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Government Medicine United States Politics

Judge Declares Federal Healthcare Plan (Partly) Unconstitutional 1505

healeyb writes "In a surprise move, US District Judge Henry E. Hudson issued a ruling today that the universal healthcare law that was pushed through by the Obama administration is unconstitutional. Specifically, he invalidated the section of the law that requires all citizens to purchase healthcare insurance, arguing that it does not fall under the purview of Commerce Clause of the Constitution, as has been asserted by the government. The ruling represents the first major setback for President Barack Obama on an issue that will likely end up at the Supreme Court. Two other courts have shot down challenges to the law."
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Judge Declares Federal Healthcare Plan (Partly) Unconstitutional

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:01PM (#34536802) Journal
    The same guy that went after Michael Mann [] and others [] after it was thrown out []. He's a young Republican with an agenda [] that he's forcing down everyone's throat since day one. From trying to change the state seal (it has a mammary in it!) to just stating that "Homosexuality is wrong."

    I'm not saying he's right or wrong in this matter (the judge seemed to agree with him) but he's one of those guys [] and he's a state Attorney General for Virginia pushing his conservative agenda to a national level.
  • by LMacG ( 118321 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:14PM (#34536974) Journal

    At a very rudimentary level . . . A bill can be introduced in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. After being passed in one, it must then be passed by the other before it is sent to the President, who can sign the bill into law or veto it. If one chamber has added amendments that the other didn't, or if the two chambers have passed bills that are similar but not exactly the same, then the differences must be worked out by a conference committee and the compromise bill re-passed before it can be signed.

    Any law can be challenged as being unconstitutional - you just need somebody with standing to file the appropriate suit in the appropriate court.

    The judge is not "messing with the law", he is making a judgment on whether or not it violates the Constitution.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:15PM (#34536986) Homepage

    Healthcare is not a personal liberty, it's someone else's goods and services.

    Talk about piracy...

  • Re:Surprise move? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hhallahh ( 1378697 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:24PM (#34537160)
    Not every citizen in California is required to have auto insurance. Only those who want to drive.
  • by nickovs ( 115935 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:38PM (#34537464)

    It is worth noting that while this judge says that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, two other Federal judges (one in Michigan [], and one from a different case in Virginia []) have said that it is just fine. This will doubtless go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

  • Re:Unconstitutional (Score:5, Informative)

    by ep32g79 ( 538056 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:44PM (#34537598)
    Wickard v. Filburn

    "... even if appellee's activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect.'"

    It does not matter if the commerce happens completely within the boundaries of the state, only so long as the activity has an effect on interstate commerce congress can legislate it.
    Now what constitutes effect, how much effect on interstate commerce is necessary for it to land under interstate commerce clause has been argued (see US v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr), But I would say that if arguing on the merits that health insurance does not fall under the interstate commerce clause will ultimately fail. This is why the states are raising contest under the requirement to purchase and not solely on the legislations merits of necessary and proper.

  • Re:Surprise move? (Score:3, Informative)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @03:49PM (#34537706)

    Driving is a privilege, not a right. No one has to drive.

    Although... Hospital ERs (at least in Virginia) are required to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. Payment gets worked out later. Expenses for those that cannot pay get shifted to the rest of us. So treatment is basically a right. With rights come responsibilities.

    Abolish the right to treatment and I'll go along with your argument.

  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:00PM (#34537942)

    If anything we are worse off than before. No more people are covered, some people have less coverage, and for all it is more expensive.

    Which is odd since it was called the Affordable Healthcare Act(according to TFA). My premiums went up big time. My deductible went up big time. My coverage declined moderately. My ability to purchase drugs from a pharmacy was removed(all mail order now). The company sent a letter stating that "due to recent legislation, costs have risen and they're being passed on to you". Definitely the opposite of what the name of the act implies. If this is what reform is I think I'll stick to the Vote No on Everything platform to prevent Congress from doing anymore harm to the US.

  • Re:Unconstitutional (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:13PM (#34538178) Journal

    >>>That would be (amongst others), Article I, Section [general welfare clause]

    The author of the Constitution disagrees with you, and being the author he would know better than anyone what he meant. "There is nothing more natural than to start with a general phrase, and then follow it with a qualifying phrase that narrows its focus to a list of particulars." - James Madison. A decade later he wrote: "To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

    In other words the Congress can only exercise the ENUMERATED powers underneath the general welfare clause, not everything under the sun. And if you have doubt of that, simply read amendment 10: "...powers not granted to the US are reserved to the States..." In other words the power to Require Hospital Insurance does not belong to the Congress. It belongs to the 50 State Legislatures.

  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:18PM (#34538266)

    the Attorney General is an elected position in VA, he wasn't appointed.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @05:31PM (#34539380) Journal

    If obscenity laws were blatantly unconstitutional then this is a problem we've had since the founding. Why did the same people who wrote and ratified the constitution ok with it, or at least decide not to overturn those laws?

    The First Amendment didn't originally apply to the states. "Congress shall make no law" and all of that.

    The Alien and Sedition Acts weren't enacted by a radical government out of touch with the principles of the Union, but by founding fathers. If they couldn't clearly see what was blatantly unconstitutional or not, why should modern citizens be better tuned in?

    The Alien and Sedition Acts were enacted by a radical government out of touch with the principles of the Union; that some of those in the government were also some of the founding fathers does not change that. It would hardly be the first (or last) time a revolutionary government quickly turned away from the principles it espoused during the revolution. The Sedition Act demonstrated Jefferson's point about the need for a Bill of Rights and was denounced as unconstitutional by Jefferson. Naturally, it was widely used against opposition press, though they didn't quite have the chutzpah to try to jail Jefferson himself..

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Monday December 13, 2010 @09:52PM (#34542178)

    Except that by default, when a law is unconstitutional it is struck down in its entirety, to prevent such unintended consequences.

    If Congress doesn't want this to happen, they can include a severability clause that says 'hey, we don't mind if this part stands on its own.' But Congress didn't do that. If mandatory insurance falls, so does the entire bill.

    Actually, if you read the ruling [], you'll see that he addressed the issue of severability and decided not to throw out the entire law, only the mandate part.

  • Re:Surprise move? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @12:07AM (#34542808) Homepage

    The fact is, and I'm clearly speaking from experience, Obamacare is bad for EVERYONE.

    Except for me, who can now (Well, as of 2013) purchase insurance when I could not before because they wouldn't sell it to me.

    I love how people just keep making blanket statement about how no one is better off, despite the fact that I repeatedly say that I am.

    And, um, incidentally, Obamacare hasn't gone into effect yet.

    If your insurance company is claiming that's why premiums went up, they are lying. They do not have to change their behavior and allow people with pre-existing conditions until 2013.

Trap full -- please empty.