A second federal judge ruled on Monday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to enact a health care law that requires Americans to obtain commercial insurance, evening the score at two-to-two in the lower courts as the conflicting opinions begin their path to the Supreme Court.Read the rest here.
Judge Roger Vinson of Federal District Court in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that the law will remain in effect until all appeals are concluded, a process that could take two years. However, Judge Vinson determined that the entire law should fall if appellate courts agree with his opinion that the insurance requirement is invalid.
“The Act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker,” Judge Vinson wrote.
In a 78-page opinion, Judge Vinson held that the insurance requirement exceeds the regulatory powers granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Judge Vinson wrote that the provision could not be rescued by an associated clause in Article I that gives Congress broad authority to make laws “necessary and proper” to carrying out its designated responsibilities.
“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,” Judge Vinson wrote.