A Florida judge ruled on Monday that President Obama's health care reform law was unconstitutional. Though Judge Roger Vinson is not the first federal judge to rule against parts of the Affordable Care Act, he's the first to conclude that the entire law ought to be struck down. The Supreme Court will eventually decide the legislation's actual fate, but some say this "extreme and sweeping" ruling dealt a damaging blow to the law's legitimacy. Meanwhile, the White House has called Vinson's decision a "plain case of judicial overreaching," and liberal critics have branded him a "Tea Party judge." Are such charges justified? (Watch an AP report about the decision)
Of course this was political. Just read the ruling: Is Vinson's decision politically motivated? asks Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic. "His ruling certainly suggests as much." Not only does it contain a "shout-out to the Tea Party" in the form of a reference to the 1773 Tea Act, there's a "gratuitous reference" to General Motors as "partially government-owned." Vinson also quotes Obama's campaign rhetoric as an argument against him. I fear he "may have tipped his political hand."
"Shocker: A court decision tinged with politics"
No, it's a Constitutional decision: Vinson's "exhaustive and erudite" ruling was nothing to do with conservative politics, says The Wall Street Journal. Nor was it "really about health care at all." His decision was about limiting and enumerating the powers of Congress, as set down by our Founders. In our opinion, it's the "best legal vindication to date of Constitutional principles that form the outer boundaries of federal power."
"The Constitutional moment"
Liberals are just scared: To critics, Vinson "bears the ultimate mark of Cain," says David Catron at the American Spectator, in that "he was appointed by Ronald Reagan." Already, the "usual suspects" have predictably called him a "Tea Party judge." The "shrillness" of these catcalls just shows "they are worried." And so they should be. The health care bill is "probably a goner."
"Obamacare unconstitutional? Roger that!"
Ruling from the bench is endemic — on both sides: "Let's not kid ourselves here," says Michael Tomasky at The Guardian. The "principle of law" has nothing to do with any of the rulings for or against the Affordable Care Act. Liberal judges will continue to find nothing constitutionally wrong with it, while "conservative judges will strike it down for the opposite reasons." The courts are ruled by "ideology and politics. Pretending otherwise is delusional."
"Judge Vinson and the healthcare ruling"