Thursday, October 14, 2010

Judge lets states' healthcare suit go forward

The statement the judge made regarding the individual mandate, that it was without precedent, was encouraging. However, the courts have become more and more centrist in their thinking and it cannot be assumed that a strict interpretation of the Constitution will prevail.

The ruling allowing the case to proceed was a setback for Obama, who has made healthcare reform a cornerstone of his agenda and who is struggling to fight off a strong Republican challenge in November 2 mid-term Congressional elections.

Vinson dismissed four of six claims the states brought against the healthcare law but said he saw grounds to proceed on two counts, including one relating to the way critics say it would force huge new spending by state governments.

On the issue of the so-called "individual mandate," the law's provision that all Americans obtain healthcare insurance, Vinson said the plaintiffs had "most definitely stated a plausible claim" for their objections.

"The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent," he said.

The White House said the government expects to prevail.

"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," presidential adviser Stephanie Cutter wrote in a blog post.

Read the Reuters report here.

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