Republican Judge Rules Wrong Way on Health Care Reform

A federal appeals court judge who was nominated by George W. Bush and clerked under Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an embarrassing error today when he ruled that Barack Obama's health care reform law was constitutional.

In a 2-to-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled today that the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, was constitutional. Conservative activists—including Clarence Thomas' wife and the Thomas More Law Center, which filed the complaint the court ruled on today—have seized on the mandate as an unconstitutional attempt to regulate economic inactivity, as opposed to activity.

But the Sixth Circuit—the highest court to rule on health care reform so far—disagreed, finding that the mandate is reasonable and constitutional. "No one is inactive when deciding how to pay for health care, as self-insurance and private insurance are two forms of action for addressing the same risk," wrote Judge Jeffrey Sutton.

Unfortunately for Sutton, he's a Bush appointee who studied law at the knee of Scalia, so he's going to be so embarrassed when he realizes that he accidentally affirmed the constitutionality of Obamacare, when he is supposed to—like every Republican-nominated judge to address the issue so far—rule against it. Sorry judge—no do-overs!

[Photo via Getty Images]