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September 08, 2011

Liberal Fourth Circuit Panel Rejects ObamaCare Challenge

As far as expectations: This is what we expected.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) does not have a legal right to sue over the law's requirement that most people buy insurance. The court vacated a lower court's ruling in the case and instructed the lower court to dismiss the suit.


The Supreme Court is almost certain to have the final say on whether the coverage mandate is constitutional. Most legal observers expect the court to hear arguments during the term that begins in October, and rule in the summer of 2012.

The 4th Circuit’s long-awaited decision isn’t a huge surprise: those who attended oral arguments in the suits said the judges seemed skeptical of the mandate’s critics, especially Cuccinelli. All three of the judges who heard the case were appointed by Democratic presidents, and two were appointed by Obama.

So the situation isn't changed: It's still going to the Supreme Court, and we have one circuit court which has ruled that a key element of the legislation is utterly unconstitutional.

What bothers me, though, is that no circuit court ruled that the legislation as a whole is unconstitutional -- the 11th circuit tossed out the mandate, but then ruled the rest of the legislation could survive without it. Despite the fact that they was argued by Obama to be a key part of the law, a crucial bit of financing.

Unless the Supreme Court gets more cojones than that, and merely follows the 11th Circuit's ruling, we're going to have all of the bad parts of ObamaCare on the books but, even worse, even less money to pay for it, which would mean that Congress would have to increase taxes for that purpose.

I previously thought the entire law could be scrapped if we just elected a Republican majority into Congress, but Michele Bachmann keeps saying we will need 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster of repeal. I thought we could just use reconciliation rules for this (the same way the thing was passed in the first place), but Bachmann doesn't seem to think that's possible, and as no one questions her on this, I think she must be right.

Does anyone know the answer here? I guess reconciliation can only be used... what, as a bill is specifically being passed and not merely later changed? Why can't the House pass some kind of modification to ObamaCare, and then have 51 Senators invoke the reconciliation rules (no filibuster for changes that reduce the deficit) to pass a general repeal?

That's what I thought we could do, but a sitting Congresswoman who seems pretty well versed on this issue says no.



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posted by Ace at 12:56 PM

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