The Obama administration has filed papers with the federal appeals court in Atlanta seeking to overturn a Florida judge’s ruling declaring the entire Obamacare law unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, in January, ruled the individual mandate is unconstitutional and, therefore, the entire law is as well.
The individual mandate is a portion of the law independent and conservative voters most strongly oppose because it requires Americans to purchase health insurance, that could fund abortions with taxpayer funds or premiums, whether they want to or not. The case the state of Florida and more than two dozen others made to Judge Vinson is that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the Constitution does not allow Congress to regulate financial inactivity.
In March, Vinson issued a second opinion as he noted with quite a bit of consternation that it had been more than a month since his original ruling and the Obama administration has not filed any papers related to its appeal.
On Friday, the Justice Department filed a 62-page motion with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals claiming there is a clear and well-established precedent for Congress to pass the Obamacare legislation, which promoted rationing and contained no language limiting the funding of abortions with taxpayer funds. The appeal documents said Congress made “detailed findings establishing a foundation” for exercising the authority.
Vinson, in his March ruling, issued a stay of his own decision and he said, “The sooner this issue is finally decided by the Supreme Court, the better off the entire nation will be,” adding that “the citizens of this country have an interest in having this case resolved as soon as practically possible.”
“That was nearly eleven months ago,” he wrote. “In the time since, the battle lines have been drawn, the relevant case law marshaled, and the legal arguments refined. Almost everyone agrees that the constitutionality of the Act is an issue that will ultimately have to be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward.”
“It is likely that the Court of Appeals will also reach divergent results and that, as most court-watchers predict, the Supreme Court may eventually be split on this issue as well,” he wrote.
In his original ruling in January striking Obamacare, Judge Vinson wrote, “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications. At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled ‘The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.’”
“Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution,” the judge wrote. “This case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation. It is about the Constitutional role of the federal government.”
“Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with individual mandate,” he added.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington joined Florida in the lawsuit. Earlier in January, six additional states joined them: Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The state of Virginia filed its own lawsuit and a federal judge struck down the individual mandate but not the rest of the Obamacare law. That lawsuit, too, is moving to a federal appeals court.