You’ve seen the headlines: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has upheld a lower-court ruling that Obamacare’s individual mandate — which requires all U.S. residents to purchase health insurance — is unconstitutional. The case in question, Florida v. Health and Human Services, is the most important of all the Obamacare constitutional challenges thus far, because the plaintiffs include the governors and attorneys general from 26 states.
In January, when lower-court judge Roger Vinson overturned the entirety of Obamacare in the same case, I wrote that Vinson’s ruling “could go down as an important landmark in the history of American liberty.” The new ruling is even more significant. The 207-page majority opinion of the Eleventh Circuit, penned by appointees of Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, is the most rigorous and complete repudiation of the mandate ever written. It stands in stark contrast to the blitheness of the 26-page lead opinion from the Sixth Circuit decision in June upholding the mandate. The Eleventh Circuit judges persuasively make the case that “the government’s position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence [means that] Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.”
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