Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"ObamaCare" Already Ruled Un-Constitutional?

Last month US District Judge Roger Vinson ruled all of the Obama health care law as unconstitutional due to the failure of the law's crafters to include any form of severability clause to distinguish between various requirements imposed by the law:

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson agreed with the states that the new law violates people’s rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties. He went a step further than a previous ruling against the law, declaring the entire thing unconstitutional if the insurance requirement does not hold up.

Predictably, the Obama Administration has responded by saying the ruling will be appealed:

The final step will almost certainly be the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other federal judges have already upheld the law and a federal judge in Virginia ruled the insurance mandate unconstitutional but stopped short of voiding the entire thing.

At issue was whether the government is reaching beyond its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce by requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or face tax penalties.

Via Kevin Not-Bacon (a little Vicious Circle humor there) comes notice in this post that the Supreme Court may have already ruled conclusively - if indirectly - on this question:

There is a constitutional right not to be murdered by a state officer, for the state violates the Fourteenth Amendment when its officer, acting under color of state law, deprives a person of life without due process of law. Brazier v. Cherry, 293 F.2d 401, 404-05 (5th Cir. 1961). But there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone.

Bowers v. DeVito (1982)

The key component being, "... no constitutional right to be protected by the state ... The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone".

From this ruling, it would seem that it would be "monstrous" for the federal government not to regulate the market regarding health care standards of care and treatment (which it does via the FDA amongst other mechanisms), but that the Constitution forbids the federal government from imposing upon the stipulated rights of individual citizens ("... negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone").

President Obama's health care law relies upon the stipulation of there being a "right" to government regulated health care as a basis for it's acceptability to the requirements of the US Constitution. Apparently, the US Supreme Court has long since ruled that no such justification exists.


Kevin said...

That's an OUTSTANDING point.

I'm sure the opposition will simply shout "Dicta! It's just dicta!"

Will Brown said...

Blush! ;-)