Thursday, February 03, 2011

U.S. Senate Rejects Measure To Repeal Obamacare 51-47; Obama To Appeal Judge Vinson's Decision, May End Up In The Supreme Court

As expected, the U.S. Senate rejected a measure to repeal Obamacare. On February 2nd, 2011, the Senate voted 51-47 along party lines against S.Amdt. 13 to S. 223. The amendment, attached to the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, would have repealed the health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Senator Mark Begich voted No, while Senator Lisa Murkowski voted Yes. The Washington Post has published a detailed story about the vote.

-- Read the full roll call vote HERE.

The Senate vote against repeal means that a Republican repeal bill, which passed the House last month by a 245-189 margin, is now effectively dead in Congress. Both parties are turning their attention to the courts since judges may wield the greatest power to reshape the law. On Monday January 31st, U.S. District (Northern District of Florida) Judge Roger Vinson overturned Obamacare, saying its requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty, known as the "mandate", violates the Constitution. Since Judge Vinson determined that the entirety of Obamacare is so inextricably linked to the individual mandate as to preclude severability, he invalidated the entire law. But Judge Vinson did not issue an injunction halting implementation of Obamacare. The states involved in the suit included Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Virginia and Oklahoma sued separately.

-- Read Judge Vinson's 78-page decision HERE.

Three other courts have weighed in on the law, two of them upholding it. U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit found in the administration’s favor in a lawsuit brought by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center, while U.S. District Judge Norman Moon in Lynchburg, Virginia, issued a similar decision in a case filed by Liberty University. Steeh and Moon were both appointed by Bill Clinton, a Democrat. In the third case, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, VA, voided the mandate while allowing the rest of the law to stand. An appeal of that ruling and of a decision upholding the law are slated to go before a Richmond federal appeals court in May 2011. So now we're tied at 2-2.

The Obama Administration indicated it will not only appeal Judge Vinson's decision, but probably ask the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta to halt the enforcement of Vinson’s decision pending an appeal. While appeals are pending, nothing stops the U.S. from enforcing the health-care legislation outside of those districts where part or all of it has been invalidated. This means that since Judge Vinson's decision includes Alaska, Obamacare cannot be forcibly instituted in Alaska during the interim.

The case is likely to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.


  1. What, then, do they (Humans) want a government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion; not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways; but simply to defend the natural rights of man - to protect person and property - to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak - in a word, to administer justice. This is the natural, the original, office of a government. It was not intended to do less: it ought not to be allowed to do more - (The Man Versus the State)

  2. Among my people are wicked flim-flammers who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of hocus-pocus deceit; they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek. The jew evil deeds have no limit - (Jeremiah 5:26)