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Florida Ruling on ObamaCare Boosts Arguments against Louisiana Implementation

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Scholars claim Judge Vinson’s ruling can apply nationwide

After the recent Florida court ruling, Two Republican governors – Alaska’s Sean Parnell and Florida’s Rick Scott – have said they will not implement ObamaCare.

In his decision, Judge Roger Vinson concluded that ObamaCare’s  individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Cato Institute scholars contend that the ruling applies nationwide, that both state and federal officials should cease imposing it.

Michael Cannon, Cato’s director of health-policy studies, and Illya Shapiro, Cato’s editor of Supreme Court Review, say that at minimum, “the government lacks authority to implement ObamaCare where the case was decided, in the Northern District of Florida, and the 26 state plaintiffs need take no action to do so.”

“Moreover, it is not unreasonable to argue that Vinson’s ruling applies to the nation as a whole,” the article continues. The decision did not limit itself to the complaints of particular parties and instead attacked the federal health care law root and branch, the Cato scholars explain.

This interpretation of Vinson’s ruling would stop ObamaCare dead in its tracks,” they argue.

But Timothy Jost, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, describes Vinson as a “renegade judge” and expects the ruling to be overturned on appeal. He also described Alaska as an “outlier” among states in an interview with the Associated Press.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a motion asking Judge Vinson to clarify whether his judgment “does not relieve the parties of their rights and obligations under [ObamaCare] while the declaratory judgment is the subject of appellate review.”

Administration officials are ambitious to “further entrench ObamaCare – so it will be harder to dislodge,” Cannon and Shapiro warn in their article. But in terms of legalities, they see no need for further clarification.

In response to an inquiry from The Pelican Institute, Gov. Jindal did not say whether or not he would halt implemetation of ObamaCare as other governors have done. However, he did predict the U.S. Supreme Court would eventually rule the federal legislation unconstitutional.

“I have requested, along with twenty-seven other Governors, an expedited appeal of the Virginia and Florida health care lawsuits to allow each case to reach the United State Supreme Court as soon as possible,” Jindal said in statement.  “We expect this case to eventually be decided in the Supreme Court and for it to ultimately put an end to ObamaCare – the largest unfunded federal mandate in history that would cost our state billions of dollars to implement.”

Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be reached at kmooney@pelicaninstitute.org. Follow him on Twitter.

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