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"Breathtaking in its expansive scope": Individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act rejected again

Mark D. White

The latest blow to the Affordable Care Act came yesterday from a U.S. appeals cout in Atlanta--let me merely repeat what The Wall Street Journal quoted from the opinion today, which makes the case exceptionally well:

[The individual mandate] is "breathtaking in its expansive scope," the court wrote. "The government's position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual's existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life. This theory affords no limiting principles in which to confine Congress's enumerated power."

In other words, if the government can impose this kind of "economic mandate"—if it can force individuals to enter contracts with private companies "from birth to death"—there are no longer limits on what it cannot do. "These types of purchasing decisions are legion," Judges Hall and Dubina write.

"Every day," they continue, "Americans decide what products to buy, where to invest or save, and how to pay for future contingencies such as their retirement, their children's education, and their health care. The government contends that embedded in the Commerce Clause is the power to override these ordinary decisions and redirect those funds to other purposes."

The final sentence--emphasis mine--says it all.

See also Ilya Shapiro's commentary on this latest development here.


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