White House Bracing for Another Legal Setback for Obamacare?

Posted: Dec 17, 2010 4:40 PM
The American Spectator's Philip Klein explains why another anti-Obamacare legal decision may be imminent:

On Thursday, another district court judge, Roger Vinson, heard oral arguments in a separate case against the individual mandate launched by Florida and 19 other states.

While a judge's posture in oral arguments isn't an ironclad indication of how he intends to vote, several news accounts of the hearing suggested [Judge] Vinson -- a Ronald Reagan appointee -- was extremely skeptical of the Obama administration's argument that the Commerce Clause gave the federal government the authority to regulate inactivity.

"It would be a giant leap for the Supreme Court to say that a decision to buy or not to buy is tantamount to activity," Vinson said, according to the Wall Street Journal. The judge noted that when he was in law school he was uninsured when his first son was born and paid out of pocket.

Vinson called the mandate a "giant expansion" of federal regulatory power, the New York Times reported, saying, "People have always exercised the freedom to choose whether to buy or not buy a commercial product."

There was even some suggestion that Vinson could go a step further in his ruling than the decision earlier this week. Hudson rejected Virginia's call to strike down the entire health care law if the mandate is deemed unconstitutional, but according to both accounts, Vinson seemed more sympathetic to striking down the whole law, arguing that its elements were interconnected, like a clock that stops working if one part isn't functioning properly.

We'll keep an eye on that case as it advances.  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, whose successful lawsuit against Obamacare electrified conservatives on Monday, addressed the Constitutional shortcomings of the new healthcare law at the Heritage Foundation last week: