The Blog

Obamacare Legal Challenge has 'Serious Case,' 'Real Chance of Victory'

7:26 AM, Nov 9, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Law professor Ilya Somin chronicles the legal cases against Obamacare:

When 21 states and several private groups initiated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Obama health care law earlier this year, critics denounced the suits as frivolous political grandstanding. But it is increasingly clear that the plaintiffs have a serious case with a real chance of victory.

The suits focus primarily on challenges to the new law's "individual mandate," which requires most American citizens to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan by 2014 or pay a fine. One of the cases was filed by 20 state governments and the National Federation of Independent Business in a federal court inFlorida. Another was initiated by the Commonwealth of Virginia in a federal court in this state, and a third by the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan.

The judges considering the Florida and Virginia cases have both issued rulings rejecting the federal government's motions to dismiss the suits and indicating that the mandate can't be upheld based on currentSupreme Court precedent. By contrast, Michigan district Judge George Caram Steeh wrote a decision concluding that the mandate is constitutional. But even he agreed that the case raises an "issue of first impression."

In the most recent of the three rulings, Florida federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson wrote that the government's claim that the mandate is clearly authorized by existing Supreme Court precedent is "not even a close call." He points out that "[t]he power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent," because no previous Supreme Court decision ever authorized Congress to force ordinary citizens to buy products they did not want.

Whole thing here.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers