I adore the media sometimes. Particularly when they overreact. It’s cute. It’s cute because I think it makes them look like an overwrought teenager, excited over something that really has much less significance than it really does. I know they do it for ratings, to sell more papers, attract more readers/viewers/listeners, etc. And this past decision regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from federal Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida fits into that mold very nicely. Vinson invalidated the entire law, arguing that the provision mandating individuals to have insurance makes the entire law unworkable.
In federal court, the law has been upheld twice. On another occasion, a federal judge said that only the individual mandate provision was unconstitutional. But this was the first time that the entire statute was thrown out. For all of the fears that we hear about ‘activist judges’ from conservatives, this is a case of an activist judge coming from the far right. His ruling is an outlier in a field that already has precedent. And it’s sad, really, to see a judge let his personal feelings interfere with his judicial duties. The law is constitutional, and he’s well aware of that. What’s even sadder is that this ruling, ultimately, will not stand. And that will reflect poorly on Judge Vinson, and deservedly so.
I wouldn’t put too much stock in the headlines when you hear about healthcare reform being in jeopardy. It’s sensationalism. The chances that this guy is going to have his ruling upheld in totality are slim to none.