The Supreme Court stands a good chance of ruling on the constitutionality of all or part of ObamaCare in 2012, as The New American reported September 29. Should the court strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, the implications are obvious: Everything that has been implemented under the law thus far would have to be scuttled. But what happens if the court strikes down only the individual mandate? Would it then be compelled to invalidate other, related portions of the law?
The lawsuit being appealed to the Supreme Court was brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business. The first judge to rule on the case, U.S. District Judge Roger K. Vinson, began by finding the individual mandate unconstitutional. Then, noting that Congress had not included a severability clause in the law, Vinson declared the whole act invalid. (A severability clause, which states that if one provision of a law is found unconstitutional, the rest still stands, was included in the House of Representatives’ version of the legislation but left out of the Senate’s version — and, as a result, from the final bill — as a political gambit by Democrats, according to Politico.) The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld only Vinson’s finding with regard to the individual mandate. It reversed his decision with regard to severability, arguing that most of the law is not connected to the mandate and that the court could not determine whether Congress would have enacted the law in the absence of the mandate.
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