Monthly Archives: December 2010

YES, WE WERE SERIOUS…SO WAS A FEDERAL JUDGE

On Monday, December 13, a federal judge ruled in favor of Virginia’s challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known (officially) as the ACA or (unofficially) as Obamacare. Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that a key provision of the health care law exceeds congressional power under the Constitution. He found no authority to require the purchase of health care policies under the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause.

I suppose the ruling is also a tacit invalidation of other clauses invented by Democratic lawmakers, such as John Conyers’ “Good and Welfare Clause.” That said, at least Conyers attempted to cite some constitutional authority for the individual mandate. His peers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who in one instance attacked such a query as not being serious), simply dismissed the question of constitutionality altogether.

Though Judge Hudson stopped short of injunction, his ruling was an enormous setback for what many view as President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Today, a local newspaper (that hailed the health care reform as “historic”) acknowledged yesterday’s decision with the headline: “Judge sets back health law.”

The proverbial ink could barely have been dry before both sides looked to an eventual battle in the Supreme Court of the United States. Framing the decision in a victorious context, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the case was not about health insurance, or even health care, but about liberty itself.

Back in my October 6, 2010 blog, I cited conversations between the president and clergy members, and was critical of how he had asked them to propagandistically sell the new law from the pulpit. At that time, I warned against buying into his assertion that “the debate in Washington” was over and that the ACA was a matter of settled law. I called that statement premature, detailing how the act was under fire in the court as well as in the legislative arena.

I noted that President Obama had said in February that hard decisions were made, and “that’s what elections are for.” In the polling place where I worked on Election Day, I overheard voters (who entered and exited quickly) say their decision was easy. Such decisions ultimately resulted in nationwide Republican pickups of 5 governorships, 6 senate seats, 63 house seats, and perhaps even a partridge in a pear tree.

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