The Denver post reported this morning that US District Judge Roger Vinson ruled the Health Care Reform law was unconstitutional. Read the complete article here, but here are some excerpts I want to cover.
The judge’s ruling produced an even split in federal court decisions so far on the health care law, mirroring enduring divisions among the public. Two judges had previously upheld the law, both Democratic appointees. A Republican appointee in Virginia had ruled against it.
We have, it seems, turned the United States Constitution into a political football. Where elections determine the interpretation of the constitution, and we are ruled by the whims of the electorate instead of by law. The difference can simply be illustrated as a lynch mob vs. a jury trial. The constitution ‘should’ protect us from power grabs from either party, including the Patriot Act and Real ID passed by Republicans, but we have allowed ourselves to be docile while we await the decision of our betters.
The Justice Department quickly announced it would appeal, and administration officials declared that for now the federal government and the states would proceed without interruption to carry out the law. It seemed evident that only the U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a final verdict on Obama’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage.
Let this paragraph be a warning, this decision was no victory for either conservatives, or the rule of law. It is simply an illustration of the problem we face. Who decides what is constitutional? Let me give you an illustration of how important this question is. Let’s say you and a friend decide to go into business together. The two of you draw up a contract where you cover every conceivable point of contention, but you both realize you could not have covered everything. Your friend comes up with an idea that his brother should have the final say on all disputes. Can you imagine anyone actually agreeing with that? Why? Because ‘the final say’ of any dispute is the ultimate power, while I understand this illustration is not analogous to the Constitution, it does demonstrate clearly the power implied by the question; WHO DECIDES?
“The judge’s decision contradicts decades of Supreme Court precedent that support the considered judgment of the democratically elected branches of government that the act’s individual responsibility provision is necessary to prevent billions of dollars of cost-shifting every year by individuals without insurance who cannot pay for the health care they obtain,” White House adviser Stephanie Cutter wrote in an Internet posting. [Emphasis added]
Put another way, unless all American are put into the insurance pool, the big insurance companies cannot maintain profitability of “expanding” coverage. That is why after the Senate version was announced, Howard Dean called it a “bailout for insurance companies”. And according to Ms. Cutter from the White House, the Supreme Court has upheld this brand of corporatism for decades. And while this takes Federal Power to a whole new level, she is correct, over the last 150 years, the Courts have a history of siding with Congress over the Constitution and the people. And when you think about it logically, that is as predictable as your friends brother siding against you in the example I provided earlier.