before, but was unique. I can never understand how you state-worshippers insist that political thought reached perfection in 1788, and there is no way anything new or different can ever be successful (except maybe ending slavery).

                    11. (+10 was to Epi @ 3:02pm)

                2. Watch out when pieces of paper fuck!

          3. Same here ProL. Interestingly though, my ConLaw prof was unusually slanted center-right in his presentation, i.e. “they can do anything, but that doesn’t make it right.” Very unusual for this prof to be tenured… he must had hid his true colors.

            1. Mine never actually came out and said that, but you could tell that he bought into the 18th century view.

        2. LiVING DOCUMENT?, EPI!!!

          LIIIIIIIIIIIVIIIIIING DOCUUUUUMENNNNNNNT?!!!

          That is all.

          1. General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk… ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream.
            Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: [very nervous] Lord, Jack.
            General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
            Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I… no, no. I don’t, Jack.
            General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works.
            Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen… tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first… become… well, develop this theory?
            General Jack D. Ripper: [somewhat embarassed] Well, I, uh… I… I… first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
            Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
            General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue… a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I… I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
            Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
            General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
            Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.
            General Jack D. Ripper: But I… I do deny them my essence.

          2. Bodily fluids, Mandrake.

    2. Good catch. This is the laziest kind of “living constitution” bullplop: the kind that says “the Constitution changes based on the whims of the courts. What are you gonna do about it?”

    3. A real pearl of wisdom, eh?

      Because the power has expanded, that autocatically means it can expand a lot more regardless of the actual language of the Constitution.

      That guy doesn’t qualify to be a judge on American Idol much less the federal bench.

      1. Living constitutionalist, originalist, textualist and now a momentumist.

    4. The majority “has ignored the undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries

      The first part of the sentence reads like an argument for a narrow interpretation of the commerce clause.

      1. This is exactly how I read it the first time. I missed that it was the dissent.

    5. Shorter version:

      The government has seized greater powers. The people haven’t rioted, therefore they’ll accept this too.

  11. “obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers.”

    There are boundries? /sarc

  12. We have not found any generally applicable, judicially enforceable limiting principle that would permit us to uphold the mandate without obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers.

    In other words: If we accept this mandate, we can kiss the whole Constitution goodbye, making us (the judges) ipso facto irrelevant.

    1. Both sides concurred on that point, though.

      The difference would be that the dissent would just obliterate those boundaries.

  13. Are you serious? Are you serious?

  14. But the Constitution is like a hundred years old!

    1. I can’t understand it.

  15. No, Congress can’t just decree that individuals must buy a private product, even if the market has unique properties.

    “Unique” properties like…. buying and selling stuff.

    1. Or is rigged in such a way by government regulation that it requires…more government regulation.

      1. That’s actually one of the prObamacare arguments: the individual mandate is “necessary and proper” because Congress has fucked the health care/insurance sector with another part of the law.

    2. As I understand it, the argument that the health care market is “unique” because everyone purchases medical services at some point. Not only is that obviously false (in my mid-twenties I literally went several years without seeing a physician), it’s true of other activities: Everyone eats. Everyone drinks. Everyone sleeps. And almost all of us will eat, drink, and sleep before the next time that we see a physician. So yes, if Obamacare stands, the government can order us to purchase broccoli, bottled water, and Craftmatic Adjustable Beds.

      1. You forgot the other activity that everyone will do before the next time they see the doctor. It’s right there in your handle.

        1. I can’t wait until Onastism is a crime because them there spermies are potential taxpayers. Spilling them on the ground is preventing them from participating in commerce!

          1. Let the heathen spill theirs
            On the dusty ground
            God shall make them pay for
            Each sperm that can’t be found

          2. Q: What do you call it when a barbarian masturbates?

            A: “CONANism!”

            Hah! I slay me!

      2. in my mid-twenties I literally went several years without seeing a physician

        I haven’t seen a doctor this century.

        (Both true and fun to say.)

        1. Same here.

          Bastards.

        2. I saw a doctor once, but he didn’t see me.

      3. So yes, if Obamacare stands, the government can order us to purchase broccoli, bottled water, and Craftmatic Adjustable Beds.

        Once they decide to cure all preventable illness by making it a crime to disobey doctor’s orders (As we all know laws are magic, so making a law that demands people to obey their doctor will mean everyone obeys their doctor. There will be no unexpected consequences. None at all), that is exactly what will happen.

      4. I’m 35 years old and I haven’t seen a doctor in 17 years. I feel fit as a fiddle.

      5. We’re all going to die, too. Congress can mandate that we all be put to death one day before we hit full retirement age.

      6. So yes, if Obamacare stands, the government can order us to purchase broccoli, bottled water, and Craftmatic Adjustable Beds.

        FEATURE, NOT A BUG.
        FEATURE, NOT A BUG.
        FEATURE, NOT A BUG.
        FEATURE, NOT A BUG.
        FEATURE, NOT A BUG.

  16. If the SCOTUS ends in tie, does the lower court ruling stand?

    1. Then it’s Thunderdome.

    2. Yes, it dcoes.

      This should set up a hell of fight over whether Kagan should comply with the Code of Judicial Ethics and recuse herself.

      She advised one of the parties on the matter at issue. It should be a no-brainer.

      1. But she’s so wise.

        1. Nah, that’s the other broad. The Kagan is a fictional sea monster of giant proportions.

  17. I’ll have to read the opinion (which I will do whenever it finishes downloading at one of the slowest transfer rates I’ve suffered in a long time). I’m keen to see whether a distinction is drawn between Obamacare, which must conform to the requirements of the US Constitution, and Romneycare, which is subordinate to the Massachusetts Constitution (and the State’s general police power).

    1. Your keenness will go unrewarded. I haven’t seen the opinion yet, but I can’t imagine why a digression on a constitution and a statute not at issue would show up in this opinion.

      1. As it happens, my keenness was (mostly) rewarded on pages 153-157 of the opinion. Without focusing on Massachusetts specifically, the court did thoroughly cover the distinction between the general police power of a State and the limited and enumerated powers of Congress. Their basic take was that the federal individual mandate was a usurpation of the State’s police power (to have or deliberately NOT have an individual insurance mandate), which was an unconstitutional overreach that was not supported by the Commerce Clause or prevailing interpretations of it.

    2. The link to the opinion, as given in Suderman’s original posting at the head of the thread, above, results in 404. This link, provided on the 11th Circuit’s home page, works:

      http://www.uscourts.gov/uscour…..111021.pdf

  18. I was just talking about this with a coworker, and neither of us knew why if the federal individual mandate is unconstitutional, the Massachusetts mandate isn’t as well. Any of the legal types on here know whether this could have implications for the MA mandate?

    1. Racism

    2. Re: Dagny T,

      why if the federal individual mandate is unconstitutional, the Massachusetts mandate isn’t as well.

      The enumerated powers and restrictions only apply to the Federal Government. There COULD be 14th Amendment repercussions for Massachussetts and their mandate, but not until the SCOTUS decision is made and only if someone brings suit against the State government.

    3. No, it won’t. The state’s powers are broader than Congress’. Congress has to prove its legislation is related to interstate commerce. The state doesn’t. That’s how the state gets away with forcing you to buy auto insurance.

    4. Massachusetts could probably do this under the 10th Amendment. This isn’t being struck down because it runs afoul of the Bill of Rights, it’s being struck down because it isn’t enumerated as a power of Congress — but the states can do anything under the 10th amendment that doesn’t run afoul of the 14th amendment, so MA’s mandate should be fine.

      1. Thanks all.

        1. I would have answered you myself, but by the time I got back here to look, the whole crowd had been answering your question. Richard and Scythe hit closest to the mark.

        2. I actually read the decision, and it upheld the State’s general police power, meaning that, yes, Massachusetts was acting within its recognized and traditional scope, to enact its own individual insurance mandate, but no, the same could not be said for Congress. See pgs. 153-157 of the decision.

      2. Does this mean that the feds could circumvent this ruling simply by using the same tactic that they used to impose the 55mph speed limit, 21 year minimum drinking age, etc.: threaten to withhold federal funds if the states don’t pass a mandate?

        1. Sure. SCOTUS has already displayed its typical cowardice on that issue.

          In fact, an individual mandate at the state level could easily be linked to continued Medicaid funding by the feds.

          1. I agree, and I fully expect something like this to occur, if the courts strike down the federal individual mandate.

          2. How is it SCOTUS is being cowardice? The states are the ones cavinging in to the feds demand.

      3. nice analysis. refreshing

  19. Hey Obama, you know who else inherited an economy from George W. Bush? Rick Perry.

  20. At least I still have a few more years of income potential doing diabeetus ads.

    1. No way!!!! I thought you were dead!

      1. I haven’t seen him. Might be in The Other Place, of course.

    2. Have you stocked up on testin’ supplies?

  21. The individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

    1. Hokey religions and ancient superstitions are no match for a good blaster at your side, you degenerate old fuck.

      1. Must be the director’s cut version.

  22. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Stupid farking democrats. You put a “severability clause” in the legislation so if the mandate is a no-go the whole thing gets flushed.

    Hoisted by their own petards.

    1. You never go full petard.

      1. That’s petarded.

        1. Gay, straight, petarded why get hung up on labels.

          1. Jean Luc Petard thought the same thing

            1. Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!

    2. Actually the Democrats were very smart. They thought about adding a severability clause but realized it was a deal breaker. So they trusted the courts to presume severability, and they got what they wished for.

      1. Actually, I’m an idiot. I meant to say that the democrats DID NOT include a severability clause, so that if the mandate was dropped they would be able to “sever” that part from the entire legislation.

        The petard part is still accurate, however.

      2. I rather doubt that. The bill was thrown together and has the usual screw-ups and internal inconsistencies. Like they told us, most of them didn’t even know what they were voting for. It was the feel-good vote of the year!

        1. Right, this was also when the Senate passed the “XXXXXX Act of XXXX.”

        2. But we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it!

          1. it’s not like we would READ THE FUCKING THING first!

            1. Pretty hard to have checks on power when nobody does their job under the Constitution. At all.

        3. Actually I believe I heard in the hearing that they considered it but decided against it. It was no mistake.

        4. In fact, if I remember correctly, there was a severability clause in the bill at one point, but someone made them remove it. Likely the insurance company threatening to run Harry and Louise ads against it.

  23. Waaaaaaaaaah-ha-haaaaaa!!!!!!

    Snif! Snif!

    Mommy!

    1. I sense some general stomping around and crossing of arms.

      1. Hat tip Mr. Welch, btw.

  24. Terror.
    Anarchy.
    Chaos.
    Collapse of society.
    Raining frogs.
    Blood in the streets.
    Armeggedon.
    Holopocolypo.

    OMFG.

    /statistard

    1. If you add an “O” word, drop the last word, and then rearrange the order, you can get the acronym CRAB TACO.

      1. Those sound tasty!

  25. Of course the court wasn’t going to invalidate the whole law. That would require them to be a bulwark against the excesses of the legislative branch, or something.

  26. what’s really fascinating about PPACA is that it takes every problem with the delivery and financing of health care and doubles down. Not only does it confuse insurance with care, it seeks to build on the employer-sponsored system. and it really does nothing to address the shortage of providers or the costs associated with end of life care, while at the same time increasing Medicaid enrollment, a program in desperate need of reform.

    1. You mean doubles up. If it were doubling down, that would mean it would stop there.

  27. No, Congress can’t just decree that individuals must buy a private product,

    Actually, there are thousands of such mandates out there right now, at least once you understand that there is no distinction between a business and an individual for Commerce Clause purposes.

    Congress, through various laws and regulations, requires businesses to purchase all kinds of goods and services. There are mandates for pollution control equipment, mandates for OSHA equipment, mandates for various services, etc.

    the ability to compel American businseses to purchase an expensive health insurance product insert regulatory mandate here they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product insert regulatory mandate here every month for their entire lives until they go out of business.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I think its unconstitutional as hell, under the actual words of the Commerce Clause. But under our existing SCOTUS jurisprudence? I’m not so sure where you can draw a principled distinction between this mandate and thousands of others that have been upheld.

    1. So, instead of “Businesses are not people!” the liberal battlecry is really “People are businesses!”?

    2. Yeah, see I don’t think that’s right. A business AS a business does not have constitutional rights, although its owners/members/workers do, as actual people.

      Same thing with mandates. People have rights that the government can’t infringe, whereas the government can impose mandate via the commerce clause on businesses.

  28. So then, corporations may not be people, but people are corporations?

    (I’m not picking on you, just thread-mashing.)

    1. stupid lack of refreshing grumble

    2. I know, I know. The vast majority of existing mandates apply to businesses, but I’m sure there a plenty that apply to individuals.

      Got one already: Air bags. The mandate may be phrased so that its the manufacturer that has to include it, but that means you have to buy it, whether you want it or not.

      But, you cry, I don’t have to buy a car, so I don’t have to buy an airbag.

      Pish, I say. Makes no difference. A mandate to buy a product you otherwise wouldn’t buy is still a mandate, even if it is conditional on you buying some other product.

      1. of course you can still buy old cars w/o airbags or motorcycles.

        btw, I would like to live in the older country, before the alphabet soup of government agencies.

        1. Yeah, why couldn’t it all mesh together? Example: World War II ends, FDR’s horseshit is repealed in an enthusiastic nation-wide wave of anti-statist, freedom-loving fervor.

          By the way, have you seen the list of federal agencies? Look it up. Some of that shit is just fucking unbelievable — you’d think it was a list released by The Onion, or something.

      2. Does it bother you as much as it bothers me that the nature of elections and politics in general is that it isn’t the guy that’ll maintain a minimalistic/constitutional/minarchistic state for society that we’re looking for, but the guy that’ll lead us in the best new direction? And that government is so flexible, and dynamic? Piling shit on for 150 years seems to have taken its toll.

        1. Every few centuries some Roman or Ryzantine emperor would get fed up with all the accumulated legal and economic folderol and regulation and gut most of it.

  29. Time for another revolution, dudes, because the jurisprudence couldn’t get any more convoluted and skull-fuckingly retarded than it already is.

  30. There is still no cogent reply to the question raised by Cyto, 1:54pm, about the question of severability. If the law stands or falls on its entirety then the original ruling by the lower court is correct. Not so?

    1. Yes. If there is no majority opinion, the lower court’s decision stands.

      Also, I read the painfully long dissent and will sum it up as a public service so others do not have to read it:

      If there is a really big problem, then Congress has the authority under the Commerce Clause to solve it.

      You’re welcome.

    2. Sorry, not so. The courts have reserved to themselves to right to sever offending passages, even if the legislature was too drunk/stoned/stupid to include a severability clause.

      1. I agree, there’s precedent, but to my thinking, if the government can’t pass a wholly constitutional law, it should have to go through the entire process all over again. After all, the constitutional infirmity, taken out, might mean no law at all. In fact, that’s probably the case with this stupid law.

    3. I may have misunderstood you, Oso. If so, it’s probably due to your sloppy writing.

      1. It’s difficult to type with furry paws, but I am not quite certain about the ‘sloppy part’. Did I dribble on something?

  31. I just got something from the LP about the anniversary of Nixon’s “New Economic Policy” speech. Which, apparently, inspired the creation of the LP in the first place.

    I knew his administration presided over some price-fixing, but dig this line from his speech: “I am today ordering a freeze on all prices and wages throughout the United States for a period of 90 days.”

    Egad.

    1. I was fresh out of eighth-grade Constitution class when I heard this speech, and I couldn’t find where, in the document, Nixon was specifically empowered to pronounce that edict. Decades later, I still cannot.

      1. Just saying that is an impeachable offense. Fucker sucked.

  32. Note to self: stop reading fark’s politics message boards.

    Fucking proud sociali, um, sorry, progressives over there.

    “No mandate? Fine! bring on Universal coverage provided buy the gov’t…”

    Or some crap.

  33. Of course, Obamacare is illegal. That man in the WH can’t force people to buy medical services, any more than one person can force another person to buy vitamins or go to the dentist, any more than I can force Obama to buy Nicorette to stop smoking or go to a shrink to have his head examined.

    1. You’re a racist hatemonger, Hal.

  34. YES! YES! Ahhh…what a great day! A victory for common sense and individual rights! Time to light a cigar…

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