Judge's ruling against Obamacare jolt to leftist-government leanings of president

Photo for Headline Surfer / President Obama and his Obamacare need to go, but anything can happen when it comes to politics in Washington.
 
Stanley Escudero, The Guidepost political column / Headline Surfer®By STANLEY ESCUDERO
The Guidepost
Headline Surfer®

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. -- Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, will go down in history as the day federal judge Roger Vinson moved the nation one very important step closer to a return to constitutional government and the defeat of Obama’s attempt to impose his vision of a leftist government fully in control of the lives and liberties of the people.

In his ruling in State of Florida vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Judge Vinson rejected the government’s defense of Obamacare and, ironically based in part on the arguments of the government’s lawyers, ruled that the entire law is unconstitutional.

The core of his decision rests upon the conclusion that in attempting to punish inactivity, (that is, the refusal to purchase health insurance) Congress has exceeded its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce because the constitution requires that there first be some form of commercial activity to regulate.

A decision not to purchase a thing is not, the government’s contorted explanations to the contrary, commercial activity. The Justice Department attorneys made it easier for Judge Vinson to strike down the entire law because they insisted that the individual mandate requiring purchase of health insurance was fundamental to the whole law, which could not stand without the mandate.

Thus when he found the mandate to be unconstitutional the entire law had to go. Incidentally, I agree with the federal attorneys on this point because the money from the forced sale of health insurance was to have been central to paying for the costs of Obamacare.

Without the money from the mandate sales, the Obama Administration would have had to tax or borrow hundreds of billions of dollars over the years to pay for the additional costs of its health care abomination.

In my view, Vinson’s decision was 100% correct. Had Congress been able to require the people to purchase health insurance and punish them if they do not, it would only have been a matter of time before Congress required us to pay a special tax if we are overweight or to purchase automobiles or financial services from firms in which the government owns an interest.

Carried to a logical extreme, Obama’s concept of commerce regulation would have removed every meaningful limitation on congressional power to tax or to control spending, leading eventually to government control over how we spend virtually every dollar we have.

Today’s decision stands alongside three other court findings on Obamacare, two of which support it and one of which held that the individual mandate was unconstitutional but permits the remainder of the law to stand. But Judge Vinson’s ruling is far more important than the other three as it responds to the complaints of 26 states which joined together in support of Florida’s suit.

For this reason, it seems likely that it will be the Florida case which finds its way to the Supreme Court, which will make the final decision on the constitutionality of the law. The Supreme Court decision, when it comes, will almost certainly be 5-4, but no one really knows which way the Court will rule. With that in mind the GOP must resist the temptation to do nothing further about the law and just wait until the Supremes rule. While the decision here may be a legal one, its outcome and impact will be wholly political.

For this reason, it seems likely that it will be the Florida case which finds its way to the Supreme Court, which will make the final decision on the constitutionality of the law. The Supreme Court decision, when it comes, will almost certainly be 5-4, but no one really knows which way the Court will rule. With that in mind the GOP must resist the temptation to do nothing further about the law and just wait until the Supremes rule. While the decision here may be a legal one, its outcome and impact will be wholly political.

The fact is that there are some few elements of Obamacare which are popular, such as keeping children on their parents‘ policies until age 26, eliminating pre-existing conditions as a basis for refusing insurance, and interstate competition amongst insurance companies, among others.

The Republicans should pull those out of the law, add other popular measures like tort reform, address each one separately in their own bills and pass them in the House, forcing the Dems either to vote against popular measures, refuse to bring them up for a Senate vote or to pass them in the Senate, thereby weakening the rationale for Obamacare, should it survive the legal process.

The same process can work in reverse, with the Republicans in the House passing bills which remove and terminate certain provisions of the 2300 page Obamacare bill such as mandating the filing of 1099 forms for any business transaction exceeding $600 or the taxes on real estate transactions of investment income for those making over $200,000 per year amongst many others.

Overall this would weaken the harm that Obamacare could do if it survives but could also help to build a congressional coalition in both houses which might be willing to vote to repeal the entire law, should the Court decision make that necessary.

Finally, this sort of continuing action campaign would keep Obama’s malign intent front and center in the public focus along with ongoing GOP actions to fulfill the pledges they made to the people during the last election campaign.

Whichever way this fight goes, the looming struggle over federal spending levels, the growing debt threat to the US economy and to the retention of the dollar as the global reserve currency, President Obama’s unending efforts to evade congressional authority and legislate via executive fiat through his many czars, spreading instability throughout my old stomping grounds in the Middle East, and preparations for the 2012 election campaign, all promise that 2011 will be a fascinating and quite dangerous year.

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Short Bio

The Guidepost By Stanley Escudero
Stanley Escudero is a retired career diplomat, businessman & native Floridian, who lives in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, with his wife, Jaye. He served as chairman of the Volusia County Republican Executive Committee in 2011-2012. Escudero was appointed to the Daytona State College Board of Trustees in 2015, By Gov. Rick Scott. Escudero, writer of the 'The Guidepost' politcal column since 2010, is a member of the inaugural Class of 2017 Headline Surfer Hall of Fame. All news content copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, which may not be duplicated or re-published in whole or in part without advance approval of the publisher. Headline Surfer® is published by award-winning journalist Henry Frederick.