The White House is playing it cool.but no thinking person is buying it.
In the first serious court challenge to the individual mandate portion of ObamaCare (which, let's be honest, is the crux of the entire bill), U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that Congress (and by extension, the President) has gone too far, and have violated the constitutional bounds placed on them.
And the most damaging part of the ruling is that Hudson uses some of ObamaCare's defense to make his case:
In his 42-page opinion released today, Judge Hudson caught those who drafted the law at their own game: He cited earlier versions of the legislation in both the House and the Senate that explicitly referred to the penalty for not complying by the "politically toxic term ?tax'." But they substituted the term "penalty" for the word "tax" in the individual-mandate section of the final law.
"A logical inference can be drawn that the substitution of this critical language was a conscious and deliberate act on the part of Congress," especially since the term "tax" is used in numerous other places in the law regarding taxing medical devices, employer-sponsored health insurance, high-income taxpayers, and indoor tanning services.
This "taxing" issue likely will be key to the Florida court decision that will be argued this Thursday. Twenty states and the National Federation of Independent Business are challenging the individual mandate as well as the government's authority to dictate health-coverage expansions to the states.
Federal Judge Roger Vinson of Florida declared earlier that "Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing, after which the defenders of that legislation take an ?Alice-in-Wonderland' tack and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely, thereby circumventing the safeguard that exists to keep their broad power in check."
The judge held that the bill was unconstitutional for two reasons. One, it exceeded the legitimate constitutional authority to regulate commerce. And two, the administration is defending it using arguments and positions it explicitly denied and rejected during the authorship of the bill.
This is a huge deal. Yes, there have been other court challenges that have been thrown out by other judges. But they were, by and large, rejected on the basis of technicalities and "standing" claims. This is a crucial substantive rejection of ObamaCare on the basis of the Constitution, and it sets the stage for yet another debilitating blow in an upcoming monster challenge out of Florida.
For all the brave faces coming out of the administration right now, this was no glancing blow. This was a big defeat.