- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2011

Obamacare is unconstitutional. Everybody seems to understand that except Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama.

Yesterday, Florida federal district Judge C. Roger Vinson became the second jurist to rule Congress has no authority to force Americans to buy a particular product such as health insurance. When that was suggested last year to then-Speaker Pelosi, she incredulously asked, “Are you serious?” Liberals sneered at the notion that the Constitution imposes any limits on congressional power or that the old document is even relevant.

On Dec. 13, Virginia federal district Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled the individual mandate not just unconstitutional but also dangerous because it, “would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers.” Judge Vinson added to that reproof, ruling the mandate didn’t pass muster, wasn’t severable from the rest of Obamacare and that therefore the entire law is unconstitutional and “must be declared void.”

“Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States,” Judge Vinson wrote. “If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a transaction … it is not hyperbolic to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.” He warned that the Obama administration’s logic could give government the right to interfere into “even personal decisions about whether to marry, whom to marry, or whether to have children.”

This overreach parallels ongoing encroachments into what should be private matters. Yesterday, stricter “dietary guidelines” were issued for future government-run food programs. As bureaucrats take control of more food distribution and expand school offerings to cover three meals a day, these regulations will affect more Americans. New Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan refused during a confirmation hearing to say Congress lacks power to mandate what foods we eat.

Judge Vinson’s decision insisted the federal government does not possess such unlimited powers. The Constitution draws lines by enumerating certain powers for the feds while reserving other authority to the states or the people. Obamacare’s mandate doesn’t lie within those enumerated powers. Because Democratic leaders argued the mandate “is essential to the Act’s comprehensive scheme” and “necessary to make the other regulations in the Act effective,” the judge ruled that if the mandate falls, so does the whole law.

With similar decisions coming out of federal courts in Florida and Virginia, the Supreme Court has a solid legal record from which to draw. It should allow these challenges to skip intermediate appeals courts, take these cases on an expedited basis and strike down Obamacare.

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