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Friday, June 10, 2011

Is Obamacare Going to Fall Apart in the Courts?

When Federal judge Roger Vinson ruled Obamacare completely and totally unconstitutional earlier this year, it was a significant victory for opponents of the law but it was like winning one game in a championship series. If you don't win the last one, you still lose. Game 2 is taking place in an Atlanta courtroom with a three-judge panel and Obamacare appears to be off to a very shaky start because the questions being asked by these judges appear to be rooted in the same foundational arguments found in Vinson's decision.

Via LA Times:
A top Obama administration lawyer defending last year's healthcare law ran into skeptical questions Wednesday from three federal judges here, who suggested they may be ready to declare all or part of the law unconstitutional.

Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal faced off against former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement in what has become the largest and broadest challenge to the healthcare law. In all, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business joined in urging the judges to strike down the law.

And in an ominous sign for the administration, the judges opened the arguments by saying they knew of no case in American history where the courts had upheld the government's power to force someone to buy a product.

That argument is at the heart of the constitutional challenge to the healthcare law and its mandate that nearly all Americans have health insurance by 2014.

"I can't find any case like this," said Chief Judge Joel Dubina of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. "If we uphold this, are there any limits" on the power of the federal government? he asked.

Judge Stanley Marcus appeared to agree. "I can't find any case" in the past where the courts upheld "telling a private person they are compelled to purchase a product in the open market…. Is there anything that suggests Congress can do this?"
Yes, it's true that Obamacare is ultimately going to be decided at the Supreme Court but imagine if it gets there after a judge in one court smacks it down and a three-judge panel forcefully affirms that judge's decision, assuming that happens. It would be very difficult for SCOTUS to justify going against those rulings. It would also take us to an entirely new level of statism.

h/t The Blaze

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