Florida Case Holds Hearing


By Hadley Heath

This morning in Pensacola, FL, Plaintiffs and Defendants in Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services will give oral arguments before Judge Roger Vinson in a hearing for Summary Judgment.

This hearing comes just days after a ruling from Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia v. Sebelius in favor of the plaintiff state of Virginia. 

The cases in Virginia and Florida both focus on the individual mandate to some extent, but they differ in that Virginia's case brings into consideration a VA state statute that forbids any mandate to purchase insurance, and the Florida case has a second claim regarding the Medicaid expansion.

The Summary Judgment hearing in Florida started at 9 am this morning.  Judge Vinson will rule in this case in the coming months.

Here are some comments from Randy Barnett, professor of legal theory, Georgetown Law:

In today's hearing, Judge Roger Vinson will consider a bedrock principle of our Constitution:  Do the enumerated powers of Congress have any judicially-enforceable limit?  After two federal judges declined to identify any limits, on Monday Judge Henry Hudson ruled that Congress may not use its power over interstate commerce to mandate that all Americans enter into contracts with private insurance companies.  Like Judge Hudson, Judge Vinson has already dismissed the government's novel tax power theory.  Now he must decide whether the Americans are truly "citizens" under the Constitution, or whether the Commerce Clause renders them mere "subjects" of Congressional will --- as Americans once were subjects of the King of England.  Constitutional questions don't get much bigger than this.





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