The week has brought two potentially future-altering stories -- one out of Florida, the other out of the Middle East.
In Pensacola, Federal District Judge Roger Vinson ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional -- all of it. Not just the individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance because it's good for the citizenry and the nation, like broccoli. But the whole thing.
On Jan. 31, Judge Vinson found ObamaCare's justification on the basis of either the "commerce clause" or the "necessary and proper clause" -- or both -- unconvincing. And because in ramming the thing through Congress the Democrats removed "severability" from their measure to socialize the nation's medicine, the individual mandate cannot be "severed" from the rest of the measure -- and so the full measure has to be thrown out.
Judge Vinson's is the second, and broader, judicial deconstruction of Nancy Pelosi's, Harry Reid's and Barack Obama's marquee legislative success. On Dec. 13, Federal District Judge Henry Hudson tossed the individual mandate only. Likely next year, the Supreme Court will render the final verdict on ObamaCare.
Already a new Republican House has voted for ObamaCare's repeal. By the time you read these words, a similar repeal vote in the new less Democratic Senate will have failed, by about 53-47. Democratic senators seeking re-election in 2012 will have to explain their pro-ObamaCare votes to their anti-ObamaCare constituents. What was that about not living in interesting times?
This is a delicious moment. With a distraught White House ululating that they have "over-reached," Judges Hudson and Vinson have found ObamaCare a mechanism for federal power without stint or limit, and ruled it an unconstitutional rationale for compelling a free people into a communal health-care system. Wrote Judge Vinson: The individual mandate "cannot be reconciled with a limited government of enumerated powers." So the entire act "must be declared void."
So much for the best that Obama's best and brightest could do.
In Cairo -- indeed across the Middle East in Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, Sanaa and Amman -- protesters have taken to the streets demanding, seemingly, freedom and democracy. Or have they? Are freedom and democracy that autocrats deny what the demonstrations really are about, or are they democratic facades masking jihadist manipulation? Is islamofascism the end-game -- and jihad?
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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