Vinson landed in my crosshairs because of his overzealous ruling. He threw the whole goddamn thing out, the good along with the bad. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- those who oppose Obamacare feel there's some good stuff in there (no denying people with pre-existing conditions) and those who support have some qualms with certain things (the Individual Mandate). The Individual Mandate is what has people upset, not the rest of it. Vinson didn't just throw the baby out with the bathwater, he burned down the nursery and bricked over the entrance.
On Friday, we took the next step in our journey. A three judge appeal panel in Atlanta, GA, in a 2-1 split, more or less fixed the ruling. By "fixed", I mean they felt Vinson went to far and basically rewrote what he did. The key thing -- while they said most of Obamacare could stand, they said the Individual Mandate was unConstitutional and threw it out.
Thank God the system worked for once. Like I said, as much as I hate Obamacare (I still say out of state competition and nationwide tort reform are the way to go), there are things I felt were necessary, and my only bitch was the Individual Mandate. Not that I'm considering this over. Not only can the Obama administration request a review of the panel's ruling, but there's still one more appeal, and that's the Supreme Court. And it will go. Everyone was expecting it to go the day Congress ginned up the deal.
So, Peter, what do you think will happen? Actually, I have no idea. What we have here is two competing interpretations of government. On the one side is people like Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus, who wrote in his lengthly dissent (to be fair, Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull filed a ruling that was 207 pages long, so everyone's got something to say on this) that "undeniable fact that Congress' commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries." This is the part of the Constitution that says the feds have the authority to regulate commerce on a national level, and Obamacare is nothing more than that. On the other side of the coin is people like me, who feel, as the majority opinion states, that it is wrong for Congress to force people to "enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die."
Please notice that the 10th Amendment, which I was hoping would get some air in this case, isn't even a factor. States' rights have nothing to do with the decision.
Now, yes, we've had precedents as recently as FDR's New Deal programs. The Supremes said the fed couldn't force people to engage in commerce and support private enterprise, the cornerstone of a lot of New Deal programs, and gutted most of them. (FDR was so enraged, he tried to stack the Supreme Court with appointees loyal to him, but Congress threw the brakes on that. Checks and balances are a beautiful thing.) However, it cannot be denied that, over the past fifty years, the Supremes have been leaning away from the 10th Amendment and more towards the feds. This means that the ruling could very well go to upholding the Individual Mandate (that is the only thing they will debate now, the ruling forced the issue to focus).
The Supremes will take the case. They can't ignore it. Like I said, this is a conflict of two major philosophies about the role of government in peoples' lives. It will have to be heard. And you can't gauge what will happen based on who was appointed. The three judge panel? The decided vote from Frank Hull? Hull was appointed by Bill Clinton.
I note, however, that the ruling isn't front page news and no one, from the Tea Partiers to the D's, is acting like idiots. Everyone is being patient, and everyone is simply stating facts and letting others state their facts. In other words, everyone is being respectful despite their differences.
So, the court system is working and political debate is humanized.
I could get used to this.
Too bad it won't last....