Judge O’Connor’s Obamacare ruling

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedU.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas upset the apple carts of those in D.C., many Republicans included with most all Democrats, who think out-of-date is the idea that actions of Congress which expand Federal power in a manner they like are subject to such old-fashioned restraints as constitutionality.

And to some degree those folk are correct in that much of the public doesn’t seem to care about constitutional limits either. Instead of focusing on why O’Conner struck down Obamacare as unconstitutional, the arguments most common in the popular press are tribal in nature. “Judge Reed O’Connor, Who Struck Down Obamacare, Has Long History Of Ruling Against Obama Policies,” was a headline the search engines brought up in the top five listings when simply searching the judge’s name.

O’Conner ruled in favor of the State of Texas and other states that had sued.

U.S. Supreme Court

There is no guarantee, especially in the era of the pliable-to-please Chief Justice John Roberts, that higher courts will agree with O’Connor’s ruling but his ruling is sound.

“When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, a majority of the justices agreed that the provision forcing individuals to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional without the tax penalty,” reminded Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. This was because Congress cannot compel commerce but only regulate it. The linchpin of how Obamacare was passed through Congress ended up being the penalty as a tax with other regulations flowing from that.

That penalty, backers said was not a tax until they needed it to be a tax before the courts you will remember, has been voted out and O’Conner’s ruling is that without the penalty (a.k.a. tax) the rest of Obamacare falls based on the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision.

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