So far the scorecard is two – two. Two federal courts have upheld ObamaCare and two have struck at least part of it down. Now the Obama administration is preparing for another court decision, this time in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, GA. Rumor has it that the three judge panel is expected to declare part of if not all of ObamaCare unconstitutional. From LA Times:
A top Obama administration lawyer defending last year’s healthcare law ran into skeptical questions Wednesday from three federal judges here, who suggested they may be ready to declare all or part of the law unconstitutional.
Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal faced off against former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement in what has become the largest and broadest challenge to the healthcare law. In all, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business joined in urging the judges to strike down the law.
And in an ominous sign for the administration, the judges opened the arguments by saying they knew of no case in American history where the courts had upheld the government’s power to force someone to buy a product.
“I can’t find any case like this,” said Chief Judge Joel Dubina of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. “If we uphold this, are there any limits” on the power of the federal government? he asked.
Judge Stanley Marcus appeared to agree. “I can’t find any case” in the past where the courts upheld “telling a private person they are compelled to purchase a product in the open market…. Is there anything that suggests Congress can do this?”
This is the latest news to surface about the many court challenges of ObamaCare. On April 25th the SCOTUS declined an appeal by Virginia’s attorney general to expedite its case. The SCOTUS apparently wants to wait for the various court cases to work their way through the lower appellate courts before considering the case. But regardless of the decision in Atlanta the SCOTUS will eventually be making the final ruling. Of course, if the 11th Circuit court rules against ObamaCare it does give the challengers more ammunition to bring to the SCOTUS when the time comes.
The fundamental question in the court challenge has not changed. Does the federal government have the authority to mandate Americans to purchase a product? There is absolutely no doubt that the Constitution says “No.” But the Obama administration says “Yes.” What will the courts say? I certainly hope they rule in favor of the Constitution, but the SCOTUS hasn’t always been so favorable to liberty. While I look forward to the day when the SCOTUS rules the entire law unconstitutional, I much prefer Congress completely repealing it.