Saturday, August 13, 2011

Atlanta Appeals Court Finds Obamacare Unconstitutional

Another setback for socialized medicine:
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the health care reform law’s requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance is unconstitutional, a striking blow to the legislation that increases the odds the Supreme Court will choose to review the law.

The suit was brought by 26 states — nearly all led by Republican governors and attorneys general — and the National Federation of Independent Business. The Department of Justice is expected to appeal.

The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate.
Since the original legislation has no severability clause (i.e., that would allow some parts of it to go forward but not others), the Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide whether the law can indeed stand without the individual mandate.

One practical issue apart from the constitutional questions (that is sometimes lost in the shuffle) is that the individual mandate would be one-size-fits-all (effectively prohibiting high deductible or cafeteria plans), thereby resulting in increased premiums for everyone.

Separately, the administration lost another round in federal court in connection with oil exploration rules:
A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land. U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said.

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