Toobin: Fight over health care law will end up at Supreme Court
January 31st, 2011
03:01 PM ET

Toobin: Fight over health care law will end up at Supreme Court

[Updated at 10:28 p.m.] The fight over the health care reform law ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge on Monday will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court, said CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin.

"This Supreme Court is very evenly divided between liberals and conservatives. Anthony Kennedy tends to be the swing vote. I would not be at all surprised that he would be the swing vote in this case as well," Toobin said.

"When you consider that this is the signature achievement of the Obama administration, and that it is hanging by a legal thread right now, it's a cause of great concern to supporters of the law."

Because the Florida judge ruled that the individual mandate, the part of the law that says everyone has to buy health insurance, is unconstitutional, “he says the whole law has to go out the window,” Toobin said.

Toobin said it is important to note that several federal judges have found the law constitutional.

"This is why we have a United States Supreme Court, to settle when judges disagree with each other," Toobin said.

The nine justices "have the last word," Toobin said. "Nobody can tell them what to do or when to do it."

[Updated at 5:37 p.m.] The U.S. Department of Justice says it plans to appeal the ruling of a federal judge in Florida, who earlier today struck down as unconstitutional key parts of the sweeping health care reform bill championed by President Obama.

[Updated at 3:47 p.m.] A federal judge in Florida has ruled unconstitutional the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama, setting up what is likely to be a contentious Supreme Court challenge in coming months over the legislation.

Monday's ruling came in the most closely watched of the two dozen challenges to the law. Florida along with 25 states had filed a lawsuit last spring, seeking to dismiss a law critics had labeled "Obamacare."

Judge Roger Vinson, in a 78-page ruling, dismissed the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - the so-called "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face
stiff penalties.

"I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and
Inequities in our health care system," Vinson wrote.

"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications. At a time
when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled 'The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.' "


Filed under: Health • Health care reform • Politics • Supreme Court
soundoff (1,747 Responses)
  1. SoLou

    Great, now I can cancel my auto insurance my State forces me to carry

    January 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      and thanks to people like you, I need to pay extra for coverage when I'm hit by an uninsured motorist.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cleveland Tom

    OH MY GOD! What happens now without socialized medicine on the horizon? Nothing some on the left lead us to belevie otherwise, we will still continue to have the most advanced and best health care in the world. Reform needs to happen, but not like Obamacare.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    I read a quote on another news site directly from the judges order that said he struck down the entire act.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    The mandate was stupid...but how else to do you prevent uninsured people from driving up medical costs? I guess you could make it possible for ERs to deny people w/o insurance... but then again you'll have people dying on the street in the hospital ERs... probably not morally responsible... but if republicans and conservatives had there way then poor people who get sick should just die...

    January 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |

    what a wonderful news! There is still some hope for this great Country....

    January 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ganzma

    Universal health care is a noble cause whether it saves money or not. This bill was a terrible law. It was passed so the majority party could claim what they thought would be a victory. It is time for both sides to truly huddle and work out a better health care bill and revamp the tax code. I know I am dreaming, but it is just the future of our country at stake.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Kinda hard to work on a healthcare reform bill when GOP didn't want to reform the system in the first place. If they really wanted to, they could have reformed the healthcare system in 2005 or something.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Don

    Just what the wealthiest want to hear; it was the Republican party that first stated everyone should have insurance. I say everyone should have health care coverage in this non perfect world of ours where anything and everthing badcan happen to us.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RG

    This is great. Now we can get the single payer universal insurance instead. Thanks, Republicans!

    January 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sandra

    If people are not required to get health insurance, who ends up paying the bill?

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • OneQuestion

      Good question! My guess is you and me.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    Why can't those dim wits in Washington DC work together for the American people and produce a Health-Care Bill that brings decent affordable health insurance to all citizens who want it, that we can afford..Maybe the American people should take away Congress's FREE Tax payer bought health insurance, pensions and benefits till they do.. Fire the whole lot of them ..

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kevin p

    i hear they are planning a "burn the healthcare reform bill" event at some backwoods little trailer church in FL.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JacklynD

    Your rates go up every year while the insurance companies' profits are grossly huge in the billions upon of billions of dollars. Their profits are derived from gouging you and our businesses and refusing coverage every chance they get. As a business they contribute absolutely nothing to our health care industry except mountains of paperwork, and they do not fund research, build new hospitals, train doctors or nurses. All they do is put themselves between you and your health care providers and vacuum up money. Oh and spend billions convincing people like you that they are a good thing.

    Laugh fool because that is exactly what those of you celebrating are. Think Soylent Green. They'll be offering that to you next.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kids

    Why does every post in this entire damn country sound like 15 year old wrote it.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nicole

    Agree...this coming from the state that can't count ballots. To all the cheerers, as a young professional who is paying taxes, please make sure to have private insurance when you retire. I really don't want to you to be a hypocrite and take Medicare to cover your fast food eating, no exercise couch potato, three packs a day lifestyle. Thanks!

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. joe t.

    The rethugs can ALWAYS find a federal judge to do their bidding...Republican mantra...If you get sick please die quickly

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
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