"There are two Affordable Care Acts. There's the legislation passed by Congress in 2009, and then there's the mythical Affordable Care Act – the perfidious 'government takeover' decried and demagogued by so many conservatives (and quite a few liberals). The former is quite popular, the latter gets decidedly mixed reviews."
A Stunning Victory for the Constitution over Obamacare
"This afternoon, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more commonly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. The carefully worded and thorough (over 300 page) set of opinions may be a bit mind-numbing for the uninitiated, but they are a joy to read for those of us who think the words of the Constitution actually mean something beyond whatever an activist Congress, President, and pliant judge want them to mean.
The decision is important for several reasons. First, it puts to rest the canard that justice regarding Obamacare is just a partisan enterprise, in which Republican-appointed judges rule one way, and Democratic-appointed judges rule another. Today’s decision was co-authored by Judge Frank Hull, a Clinton appointee both to the district court and the court of appeals.
The second is that the ruling all-but-guarantees that the Supreme Court will hear the case. Plaintiffs in another case from the Sixth Circuit have already asked the Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the identical provision that was struck down today. Although the Supreme Court takes only about 80 cases per year, any one of three factors would have made it likely that the High Court would hear this case: that a total of 28 states are challenging the constitutionality of a federal statute (26 in the instant case alone), that there is a split among the federal judicial circuits on an important issue of federal law, and that any one federal circuit court struck down any (even less important) federal statute. Now that all three conditions are present, the Court can hardly refuse to hear the case.
The third is that it is much more likely with today’s ruling that the High Court will hear the case in its next term which starts on October 3, with a decision likely to be handed down by the end of June 2012. Although the Obama administration has an option to ask the full Eleventh Circuit to rehear the case, en banc, that is unlikely to succeed for a variety of reasons, including that the 26 states and NFIB who won the decision today originally asked the entire Eleventh Circuit to hear the case because time was of the essence. The Obama administration opposed that request last spring. The circuit court is unlikely to agree to another delay given this prior history, including Florida District Judge Vinson’s rebuke of the government for its previous stalling tactics in the case when it was in the district court."
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