A breath of fresh air came blasting out of a Virginia Federal Court this past Monday. In his ruling Judge Henry Hudson (pictured in thumbnail) concludes that the requirement for citizens to buy insurance (the "individual mandate" or "Minimum Essential Coverage Provision" portions of Obamacare) is unconstitutional. In his judicial review he states that the individual mandate cannot be justified under the Commerce Clause, or the Necessary and Proper Clause, or the General Welfare Clause. An excellent summary of the case can be found on The Wall Street Journal's law blog.
Judge Hudson explains that:
"A thorough survey of pertinent constitutional case law has yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme. The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers."
In other words: Neither the government nor Congress nor any other entity can require an individual to buy a product. Period. It doesn't matter if that product is health insurance, electric cars, laundry detergent, scotch tape or broccoli. To give this kind of power away is unwise and imprudent. It would most certainly expand the realm of issues the government would seek to gain ultimate control over. At the end of the day, who should have the final say over what you do or what you buy (so long as it is legal and presents no undue harm to others): Yourself, who clearly knows how to best judge your own situation, or the government, who does nothing efficiently except writing parking tickets?
Thank you, Judge Hudson. You just made my week.
The Obama administration has already started filing appeals to this ruling, still believing that the mandate will be upheld in higher courts. Be looking for a massive Supreme Court case on this issue in the near future. But for now, I will take the small victory.