In Detroit today, U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh refused to issue a preliminary injunction to delay implementing the law in the state. He also dismissed the key contention of the bill's conservative opponents: that a mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.
Ruh Roh! All those Wingnut Attorney General's and Governors who've been jumping up and down screaming about how unfair and unconstitutional the PPACA is, just got O'Keefe Slapped.
"This ruling marks the first time a court has considered the merits of any challenge to this law and we welcome the court's decision upholding the health care reform statute as constitutional," says DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler. "The court found that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable means for Congress to take in reforming our health care system. The department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation."
In denying this element of the lawsuit the judge said that the requirement was intended to help lower the overall cost of health care, and was clearly within the powers of congress.
This decisions doesn't directly affect the cases from 20 various states - including the one by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's general counsel bypassing her own State AG when he refused to be involved - who have all filed suit against implementation of this law arguing that the Interstate Commerce Clause does not allow the Congress to create a law impacting consumers of a resource that is clearly provided across multiple states.
Congress has done similar measures in the past, because essentially the "fine" is really a "tax" which is handled and assessed by the IRS. If you buy health insurance, you are exempt from this tax in the same way that first time home buyers are afforded a tax credit, which lowers the amount they send to the IRS. This personal responsibility mandate really isn't any different from that, and even if one of these suites does manage to reach a sympathetic judge it wouldn't cancel the implementation of the Health Care Law, what it might do is for the first time allow a Federal Court to Repeal a Federal Tax which was duly passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.
Would you then see a stampede of other States rushing to block and repeal the end of the Bush Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires arguing that returning to the rates from the 1990's is "Unconstitutional"? That may seem farfetced but many of them are currently arguing that the Minimum Wage is Unconstitutional even though it easily survived challenge before the Supreme Court almost 60 years ago, but then they do keep saying the want to take the "County Back". Apparently back to the 19th Century and Charles Dickens.
As Senate Candidate and Former Federal Magistrate Joe Miller Said.
"What I'd recommend that you do is go to the Constitution and look at the enumerated powers because what we have is something that we call the 10th amendment that says, look if it's not there if it's not enumerated, then it's delegated to the states," Miller said. "Everything that's not there is reserved to the states and the people."
Interesting that Joe Miller's read the 10th Amendment, but he hasn't read the 9th Amendment because it makes the opposite argument on the limits of "enumeration".
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
So even though a specific right isn't enumerated, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist and isn't retained by people. That would include clearly implied rights such as the right to privacy which is only generally prescribed by the 4th and 5th Amendments, and the rights to Life, which requires the ability to Live via access to Health Care which is clearly one of the "Blessings of Liberty" outlined in the preamble, the protection of both is indeed part of the Congressional Powers as it is charged with "providing for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" under Article 1, Section 8.
Not that this ever seems to deter most of these so-called uber-Constitutionists who constantly argue that there is an absolute right to life (which isn't specifically enumerated in Constitution, it's only mentioned in the "Declaration of Independence"), but no right to privacy (which is *almost* enumerated) from either sides of their mouths.
Considering all the unrestrained nutball crazy we've seen coming from the Right-Wing over the past two years, I wouldn't put anything past them or beneath them.