Despite the drama coming out of Washington, President Trump has been unwavering in his fulfillment of one major campaign promise to his voters: undoing everything former President Obama achieved during his time in office.
The Daily Caller reports Obama’s healthcare hallmark, Obamacare, was declared unconstitutional on Monday by Trump’s Justice Department.
The department reportedly announced their decision echoing a U.S. federal court district judge who ruled the healthcare law unconstitutional in December of last year.
“U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor issued the ruling in December 2018, finding that the Obamacare individual mandate had been rendered unconstitutional due to the partial repeal Republicans passed in 2017. The ruling has been appealed to higher courts, but the DOJ endorsement could cause the ACA to be treated as unconstitutional while the case moves through the federal appeals process,” the Daily Caller reports.
In a letter written to Lyle Cayce, a clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Justice Department wrote: “The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed.”
The letter was signed by Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Shumate, and Appellate Staff Attorney Martin Totaro.
Here’s more from the Daily Caller:
“Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause — meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional,” wrote Judge O’Connor in his opinion.
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CNN reported at the time:
The case against the ACA, also known as Obamacare, was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as two individuals. It revolves around Congress effectively eliminating the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to $0 as part of the 2017 tax cut bill.
The Republican coalition is arguing that the change rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional. They say that the voiding of the penalty, which takes effect next year, removes the legal underpinning the Supreme Court relied upon when it upheld the law in 2012 under Congress’ tax power. The mandate requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty.
And, via the Daily Wire:
O’Connor’s decision came in the case Texas v. Azar, in which the constitutionality of the individual mandate was challenged. O’Connor stated that because Congress terminated the fines placed upon people if they did not obey the individual mandate, the reasoning that Justice John Roberts used in supporting Obamacare by calling it a tax was no longer applicable. Thus the invalidity of the individual mandate, which was an essential part of Obama care, invalidated the entire package.
O’Connor wrote in his decision, “Here, the Plaintiffs allege that, following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), the Individual Mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. They say it is no longer fairly readable as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and continues to be unsustainable under the Interstate Commerce Clause. They further urge that, if they are correct, the balance of the ACA is untenable as inseverable from the Invalid Mandate.”
Resolution of these claims rests at the intersection of the ACA, the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius), and the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017). In NFIB, the Supreme Court held the Individual Mandate was unconstitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause but could fairly be read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power because it triggered a tax. The TCJA eliminated that tax. The Supreme Court’s reasoning in NFIB—buttressed by other binding precedent and plain text—thus compels the conclusion that the Individual Mandate may no longer be upheld under the Tax Power. And because the Individual Mandate continues to mandate the purchase of health insurance, it remains unsustainable under the Interstate Commerce Clause—as the Supreme Court already held.