President Obama’s health care takeover just fought the U.S. Constitution, and the Constitution won.
Earlier today, Judge Roger Vinson of the district court in Pensacola, Florida, issued a 78-page decision striking down all of the president’s heath insurance “reform” as unconstitutional. Vinson ruled the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance, violated the Commerce Clause. He found that mandate cannot be separated from the rest of the bill, so the entire bill is unconstitutional:
I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate…Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.
Vinson, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, made clear his opposition to the bill came from its gross violation of the Constitution. Vinson wrote, “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.” He concluded, “Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution.”
This lawsuit was filed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a former Republican Congressman, and ultimately joined by 26 states.
Today’s ruling raises several significant points. Vinson’s decision comes just a month after District Judge Henry E. Hudson of Virginia ruled the individual mandate provision is unconstitutional. Although Hudson found that requiring citizens to buy health insurance or face a fine “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power” in December, his ruling applied only to that provision. That repeal fight, led by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, hoped to see all of ObamaCare ruled illegitimate. Today’s ruling grants their wish. Either or both rulings will inevitably be decided by the Supreme Court, but the process could take years.
Which raises the second point: Elections have consequences. Judge Vinson was appointed by Ronald Reagan. Although Republicans have appointed their share of poor judges over history (do the names Earl Warren or John Paul Stevens ring a bell?), the most radical judges at all levels of the judiciary have received their patronage courtesy of the Democratic Party. In 2008, the American people elected a president who stated the Constitution “represented the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.” Twenty-eight years earlier, they elected a president with a clear history of supporting constitutional boundaries for government. Ronald Reagan’s believed America represents a “shining city on a hill,” while Barack Obama continually expounds upon “our tragic history.” The views of a president, however charismatic of likable he appears on manipulated media, will continue to affect every level of our government even after they pass away. America can be happy the man who appointed Judge Vinson loved the
Founders, their system of government, and the concept of liberty. Reagan’s most famous speech on the subject of socialized medicine leads me to believe the Gipper is up there smiling at today’s ruling.
The last and most important factor raised by today’s ruling is one that has been apparent for months, but must be confirmed again and again: The American people have rediscovered the Constitution, and the entire Republican Party had better follow suit. Contrary to what hacks on both sides of the aisle say, the Tea Party movement did not begin inside the Republican Party or as a reaction to Barack Obama. The origins of the Tea Party go back ideologically for decades, and proximately they go back to the days of George W. Bush. For his admirable personal and presidential attributes, his free-spending fiscal record alarmed a growing segment of the country, resulting in the loss of Congress in 2006 and the presidency two years later. Obama’s pell mell rush toward debt crisis and insistence on foisting socialized medicine on a country that did not want it burst the dam of public disapproval at the elites’ irresponsibility. The Tea Party was born — and it scared both parties silly. As Floyd Brown has written, “Underneath all the bluster, we live in a single party country where the Republicans and Democrats are just different factions of a big-government loving elite feasting on the plunder of an enormous bureaucracy. The reason both Republicans and Democrats fear the Tea Party movement is because its members aren’t from the club.”
The Tea Party began as an ad hoc opposition to bailouts, takeovers, and debt slavery. But it has evolved into a shrewd and powerful political vehicle — as Michele Bachmann put it, “a dynamic force for good” — all its own. With numerical growth has come intellectual depth, with its members increasingly pledging their allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and its expressed limits on federal power.
We know who is to blame for our plight: we are. We elected or tolerated political leaders in both parties who ratcheted up the spending, tightened the shackles of government dependence, exported jobs, imported cheap labor, and bought off the rest of us with pleasant-sounding entitlement programs. Our overindulgence bought us our current plight.
Our president may not understand it, but the Pilgrims who came to this country did so for religious reasons; they believed they were establishing a government that would best reflect Christian morality. Their descendants crafted a Constitution that secured the maximum amount of liberty for them and their posterity.
Once again today, Americans see themselves in a moment comparable to the Israelites of yore. In the Old Testament, during the days of King Josiah, the people had forsaken their heritage and invented better, more “modern” ways of living. Then the high priest Hilkiah found the Bible inside the Temple — unused and forgotten for a generation. The Bible says, “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes” (II Kings 22:11). The American people have awakened from their long national flirtation with Fabian socialism, rediscovered the founding text of this nation, and committed themselves to seeing that their elected leaders follow it again.
That decision is a healthy corrective — and a declaration of revolution.