A federal judge ruled today the entire health care reform legislation is unconstitutional.
Here’s one of the most revealing sections of his ruling, which you can read here:
“This Act has been analogized to a finely crafted watch, and that seems to fit. It has approximately 450 separate pieces, but one essential piece (the individual mandate) is defective and must be removed. It cannot function as originally designed. There are simply too many moving parts in the Act and too many provisions dependent (directly and indirectly) on the individual mandate and other health insurance provisions — which, as noted, were the chief engines that drove the entire legislative effort — for me to try and dissect out the proper from the improper, and the able-to-stand-alone from the unable-to-stand-alone.
“Such a quasi-legislative undertaking would be particularly inappropriate in light of the fact that any statute that might conceivably be left over after this analysis is complete would plainly not serve Congress’ main purpose and primary objective in passing the Act. The statute is, after all, called “The Patient Protection and Affordable are Act,” not “The Abstinence Education and Bone Marrow Density Testing Act.” The Act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker.”
Update: For those keeping score, the health care reform law has now collected 2 rulings upholding it and 2 against it. The 2 for it come from Democratic-appointed judges; the 2 against come from Republican appointees.
The 2 rulings against the law open an interesting philosophical rift. Today’s ruling says the law’s mandate that generally everyone has to buy insurance – supposedly spreading the risk and money stream around evenly – is unconstitutional. It also says that so-called individual mandate is so interwoven into the fabric of the law that Congress has no choice but to scrap the whole thing and start over.
The other Republican judge who ruled against the law didn’t go that far. He said the individual mandate wasn’t constitutional, but he thinks the law can still stand up without that provision.
Meanwhile, here’s another excerpt from today’s ruling which gives a quasi Tea Party shout-out:
“It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America, would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain, for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power”, and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.”