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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Federal Judge Democrats Uphold Health-Care Law, Republican Judge's Do Not

Federal Judge Democrats Uphold Health-Care Law & Republican Judges Do Not. Score 3-2

Anybody else out there ready for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the health-care debate once and for all?
We clearly understand that the federal courts work in a time-tested and methodical way. Lower-court rulings beget appeals, which beget requests for rehearings, which beget Supreme Court appeals.
All this takes time. Yeah, yeah, yeah; we get it, we get it.
Still, we’ve now had five (five!) lower-court rulings on the constitutionality of the health-care law, and it’s become abundantly clear that no sort of consensus is going to emerge down below. After a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night upheld the law as constitutional, the tally now stands 3-2 in favor of its constitutionality.
Click here for the WSJ story on Tuesday’s ruling; here for the BLT Blog piece; here for the WaPo story; here for the 64-page ruling, made by U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler (pictured).
The three judges who’ve upheld the law were all appointed by Democratic presidents; the two who shot it down were appointed by Republicans. Coincidence?
In any event, in her ruling, Kessler said Congress was within its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce when it chose to penalize people who forgo health insurance.
“Congress had a rational basis for its conclusion that the aggregate of individual decisions not to purchase health insurance substantially affects the national health insurance market. . . . Consequently, Congress was acting within the bounds of its Commerce Clause power.”
Judge Kessler said those who don’t purchase insurance “will ultimately get a ‘free ride’ on the backs of those Americans who have made responsible choices to provide for the illness we all must face at some point in our lives.”
The individual-insurance requirement is set to go into effect in 2014.
Judge Kessler, a Clinton appointee, also rejected to the plaintiffs’ challenge to the law on religious grounds, saying the health-care overhaul wasn’t a substantial burden on their Christian faith.
She granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case.

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