Halfway through her 2 p.m. "NewsNation" program today, MSNBC's Tamron Hall interviewed liberal ObamaCare supporter Ron Pollack about yesterday's court ruling in State of Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, that struck down the 2010 health care overhaul to be unconstitutional in its entirety.
Hall failed to bring on a representative from the other side of the dispute, even though there are 26 state attorneys general to choose from for that purpose, not to mention any number of conservative legal scholars who could defend the conservative position on the matter.
What's more, Hall failed to challenge any of the complaints Pollack raised, such as his lament that although Judge Roger Vinson dwelt mostly on the "individual mandate" provision that forces Americans to buy health insurance under penalty of law, he ruled the entirety of the 906-page "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" unconstitutional.
On page 76 of his ruling, Vinson noted that "[b]ecause the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void." Simply put, if Congress wanted to prevent ObamaCare being scuttled due to one provision's unconstitutionality, it had every opportunity prior to passage to insert such a clause into the text of the legislation.
As to Pollack's charge of "judicial activism" and fears that invalidating ObamaCare would require "overturn[ing] decades of precedent," Vinson wrote that his ruling is based on "an application of the Commerce Clause law as it exists pursuant to the Supreme Court's current interpretation and definition."
"It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause," the judge noted.
This conclusion came after Vinson detailed the history of case law surrounding the commerce clause and noted that no party in any of the ObamaCare lawsuits nor any of the judges who ruled on those cases have disputed the notion that the Constitution has never been cited to justify forcing anyone to engage in an act of commerce.
As Vinson noted in his opinion, the individual mandate in ObamaCare is "novel" and "unprecedented," as no less than the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office have separately concluded.
"Only the Supreme Court (or a Constitutional amendment) can expand [the outer limits of commerce clause case law]," Vinson argued in the conclusion of his declaration of summary judgment in which he held that he "must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate."
Indeed, the Supreme Court is probably where ObamaCare's constitutionality will be definitively adjudicated. But in the meantime, expect more liberal pundits crying against judicial overreach when conservative judges have the nerve to insist that Constitution should be in practice what it is in theory and by design: a grant of enumerated powers and those alone to the federal government, not an infinitely malleable instrument to justify big government.