A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is based in New Orleans, ruled on Wednesday that Obamacare’s individual mandate, which required everyone to have health insurance, was unconstitutional in its present form.
“However, the appeals court ruling largely ducked the central question of whether the Affordable Care Act remained valid after Congress removed the penalty for not having health insurance and it sent the case back to a Texas federal judge who previously ruled the entire law was unconstitutional to reconsider how much of it could survive,” Politico reported. “The high-stakes ruling keeps the legal threat to Obamacare alive while reducing the likelihood the Supreme Court could render a final verdict on the law before the 2020 elections.”
The 5th panel wrote, “The individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power. On the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist.”
“Having concluded that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, we must next determine whether, or how much of, the rest of the ACA is severable from that constitutional defect,” the ruling said.
“It may still be that none of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate, even after this inquiry is concluded,” the panel added. “It may be that all of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate. It may also be that some of the ACA is severable from the individual mandate, and some is not.”
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor had ruled last December that the entire Obamacare law, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was unconstitutional.
“The Fifth Circuit’s extensive and correct analysis of the constitutional question ought to humble those who were so quick to smear Judge O’Connor, a good man, as a partisan hack when he ruled as he did one year ago,” said Daily Wire Editor-at-Large Josh Hammer, a constitutional attorney by training and a former Fifth Circuit law clerk. “Those hysterical legal commentators and ‘scholars’ ought to now apologize to Judge O’Connor.”
Following O’Connor’s ruling, Trump tweeted: “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!”
As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2018
Far-left California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded to the news by writing on Twitter: “The President just got the gift he wanted — uncertainty in the healthcare system and a pathway to repeal — so that healthcare for seniors, workers, and families secured under the #ACA can be yanked away. … California will move swiftly to challenge this decision, because this could mean the difference between life and death for so many Americans and their families.”
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy (CT), responded by writing, “The 5th Circuit Court just ruled against the Affordable Care Act – dragging out a Republican lawsuit that jeopardizes health care protections for millions of Americans. Republicans own this. They owe Americans an explanation. It’s time for the Supreme Court to act.”
Democrat Senator Bob Casey (PA) tweeted: “The 5th Circuit Court’s “decision” could still lead to millions of Americans losing their health care. This uncertainty is only possible because the Trump Admin and Republican members of Congress aided and abetted this obscene lawsuit. This is health care sabotage at its finest.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.