Via Hot Air.
The Sixth Circuit has denied an appeal by the Thomas More Law Center and a group of individuals whose challenge to the ObamaCare mandate lost at the district-court level. In a split decision, the panel upheld the individual mandate as falling within the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and ruled that the Constitution does not forbid regulation of “inactivity”.
The court concluded:
Congress had a rational basis for concluding that, in the aggregate, the practice of self-insuring for the cost of health care substantially affects interstate commerce. Furthermore, Congress had a rational basis for concluding that the minimum coverage provision is essential to the Affordable Care Act’s larger reforms to the national markets in health care delivery and health insurance. Finally, the provision regulates active participation in the health care market, and in any case, the Constitution imposes no categorical bar on regulating inactivity. Thus, the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause, and the decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.
Judge Graham’s dissent:
If Congress exceeded its authority by enacting the mandate, then the mandate is “legally stillborn” and cannot be valid in any application. Virginia v. Sebelius, 728F.Supp.2d 768, 774 (E.D. Va. 2010). “There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution can be valid.” The Federalist No. 78 (A. Hamilton). As cases in point, Lopez and Morrison struck down statutes as facially unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and did so without reference to Salerno. United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995); United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). …
If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be. What aspect of human activity would escape federal power? The ultimate issue in this case is this: Does the notion of federalism still have vitality? To approve the exercise of power would arm Congress with the authority to force individuals to do whatever it sees fit (within boundaries like the First Amendment and Due Process Clause), as long as the regulation concerns an activity or decision that, when aggregated, can be said to have some loose, but-for type of economic connection, which nearly all human activity does. See Lopez, 514 U.S. at 565 (“[D]epending on the level of generality, any activity can be looked upon as commercial.”). Such a power feels very much like the general police power that the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States and the people. A structural shift of that magnitude can be accomplished legitimately only through constitutional amendment.
Read the decision HERE.
Obama is trying to create a commerce (i.e. “activity) which is not allowed by the Constitution. There’s nothing remotely “individual” about the ObamaCare mandate. The Constitution does not give Congress the power to require that Americans purchase government mandated services, including health insurance. Nor does it permit the federal government to force citizens to use their own money to purchase government mandated services. Period.
Just to clarify things a bit: Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, also known as the Commerce Clause:
Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;…
It had to do with the establishment of federal rules to ensure fair practices in the trade of goods across state boundaries. It has nothing to do with a government-created commerce which forces citizens, by law, to purchase said commerce. Furthermore, government interference is limited by the Tenth Amendment, which provides that any powers that are not enumerated in the Constitution are reserved for the states.
The Commerce Clause has been twisted and manipulated to justify the use of federal laws that have little to do with interstate commerce.
The Sixth District Court decision doesn’t affect the number of states which have filed lawsuits against ObamaCare. By the way, the court also rejected the argument that the mandate is part of the federal government’s taxing power.
This will end up in the United States Supreme Court. Until then, expect the battle to be played out in the courts of appeals all the way up.
- A Bad Day for ObamaCare at the 11th Circuit? (reason.com)
- The individual mandate is neither “necessary” nor “proper” (volokh.com)
- Sixth Circuit: Why, Of Course The Constitution Authorizes The Government To Compel You To Buy Things You Don’t Want; It’s Right There In Article [Inaudible] Clause [Inaudible]