Even district judges are not unanimous in their opinions about the health-care bill. Just last week a district judge, in Michigan, ruled it constitutional for the Federal Government to make a mandate citizens of a state have to obtain insurance, and can be fined if they don’t. The judge ruled the health-care bill fell under interstate commerce laws, which grants the Federal Government that power.
Nevertheless, today a district judge in Florida wrote in a 65 page brief he’s not sure that provision is constitutional, and wants to hear arguments about it. He set December 16 for a hearing, according to “Judge: Suit over Health Overhaul can go to Trial.”
Undoubtedly, the diverse opinions at the district court level means the issue will land in the Supreme Courts lap.
The judge agreed with the 20 states, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, who jointly filed the suit that Congress infringed upon the sovereignty of the states with the health-care mandate. Obama’s attorneys said that the proposed fine was a tax and came under regulating interstate commerce, which is a power granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution.
The judge said that the health-care bill did not clearly state that premise, thus it cannot enforce it. He went on to say that, Congress could have deliberately left out the tax provision by calling it a penalty, and not a tax, because they did not want to face the electoral wrath in the voting booth.
The administration’s lawyers also contended plaintiffs could not sue until 2014, when this particular provision became law. The judge disagreed, and said that in his opinion that provision of the health-care bill is coercion.
Last month the administration had told the judge if he ruled for the plaintiff the health-care bill would not survive.
Florida’s Attorney General, who filed the suit, said that it’s the first step to having the whole bill declared unconstitutional, and giving the states back their sovereignty. However, the administration said they expected to win based on the judge’s decision in Michigan.
Another similar lawsuit is pending in Virginia, where a federal judge ruled that suit could continue, because of Constitutional concerns.
Melissa Nelson: Judge: Suit over Health Overhaul Can go to Trial: yahoo.com