Obamacare

Virginia Appeals Court Throws Out ObamaCare Challenges, But Doesn't Rule on the Merits of the Mandate

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A three-judge panel from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond threw out two challenges to ObamaCare's individual mandate this afternoon, but it didn't actually rule in favor of the mandate. Instead, it dismissed both suits—one from the state of Virginia, one from Liberty University—on technicalities. 

Mandatory man dates.

The panel told Liberty University that it couldn't yet fight the mandate in court because the mandate is not a penalty but a tax—an unusual position taken by no other previous court, including those that ruled in favor of the mandate. (President Obama has argued variously that the mandate both is and isn't a tax.) The upshot of the court's decision that it's a tax is that it's too early to challenge the mandate; thanks to the Anti-Injunction Act, taxes can't be challenged before they are paid. 

Virginia's suit against the law was thrown out on standing grounds: Basically, the court argued that Virginia couldn't gain standing to challenge the mandate simply by passing a law banning health insurance mandates, as it did. "If we were to adopt Virginia's standing theory, each state could become a roving constitutional watchdog," the court warned. And we wouldn't want that. 

This isn't good news for the case against the mandate. But it's unlikely to have much lasting effect; indeed, by taking the odd and until-now universally dismissed (by judges) position that the mandate is, in fact, a tax, the court has likely confined its ruling to irrelevance. Thanks to the conflicting rulings on the mandate from two previous appeals courts, the Supreme Court is virtually certain to take up the case. Ultimately, the legality of the insurance mandate will be decided there. 

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  1. If we were to adopt Virginia’s standing theory, each state could become a roving constitutional watchdog

    I mean, seriously? Have these people not studied the history of the constitution? Have they not read the Federalist papers?

    Aren’t there some, you know, prerequisites for being a judge?

    1. Mein Gott, checks on f?deral power? Nein! Nein! Nein!

    2. A small penis and a single-digit IQ

      1. A ‘C’ average in law school?

    3. “Have they not read the Federalist papers?”

      lol, who cares what some conservative fringe group says in their papers.

      You guys are a laugh riot. WE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. Get it through your dense skulls.

      1. Not sure if trolling…

      2. God damn you are one stupid fuck.

    4. Aren’t there some, you know, prerequisites for being a judge?

      Mmm, law degree? Political connections?

    5. “Aren’t there some, you know, prerequisites for being a judge?”

      Yes: Frequent and maximum campaign donations to appointing politicians.

  2. Thanks to the conflicting rulings on the mandate from two previous appeals courts, the Supreme Court is virtually certain to take up the case. Ultimately, the legality of the insurance mandate will be decided there.

    Unless the GOP nominee beats BO and then refuses to defend the law in court, a la Obama’s power grab re: DADT.

    1. Goose; gander.

  3. Isn’t it about time the Obama administration opened up this Schr?dinger’s cat of a law and decide if it’s a tax or a fine?

    1. “We must never allow our national wavefunction to collapse.”

      1. It’s only a law while it exists in this state of superposition. Once actually perceived, it will no longer exist. Or ever have existed.

        1. From your keyboard to God’s ear.

        2. If it can be perceived, it isn’t real. If it is real, it can’t be perceived.

  4. Please, god, let the administration argue it’s a tax. That’s the most sure fire way to get rid of the pile of shit. It’s pretty strong constitutional law that says you have to call a tax a tax in legislation. I think the VA court just backed themselves into a corner, because there will be standing as soon as the mandate takes effect.

    1. You really don’t understand, do you?

      The mandate will NOT be struck down because it is the critical piece of ObamaCare. If ObamaCare fails, then Obama fails. If Obama fails, then the “First Black President” will go down in history as a failure.

      If you think I’m joking or trolling, then you must not know just how warped the thinking “inside the Beltway” is. I can assure you that, both out of racial guilt and fear, the DC power structure cannot allow Obama to fail. Many people are invested in him salvaging at least some achievement out of the ashes of “historic” incompetence. Since ObamaCare is his signature legislation, that is the hill that will be defended at all costs.

      The mandate WILL stand — mark these words well. ObamaCare will survive, as Obama’s lone legacy.

      Even if the government argues that it is a tax, the USSC will find a way to make it right even though it wasn’t called a “tax” in the legislation. The logic will go something like this: “Even though the mandate is not termed a ‘tax’ explicitly, it is a ‘tax’ in substance and, therefore, constitutional on those grounds.”

      Trust me, guys, this bird was plucked, stuffed, and cooked long ago.

  5. Aetna filed an Amicus brief that was just a pile of hundred dollar bills.

    1. I LOL’d.

  6. “If we were to adopt Virginia’s standing theory, each state could become a roving constitutional watchdog,” the court warned.

    Why do we even still have these pesky states? They’ve been united, so why bother with anachronistic borders?

    We’re practically there already with Congressional apathy and ineptitude, presidential power mongering and Keystone Kourts. We might as well and get it over with and have just the one state.

    Any suggestions for a name? I’ll slap the first person that suggests Freedonia or Eastasia.

    1. How about Jerkwadistan? Or Dumfuckistan?

      I know! Liberia.

      Somalia?

  7. I quickly read these opinions yesterday shortly after they were announced.

    They serve mostly to dispel any false notions that the federal judiciary is truly a body of impartial jurists.

    One judge of the panel was appointed by Clinton; the other two by Clinton and then subsequently by Obama.

    Coincidence? I’m doubtin’ it.

    In the Liberty U. case, I at first was encouraged when I saw that Davis dissented – until I read his dissent. The reason he dissented is because he would have reached the merits of the case – and would have ruled that the individual mandate is a legitimate exercise of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause. He also expressly stated that he saw no need to enter into the “activity” versus “inactivity” discussion. So I guess that means he doesn’t care that the Constitution empowers Congress to regulate “commerce among the several states”, which plainly, on its face, authorizes regulation only of something going on – i.e., “commerce among the several states” – i.e., commercial ACTIVITY.

    But he waved that away, saying that this was simply a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to regulate “the interstate insurance industry.”

    1. But minge told me that not doing something is the same as doing something.

      You’re not my real dad!

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