11th Circuit holds Obamacare unconstitutional UPDATE

I have not yet read the opinion, but, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has just held that Obamacare’s mandate that all buy insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional.  This was the case brought in the Northern District of Florida by 26 states.  I will provide an update as soon as I have a chance to read the opinion, but thought you might like to know at least this much.


In a 2-1 decision, the 11th Circuit held unconstitutional that section of Obamacare requiring all to purchase insurance or pay a penalty.  However, it reversed that section of the district court’s opinion holding that the entire law was unconstitutional because the mandate could not be “severed” from the rest of the law.  Should you be so inclined, you can read the entire 304 page decision here.

Although concerned about the issue of “activity vs, inactivity”, the court (at page 113) essentially defined the issue as follows:

Everyday, Americans decide what products to buy, where to invest and save, and how to pay for future contingencies such as their retirement, their children’s education, and their health care.  The government contends that embedded in the Commerce Clause is the power to override these ordinary decisions and redirect those funds to other purposes.  Under this theory, because Americans have to spend money and must inevitably make decisions on where to spend it, the Commerce Clause gives congress the power to direct and compel an individual’s spending in order to further its overreaching goals, such as reducing the number of uninsureds and the amount of uncompensated health care.

The court found this concept “breathtaking in scope” (p. 130), and if it were to be true, there would be no limits on the reach of the Commerce Clause (p.137).

In delving into an area that no court has really analyzed, beginning at page 139, this court looked extensively at the  “findings” used by Congress to support the mandate, most particularly, the concept of “cost-shifting” from those without insurance to those with insurance.  Essentially, the court found that the law, without the mandate, handled that problem.  Many of the cost-shifters are illegal aliens, and, the law exempts them from the requirement to purchase insurance.  Many of the cost-shifters are the poor, and either the law exempts them from the mandate, or, they are covered by the law’s large expansion of Medicaid.  And finally, many of the cost-shifters were those who were unable to obtain insurance because of preexisting conditions, and the law now provides them with coverage.  At page 140, the court said:

In reality, the primary persons regulated by the individual mandate are not cost-shifters but healthy individuals who forego purchasing insurance. [emphasis in original]

As to the government’s argument that because the law requires that insurance companies issue policies to anyone who applies (regardless of their health), the mandate is needed to prevent people from waiting until they are sick and then applying, the court (at page 165) basically told the government that it was the architect of its own dilemma.

At best, the individual mandate is designed not to enable the execution of the Act’s regulations, but to counteract the significant regulatory costs on insurance companies and adverse consequences stemming from the [Act]. [the first emphasis is in the original, the second is mine]

In conclusion, the court (at page 206)  found the individual mandate to be:

…a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have not elected to buy, and to make them repurchase that product every month for their entire lives.

15 replies
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Without the mandate, doesn’t ?bamacare fall apart?? Or do they keep raiding Medicare and the general fund to make it look like it is successful?
    Ah, sweet socialism.? It is like a union for non productive citizenry.

  2. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    Obama’s probably thinking it’s time to dust off the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 if he can’t get his way in the courts.

  3. Eric
    Eric says:

    Of course those of us with any amount of common sense have realized that this Obamination was typical over-reach by an Administration that would take over the entire world if it could. Recognizing Barry’s view of the Constitution as an instrument of “negative powers” would allow any good little Marxist to assume the same thing… but this fiasco was just too much for the American people to stomach. ?He may have been able to pull this off elsewhere, but American ‘EXCEPTIONALISM’ is winning the day. ?We don’t like people stuffing anything down our throats, especially politicians who view us as an ignorant underclass.?

  4. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I pray SCOTUS does not desert us in our hour of need. Unfortunately, their normal 5-4 decision will further deteriorate the unity of the United States. I’m sure our Founding Fathers never dreamed that there would be politics played in such an august Court.

  5. crystal4
    crystal4 says:

    What is missing here is that 17 courts upheld the mandate this being only the second to find it unconstitutional.
    What is also missing in this post is that this particular mandate was forced on the Prez by the insurance industries.
    If the Supremes take the case (they probably will not) they will be hard pressed to rule the mandate unconstitutional as that would mean the insurers would have to cover the additional coverages from the profits that they are drooling about (everyone buying coverage from them).
    Won’t happen, the current Court is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America (Citizens United”).

    • SoundOffSister
      SoundOffSister says:

      So far 9 courts either are or have considered the issue.? In Thomas Moore Law Center, the Eastern District of Michigan found the individual mandate constitutional, and that decision was recently upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.? The Western District of Virginia found the mandate constitutional in Liberty University, and the Eastern District of Virginia found the mandate unconstitutional in Virginia v. Sebelius.? Those decisions are now pending in the Fourth Circuit, and a desision is expected shortly.? The Northern District of Florida in Florida v. HHS found the mandate unconstitutional and that decision was just affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit.? The district court for the District of Columbia in Liberty University found the mandate constitutional and that decision is now pending on appeal before the D.C. Circuit.
      If you can provide me with the cites to the other 13 cases that found the mandate constitutional, I’ll be happy to report on them.

      • winnie888
        winnie888 says:

        Thank you for the breakdown of the other current cases as well as the appeal pending before D.C. circuit.? If you’re not aware of 17 courts that upheld the mandate, then no one is.? I’m waiting for the source because I would love to read the *story* of how constitutional o-care is in its entirety.

    • winnie888
      winnie888 says:

      Oops, indeed!? lol? Better duck & cover…you will more than likely be “taken to task” for the error of your ways. hahahahaaa–just kidding!? We love ya!

  6. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    Ruled unconstitutional?? Obama will just ignore it and continue to implement.? @crystal4, I’d love to know which 17 states your speaking of (your source) and would also love to know if they’re blue pawn states for Obama.?

  7. Shared Sacrifice
    Shared Sacrifice says:

    Aren’t we also compelled to purchase expensive social security insurance?? Expensive because your money has already been misspent and there will be no return while just at this moment millions of baby-boomers are starting to line-up at the window for those benefits…

  8. Shock and Awe
    Shock and Awe says:

    SOS what would you think of a constitutional?amendment saying something like, “Congress shall take all reasonable measures to retain the ability to write the laws and rules.” ?the purpose to keep un-elected?bureaucrats from writing all the rules and congress not just delegating the responsibility??

  9. TomL
    TomL says:

    I think those other 13 cases are in the courts in the extra? seven states?(zero thinks there are 57 states) Crystal’s president campaigned in.

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