Big question is whether judge rules that entire law can be thrown out
|Federal Judge Roger Vinson is expected to rule on the multi-state lawsuit against ObamaCare on Monday, Jan. 31 in Florida. Many observers believe that Judge Vinson, a senior judge appointed President Ronald Reagan, is likely to rule against the individual mandate requirement in the law.
Last December, Vinson said that it would be “a giant leap” for the Supreme Court to accept the Obama Administration’s defense of this central provision.
As to the plaintiffs’ secondary issue, whether the law violates state sovereignty by imposing a huge expansion of Medicaid, the outcome is less certain. Vinson has noted in past hearings that states can opt out of Medicaid, as cash-strapped states like Texas have considered, but plaintiff attorneys for the states argue that is impossible for most.
The biggest question is the issue of severability: Will Vinson be receptive to the argument that the entire health care law should be thrown out should the individual mandate be ruled unconstitutional? If so, his decision would differ from the federal judge in Richmond, Va., who found the mandate unconstitutional but did not rule on the issue of severability.
Something of a clue: In the past, Vinson has said the act was analogous to “a watch with interlocking and interdependent wheels.”
Ever since the November elections, the number of plaintiffs in the lawsuit has swollen to represent over half the states in the country, with 26 state attorneys general involved. Whatever Judge Vinson’s ruling, most everyone agrees that the case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, where it could become a landmark Constitutional case.
For those interested in following breaking news on the case: The web’s most updated sites regarding all news matters relating to the Affordable Care Act can be found at ObamaCare411 and 21statelawsuit, which will be covering the latest legal announcements with up-to-the-hour postings and commentary.
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