January 31, 2011 3:15PM

ObamaCare Goes Down

POLITICO Arena asks a second question today:

How badly does today’s ruling hurt the Obama administration’s health reform efforts?

My response:

In finding Obamacare unconstitutional, Judge Roger Vinson hit a home run today for the Constitution. From the start, he made it clear that this case, brought by 26 states, two private citizens, and the National Federation of Independent Business, “is not really about our health care system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of the federal government.”

The core of the opinion, as many of us have long argued, is whether Congress, under its power to regulate interstate commerce, can regulate “inactivity” by requiring individuals to buy health insurance or be fined. It cannot, Vinson ruled, citing a long line of opinions, legal and political, starting with James Madison, the principal author of the Constitution.

Moreover, because Obamacare contains no severability clause, the entire act must fall. Finally, because this is a declaratory judgment, further implementation of the act is enjoined, so a separate injunction is not needed. It’s a new day.

Update: Although there are reports that Judge Vinson has stayed the effect of his decision, which would mean that the administration could continue implementing ObamaCare, the court’s docket, which is now closed for the day, shows no such stay.