Second Judge Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

Tad the bartender: Did they shoot your horse?

Tom Reagan: If there’s any justice.

Miller’s Crossing (1989)

Well, thank goodness, there is still some, Tom.

This Monday, January 31st, 2011, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson became the second judge to officially recognize the painfully obvious: namely, that forcing people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

Judge Vinson ruled that the reform law’s so-called “individual mandate” went “too far” in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty, stating furthermore:

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”

Difficult decision? Seriously? This is a no-brainer.

Today was a small victory for my favorite lady, and yet Judge Vinson — who was so overwhelming correct in his ruling — makes me nervous with his equivocal language, leading to the real question:

How could any sane person actually believe that government possesses legitimate authority to force me or anyone to buy health insurance?


15 Comments

  • Lorne Barr

    January 31, 2011

    My man, With this ruling in our sweaty fist, Im curious if youve heard a time frame for this charades endgame with the Supremes?
    I can see it now… Obummer as Roy. Seated crosslegged upon a polished table, shirtless. Hands in his lap. Mahogany fingers curled around a tattered copy of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
    ” Ive seen things you people wouldnt believe. Demagogic attacks and rhetorical platitudes to fire my fame. Ive seen trillions frittered while unemployment passed eight. All my… mandates… will be lost…. Two more years in pain. time to die.” A stiff wind begins peeling pages from his burden……. aaaaaaannnd SCENE!

  • Ray

    February 1, 2011

    Oh, I like that. Only one thing you might have included:

    “Blue at birth and redder than usual …”

    In answer to your question, and quoting Newsweek:

    [E]xperts generally predict that the Supreme Court won’t be ruling on the issue for another two years and that it will likely be a 5–4 majority—but which way that majority will go is unclear.

    Something else to consider: more than half of all states are suing to nullify the individual mandate.

  • Dale

    February 1, 2011

    One thing we know for sure: four SCOTUS judges will vote to uphold the law based on their liberal ideology, and damn the Constitution. How are we to respect that?

  • Ray

    February 1, 2011

    How are we to respect that?

    Answer: we’re not.

    And remember: the revolution won’t be televised, but it will be broadcast live here.

  • Ray

    February 1, 2011

    Something else well worth noting: In his ruling, Judge Roger Vinson used Obama’s own words to refute the individual mandate, pointing out what we’ve several times pointed out here: namely, in campaigning against Hillary (who’s of course for the individual mandate), Obama was against it. Video footage of that so-called debate here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FHzqY_9IPI

    In other words, Obama was against it before he was for it.

    Quoting Judge Roger Vinson’s actual words:

    “I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.'”

  • Dale

    February 1, 2011

    Ray, the Constitution opens “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Please pardon the repetition, but I include it for a reason. Note that “insure domestic Tranquility” just happens to come before “promote the general Welfare”.

    Do you think Tea Parties, the town hall meetings of 2009, the continued opposition, lawsuits by more than half the states, etc., tend to “insure domestic Tranquility”?

    Let me restate that. If, “in Order to form a more perfect Union”, we must compromise laissez-faire and “promote the general Welfare”, shouldn’t it be done in such a way that it will “insure domestic Tranquility”?

  • Dale

    February 1, 2011

    On a more philosophical note, ontological arguments are often first-cause (the unmoved mover), or final cause (teleological).
    There was widespread opposition to the Health Care Affordability Act, arguing it did not originate from the people; hence was government initiative.
    How would you characterize the government’s assuming the role of first cause? By forcing you to cease inactivity and buy insurance?
    It just seems presumptuous to me, I mean, besides being unconstitutional.

  • Ray

    February 2, 2011

    Hi Dale. You ask:

    Do you think Tea Parties, the town hall meetings of 2009, the continued opposition, lawsuits by more than half the states, etc., tend to “insure domestic Tranquility”?

    Let me restate that. If, “in Order to form a more perfect Union”, we must compromise laissez-faire and “promote the general Welfare”, shouldn’t it be done in such a way that it will “insure domestic Tranquility”?

    In theory, I don’t think that there need necessarily be a compromise, first of all, because under a system of full laissez-faire capitalism, those listed things are perfectly compatible. But I do think (and have long thought) that, like the eminent domain and the interstate commerce clauses, the general welfare clause is a serious flaw in the Constitution. There are several of those flaws (such as giving congress power to tax, and such as giving government control over the mail). The Constitution is a brilliant document — the greatest political document in the history of humankind — but it is imperfect. It’s imperfect because it didn’t fully systematize and codify the nature of rights, including, crucially, the right to property, which of course includes money.

    Opposition to statism does not insure tranquility, but statism is not nor was ever meant to be the function of the American government, and tranquility cannot by definition exist under statism; so that now that we live under a statist government — and have for many, many decades — the insuring of tranquility is out the window.

    How would I characterize the government’s assuming the role of first cause?

    I would characterize it as wrong and disastrous.

  • Dale

    February 2, 2011

    Thanks, Ray. Of course, it is forcing unconstitutional laws down our throat that incite civil unrest. Since this infringes on the conceptual goal of insuring tranquility, I argue it fails the “civility” test.

    In the “health care reform” case, it was clearly against the will of many people, if not a clear majority. I consider Tea Parties symptoms of unrest, caused by the actions of ideology-driven politicians. I know the wording is tricky, and my earlier question reads wrong to me now, though the point is the same.

    Of course, ignoring a judicial ruling that voids said unconstitutional law seems uncivil to me as well.

    I think the Constitution does protect our money and property, but that the population has allowed itself to accept the state’s claims to seize it at will (click-click).

    Ah, first cause, wrong and disastrous indeed. Let me narrow the question. Do you think government compelling citizens to action, where they may have been otherwise inert, analogous to assuming the role of first cause in an ontological sense, if even in a narrow way?

  • Ray

    February 3, 2011

    Hi Dale. Your question is complicated and not easy to answer, but I think I understand what you’re driving at, and my answer is yes, I do in a certain sense think government is assuming the role of first-cause. I also think, on a related note, that there is a universe of difference between voluntary acts of charity and good will among humans — which I emphatically endorse — and government-mandated laws of “involuntary charity” (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one), wherein we are compelled under threat of force to give to government, who will then redistribute our money, and we have absolutely no choice or say in where the product of our labor goes.

  • Dale

    February 3, 2011

    Little Johnny’s third grade teacher, hand behind back, says, “I have something in my hand. It’s round and red, and I want you to guess what it is.”

    Johnny’s hand shoots up, but teacher knows Johnny’s reputation, so calls on little Mary. “It’s a ball!” Mary guesses. “Nice try,” says teacher, showing an apple and saying, “but I made you think, didn’t I?”

    Next day, teacher does the same thing, hand behind back, says “I have something in my hand. It’s round and red, and I want you to guess what it is.”

    Again, Johnny has his hand up, but teacher will have none of it, calls on little Billy. “It’s an orange!” guesses Billy. “Nope,” teacher replies, “it’s a ball, but I made you think, didn’t I?”

    Next day, Johnny’s had enough of this, saunters up to teacher before class, his hand in his front pocket. “Hey teach,” Johnny says, “I have something in my hand, it’s long and hard, and has a head on the end of it. I want you to guess what it is.”

    Teacher smacks! Johnny. Johnny pulls his hand out of his pocket, shows her, “It’s a nail, but I made you think, didn’t I?”

  • Dale

    February 3, 2011

    Good answer Ray. But, like your ass-juice envy, I was really just kidding. One must admit, though, it is scary when governments assume roles synonymous with ontological rationalizations.

  • Nick

    February 3, 2011

    Why did Billy think an orange was red?

    What a fucking idiot.

  • Dale

    February 3, 2011

    Because paste what’s in the buffer, not in the mind.

  • Nick

    February 4, 2011

    Speaking of paste, stop huffing it.

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