Once again, a federal judge has ruled that the Health Care Reform law is unconstitutional. But this time the judge has struck down the whole bill. From conservative attorney Ken Klukowski:
The federal court in the massive 26-state challenge to ObamaCare on Monday held that the health care law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. And, even more importantly, the judge accepted the argument in my court brief that the mandate cannot be separated from the rest of this 2,700-page legislative monstrosity, and struck down the entire law.
Roger Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, the judge presiding over this case, did so because of a single word: Severability.
A single law usually contains many different provisions. Lawmakers know that if someone challenges the constitutionality of a statute, they often challenge only one or two provisions of it. So lawmakers usually try to make sure at least part of their law will survive.
The process of striking down only part of a law is called “severability.” Therefore Congress almost always inserts a severability clause, saying that if part of the law is struck down, the remaining provisions continue in full force and effect.
Congress did not insert a severability clause in ObamaCare. So even though only a couple provisions of the health care law are being challenged in the Florida case—those two provisions being the individual mandate aka the requirement that every American has to buy insurance and also the sweeping expansion of Medicaid—the issue arises that if a court strikes down either of those provisions, it might strike down the entire statute.
It will take the Supreme Court to end the litigation and make a definitive ruling. But isn’t this an example of the carelessness with which this law was written, leaving out a severability clause?.