Today we heard that a Florida judge found President Obama's health care reform legislation unconstitutional. "Uh oh!", we all cried. "Not good!" Well, one commenter argued, maybe part of the ruling makes sense. They broke it down for us.
I just finished reading through the opinion. Truthfully, it's a very well-reasoned opinion which I am inclined to agree with.
Congress is not regulating commercial activity so much as commercial inactivity. It is mandating that an individual engage in commercial activity with a third-party where that activity did not previously exist - to wit, mandating that a person pay money to a private insurance company based solely on the person's status as a living breathing human being.
Compare this to a requirement that one purchase car insurance. There, the person has actively entered a sphere of influence by owning a car. Stop owning the car and you won't have to pay for car insurance.
The subtext is fairly clear - a dialing back of the Commerce Clause which has expanded since the New Deal era. But that doesn't change the fact that the mandate appears to regulate commercial inactivity.
I do disagree in that I find that the mandate is severable from the rest of the Act and that the Act should not fail completely based on the mandate.
The question now is whether the Supreme Court waits for the Circuit to weigh in or grants cert directly.
Agree? Disagree? In need of a drink either way? Probably.