I mention this because, didn't a judge already rule that a legal challenge to ObamaCare could move forward?
Why, yes! One did! Please notice the date on that post, August 2nd. I'm sorry, but what happened to that one? I mean, it's still pending. Here's the problem with modern news. You get this feeling of deja vu because no one is either telling you what happened to what was reported before (a.k.a. "following up") or they aren't telling you why there isn't more (is the court case even on the docket? Is that the reason for the delay?). Please notice that a judge in Michigan already threw out their lawsuit against ObamaCare saying it had no grounds. District Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit ruled ObamaCare was legal and that Congress was trying to lower overall costs by requiring participation
This article actually has a little more info to it. US District Judge Roger Vinson issued a 65 page ruling that largely sides with the people bringing the lawsuit, 20 states and the National Federation Of Independent Business. Remember how people like me were saying Congress does not have the right to force citizens to engage in commerce? Well, he has a sliiiiiiightly different take. He describes the penalties as "taxes", not penalties. This is not his interpretation, this comes from attorneys for the Obama administration. At a September hearing, they apparently argued that the penalties were legal because they could be considered a tax, which is part of the constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. "One could reasonably infer that Congress proceeded as it did specifically because it did not want the penalty to be 'scrutinized' as a $4 billion annual tax increase," Vinson wrote. "It seems likely that the members of congress merely called it a penalty and did not describe it as revenue-generating to try and insulate themselves from the potential electoral ramifications of their votes."
Now, I have to admit I think the Obama administration has done some pretty loopy stuff, but I'm not sure I buy the theory that ObamaCare fines are meant to cover a budget shortfall without increasing taxes. Not that I wouldn't put it past someone to think up such a scheme, I just find it unlikely in this case (well, at this time. Let's see some proof, Art Bell).
Continuing, Vinson also questioned how no lawsuits can be filed until 2014 when the effects of ObamaCare are happening now. He wrote that states have to either expand Medicaid programs (big big bucks) or withdraw entirely from insurance for the poor, meaning no one gets help. According to the lawsuit, 26% of Florida's state budget goes to Medicaid. Unlike the Virginia ruling, Vinson isn't letting this one simmer. He set a hearing for Dec 16.
I would like to remind everyone, whichever side of this issue they are on, that this won't settle anything. Everybody and their brother knows this will make it to the Supreme Court. So whichever side "wins", the win doesn't mean dick and won't until that last appeal. Please try to keep it civil.
Stephanie Cutter is one of Obama's people guiding explanation of the law's benefits. She wrote in a White House blog, "Having failed in the legislative arena, opponents of reform are now turning to the courts in an attempt to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government. This is nothing new. We saw this with the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Right Act — constitutional challenges were brought to all three of these monumental pieces of legislation, and all those challenges failed." She specifically pointed to the Michigan ruling and called Vinson's ruling "procedural". She expects ObamaCare to prevail.
I would like to point a few things out:
1) The Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were not about commerce, but Constitutional liberty. Social Security is going to be insolvent, so I'm not sure that was the best example she could have gone with.
2) Social Security is like a bank account, not commerce. When it comes to forcing states to participate in Congress, even when states' rights was on the downside, the record is bad. The New Deal programs were completely gutted. FDR was so enraged, he tried to stack the deck with his Supreme Court nominees. Luckily, Congress didn't let it happen. When you look at history...I'm not saying for sure this will fail, but I do know what precedents are saying.
3) THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, IT'S A REPUBLIC, GODDAMMIT! KNOCK OFF THIS DEMOCRACY MISDIRECTION! THERE WAS NO VOTE OF THE POPULOUS, JUST THE REPRESENTATIVES! THAT'S A REPUBLIC! Get a dictionary!
4) You didn't REALLY think this wouldn't make it to court, did you? Remember, judges need votes, too.
5) This is the most important thing -- the courts exist to protect the public from excessive law. This isn't about using the courts to do an end run around ObamaCare. People have valid concerns about the program. Congress passes laws without considering the consequences. The courts are part of the checks and balances for when the collective bunch of morons in Congress get stupid. Let the courts do their duty. You can complain about the verdict, but you need a verdict, first.
The bright side of universal health care? When politicians give me headaches, I have another option to cope.