The Corner

Obamacare Challenge Wins Round One (of ∞)

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that a constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — can move forward, refusing to motion to dismiss filed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

From Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog:

The ruling represents a setback that will force the Obama administration to mount a lengthy legal defense of the law. The suit, filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (pictured), alleges that the law’s requirement that its residents have health insurance violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

Virginia’s lawsuit is one of several trying to undo the health-care law. Another large one was filed in a Florida federal court by a handful of state attorneys general.

In his opinion, Judge Hudson ruled:

The guiding precedent [on the Commerce Clause] is informative but inconclusive. Never before has the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause been extended this far. At this juncture, the court is not persuaded that the Secretary has demonstrated a failure to state a cause of action with respect to the Commerce Clause element.

In other words, off to discovery we head.

Emphasis mine. This bit confirms what we already know — that Obamacare, and especially the individual mandate, have expanded the reach of federal authority to new and unprecedented heights. But as Jones makes clear, this win, while crucial, is just the first of many that will be required to overturn the mandate, and Obamacare.

More here.

UPDATE White House health care spokesman Stephanie Cutter responds to the Virginia ruling, eliding the issue of whether Obamacare is actually constitutional:

“Having failed in the legislative arena, opponents of reform are now turning to the courts in an attempt to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government,” Cutter said. “This is nothing new. We saw this with the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act — constitutional challenges were brought to all three of these monumental pieces of legislation, and all of those challenges failed. So too will the challenge to health reform.”

Cutter stressed that the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the health-care law. “Today’s decision merely said that the Virginia Attorney General has standing to challenge the lawsuit — which means that the court has jurisdiction to hear further arguments. The federal government believes this procedural ruling is in error and conflicts with long-standing and well-established legal precedents — the types of precedents that, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, are designed to preserve the “judiciary’s proper role in our system of government” and to ensure that our courts do not become forums for political debates.”

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster has been news editor of National Review Online since 2009, and was a web site editor until 2012. His work has appeared in The American Spectator, The American ...

Most Popular

Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More
World

Save the Eighth

There are many things to admire in Ireland’s written constitution. Most especially, the text includes, since a popular referendum in 1983, the Eighth Amendment: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to ... Read More
White House

The Comey & Mueller Show

It has been a good week for President Trump. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz provided indisputable evidence that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lied at least four key times and was fired by the attorney general for cause -- and that Mr. Trump had nothing to do with it. McCabe and ... Read More