Will the Supreme Court decide the 2012 presidential election?

How it rules on health-care reform will have an enormous impact — for both sides

Edward Morrissey

A second court has ruled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), better known as Obamacare, violates the Constitution and its limits on congressional power. Yesterday, federal Judge Roger Vinson in Florida joined federal Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia in ruling that the bill’s mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance went beyond the Commerce Clause and constituted unprecedented power over individuals predicated on nothing more than being alive. Judge Vinson went even further than Judge Hudson, finding that the entire bill violated the Constitution, and he invalidated it entirely.

While these two rulings have cheered opponents of the bill, the issue is far from decided. Two earlier rulings by judges upheld the constitutionality of PPACA. Both involved private-sector plaintiffs rather than states, but standing wasn't an issue in either case; both federal judges ruled on the merits of the complaints and found that Congress acted within its authority under the Commerce Clause. No appellate court has adjudicated an Obamacare lawsuit, which means that none of these rulings have the force of precedent.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.