Saturday, February 05, 2011

Activist Tea Party Judge Rules ObamaCare Unconstitutional

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place ~ Reagan appointed Florida Federal judge Roger Vision, in his 1/31/2011 ruling declaring the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

"A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that President Barack Obama's entire health care overhaul law is unconstitutional, placing even noncontroversial provisions under a cloud in a broad challenge that seems certain to be resolved only by the Supreme Court"; according to a 1/31/2011 Huffington Post article. The judge's ruling, which included an obvious shout-out to the Tea Party, was characterized by the White House as "a plain case of judicial overreaching".

Four court rulings have thus far been handed down - with two judges upholding the health care legislation and two judges ruling against it. The two ruling in favor of ObamaCare were Democratic appointees, while the two ruling against were Republican appointees. A 2/1/2011 CNN reporter believes the case could head to the Supreme Court "as soon as later this year". How the Supreme Court will rule is "far less predictable than it might seem from the ruling by Judge Vinson".

A 2/4/2011 article from Global Research points out that while "The five Republican-appointed judges certainly embrace the political rhetoric of the ultra-right ... the entire court, including the four Democratic appointees, has been assiduously pro-corporate in their ruling[s]".

How the Supreme Court ultimately decides, I believe, will depend on what the health insurance companies truly desire, and not the what the Tea Party wants. Will the health insurance corporations want to overturn a law that mandates virtually every American purchase their product? Businessweek says "Insurers and other health care companies view the mandate as the law's bedrock - and the source of new profits".

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) says, in regards to elements of the legislation that he agrees with, "[they] need to be preserved, need to be cuddled, need to be snuggled, need to be promoted and need to be implemented". Because "Frist has a fortune in the millions of dollars, most of it the result of his ownership of stock in Hospital Corporation of America, the for-profit hospital chain founded by his brother and father", my guess would be that the individual mandate is one of the "strong elements" he agrees with.

So, while FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe and Utah's Tea Party Senator Mike Lee believe ObamaCare will be overturned, I think the Tea Partiers, including those who responded to a recent World Net Daily poll (see below), may end up quite disappointed.

On the other hand, we know that (at least) two Supreme Court justices are sympathetic to the Tea Party. Antonin Scalia met with the House Tea Party caucus on 1/24/2011. Law professor and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Turley observed that the closed-door get-together, "suggests an alliance between the conservative members of the court and the conservative members of Congress".

And then there's Ginny Thomas, wife of SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas, who "started a nonprofit Tea Party-affiliated lobbying group, Liberty Central [to oppose the] leftist tyranny of President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats". Ginny's group has lobbied against the health care legislation.

Can the House Republicans, which recently voted to repeal the "job killing" health care legislation, count on their activist Supreme Court allies to rule ObamaCare unconstitutional, or will the activists on the Supreme Court back their corporate buddies instead? I can't find anyone who believes with certainty the outcome will be one over the other. What do you think?

Further Reading
[1] Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance - In 1798 by Rick Ungar, Forbes 1/17/2011.
[2] Our Socialist Founding Fathers by Mark Brown, Jurist 10/12/2009.

SWTD #61