We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The twenty states and the National Federation of Independent Business reply to the Obama administration's brief to the US District Court in Florida. The Obama administration argues that the suit should be dismissed as the individual mandate is within the federal government's power. The plaintiff states and NFIB disagree.
Below, the plaintiffs' intoduction summary pretty well sums it up (footnotes omitted). There's 81 pages in the pdf at the link above.
This case is about power, accountability, and the continuing vitality of our federalist system. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act1 (“ACA” or “the Act”) represents an unprecedented intrusion on the sovereignty of the States and the freedom of their citizens. As such, it threatens to obliterate our system of dual sovereignty, under which the federal government is to exercise only those limited powers conferred upon it by the Constitution, with all other powers reserved to the States or the people. See New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 155-56 (1992). This system, as Justice Kennedy explained in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 575 (1995) (concurring), “was the unique contribution of the Framers to political science and political theory.” It was designed to achieve a “healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government [to] reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front[,]” by empowering both governments so that each “will control [the] other….” Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 921-22 (1997). In enacting the ACA, Congress upends that balance, usurping powers denied it and thereby inflicting the very harm warned of in Printz.
Plaintiff States, Individual Plaintiffs, and the National Federation of Independent Business (“NFIB”) are profoundly affected by the so-called “Individual Mandate,” a requirement that virtually all Americans obtain and maintain a congressionally-approved level of healthcare insurance coverage for themselves and their families. In addition to dictating that Individual Plaintiffs, NFIB members, and Plaintiff States? citizens must buy unwanted insurance, the mandate imposes significant costs on Plaintiff States by driving millions of individuals into greatly-expanded Medicaid programs, newly-created State insurance exchanges, and federally-enlarged insurance programs offered by States as employers. Furthermore, the mandate is not severable from other Medicaid and insurance reforms in the ACA that require Plaintiff States to incur costs immediately. Plaintiffs? injuries are clear, are not contingent on any future event, and are legally redressable now, even though the mandate will not take effect until 2014. Thus, Plaintiffs have standing to challenge the mandate, and their claims are ripe.
The Individual Mandate is manifestly unconstitutional. No enumerated power of Congress permits this assertion of top-down centralized economic power; nor can the Necessary and Proper Clause expand congressional power to support the mandate. Congress?s commerce power extends to regulation of activities having a substantial relation to interstate commerce, but does not allow it to compel inactive individuals to enter a marketplace against their will. Likewise, Congress?s power to tax does not authorize it to compel persons to buy specific insurance products. By exerting such sweeping authority over Americans? individual decisions, Congress has seized powers denied it under the Tenth Amendment, in violation of the Constitution?s federalist structure and individual rights under the Fifth and Ninth Amendments. Moreover, the Act imposes staggering new costs and obligations on Plaintiff States, in violation of the Tenth Amendment and core principles of federalism. The Act transforms Medicaid from a federal-State partnership to reimburse needy persons? medical costs into a vast federally-mandated program to benefit millions of persons with incomes above the poverty line. It also compels the States to assume responsibility not only for cost reimbursement but for the provision of healthcare services themselves.
Plaintiff States cannot abandon Medicaid and leave millions of needy residents without coverage. Yet, to accept the Act?s requirements would devastate Plaintiff States? already-strained budgets, forcing them to surrender sovereign power to set their legislative agendas and determine their own priorities for meeting their citizens? needs. The Act worsens these effects by unconstitutionally requiring Plaintiff States to administer federal insurance-related programs, by commandeering State resources, and by interfering with States? sovereignty in their employment relations. The ACA thus “pass[es] the point at which „pressure turns into compulsion[,]?” South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203, 211 (1987) (citation omitted), and must be declared invalid.
If/when this reaches the Supremes, which Pres. Malignant Noisome Pestilence is currently assaulting, and, as is to be expected, the ruling goes against the states, that is, against Federalism, it seems to me this would be as devastating as the repeal of the Missouri compromise. Excepting in this case, the Feds are making war on the states. Dangerous times indeed.