Another court declares Obamacare’s individual mandate unconstitutional

Today, Federal District Court Judge Christopher Conner of the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that Obamacare’s requirement, that all must purchase health insurance, is unconstitutional. You can read the entire opinion here.

The court held (at page 2) that,

The power to regulate interstate commerce does not subsume the power to dictate a lifetime financial committment to health insurance coverage.

The court undertakes an excellent analysis of the Sixth Circuit opinion, finding the mandate constitutional, beginning at page 19, and the Eleventh Circuit opinion, finding the mandate unconstitutional, beginning at page 23.  Regardless of your view of either opinion, that section of Judge Connor’s opinion is definately worth reading.

But, Judge Connor’s opinion, unlike any of its predecessors does something unique.

Judge Connor not only throws out the individual mandate, but he also throws out the law’s requirement that all insurance companies must cover all applicants regardless of their health condition (guaranteed issue), and, regardless of their health condition, must charge the same premium as they would for a person with no health issues (community rating).

The government has always maintained that the individual mandate is the only “solution” to Obamacare’s requirement of guaranteed issue and community rating.  Indeed, at oral argument before Judge Conner, the government claimed that the individual mandate, guaranteed issue and community rating “are absolutely intertwined”.  (see page 47)

Of course, the government used that argument to claim that the mandate must be constitutional because of what the law requires the insurance companies to do.

Judge Conner turned that argument on its head.  He held that because he found the mandate was unconstitutional, the portions of the bill that were “intertwined” with it must also be thrown out.

Be careful what you argue. 

Other than that, there is an interesting section of the opinion (see page 29) concerning a question posed by the court at oral argument. 

The court asked counsel for the government to assume that because of the “aging” of Americans (aka, Baby Boomers), there is a shortage of beds in long term health care facilities. Could the federal government require all Americans  purchase long term health care insurance?

By now you know the government’s answer.


9 replies
  1. winnie
    winnie says:

    I like this sentence in particular:? “If affirmed, an expanded commerce power would open a Pandora’s box of nefarious mandates limited only by the confines of the legislative majority“.?
    So, if I’m to understand this, it was the Democrats who pushed Obamacare through the Senate…& that an expanded commerce power may lead to wicked or criminal behavior of the legislative majority (in this case, Democrats).? Is it safe to say that this particular judge does not trust the democrats when it comes to playing around with the commerce clause?? There is no point in thrusting Republicans into this argument because Republicans would love to repeal this whole mess, making all of these court rulings of little or no practical value.

  2. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    If I had been in lecturer ?bama’s constitutional law class, I would consider my knowledge suspect.
    Has anyone ever come out and said what a great instructor he was?? I haven’t seen it.

  3. johnboy111
    johnboy111 says:

    ever wonder why America is not competitive in the world..too many lawers&regulations..remember on top of my mower’s mulfler it say’s?? HOT

  4. JBS
    JBS says:

    While it is good that Obamacare is being found as bad legislation by the courts, isn’t it necessary for the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to rule it unconstitutional. At the lower court’s level, I am sure that the Regime will just challenge those rulings. Obamacare would become law. At the SCOTUS level, the death knell of Obamacare would be final.
    What is the chance of that?

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