Florida Judge Rules Health Care Overhaul Unconstitutional

Judge Roger Vinson, a Republican-appointed Federal judge from the North Florida District, has ruled a portion of the recent Democratic penned health care overhaul unconstitutional. In particular Vinson has ruled that the provision the mandates all Americans be covered by health insurance by 2014 or face paying a fine is against the constitution. The suit was originally filed by former Attorney General Bill McCollum who was joined by 26 other republican state Attorney Generals. 

Though, while Vinson only judged a portion of the law unconstitutional his ruling advises throwing the baby out with the bathwater and doing away with the entire law. 

"It is hereby

DECLARED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that The Patient Protection and Affordable

Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010), as amended by the Health

Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat.

1029 (2010), is unconstitutional," reads Vinson's ruling.

Vinson's ruling is considered uncommon. Usually Judges rule that only the unconstitutional portion must be thrown out, but Vinson wants the entire act off the books (What was that about activist judges?) 
"This conclusion is reached with full appreciation for the "normal rule" that reviewing courts should ordinarily refrain from invalidating more than the unconstitutional part of a statute, but non-severability is required based on the unique facts of this case and the particular aspects of the Act," Vinson admitted in the ruling.

Vinson was quoted during the trial about being worried about the possibility that the law could lead to a provision that the federal government could penalize those who don't broccoli. 

Of course, Vinson's ruling is not the first or final word on the constitutionality of the law. Three previous suits brought on by states have made their ways to the courts. Two courts upheld the law, while another ruled to invalidate the mandate. All are being repealed and its likely the final word will rest with the Supreme court. 

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Kyle Munzenrieder