Supporters of the administration’s health care reform took heart from the decision of Judge Steeh in Michigan. As I see it, and crudely stated, the judge basically said that the government can force you to buy health insurance. (You can find a highly readable explanation of the Michigan lawsuit at IWF’s fab new Health Care Lawsuits website.) But don’t fret.
There are some good things about Steeh’s decision. For one thing, he didn’t deny that the Thomas More Law Center has the right to sue (“standing”). This is key because the administration had hoped to delay the suit or suits as long as possible, holding to the possibility that the composition of the Supreme Court could be different when health care arrives in the court’s “in” box. But Steeh allowed that the plaintiffs have standing to sue.
In the opinion of the Daily Caller’s David Kopel, a law professor, the hurdle will be high in the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court might choose to invent an “economic decisions” doctrine, and thereby stretch the Constitution beyond its breaking point. Or the Court might decide to keep the Constitution as it exists, with congressional powers over interstate commerce that are very broad, but not unlimited. The Thomas More case makes it clear that the Obamacare mandate to buy something you don’t want is constitutional only if the Supreme Court chooses to change the Constitution.
Quoting Stephen B. Presser, Professor of Law, Northwestern University, IWF’s Hadley Heath argues that giving Congress the power to regulate all economic activity and inactivity (i.e., the inactivity of not buying the mandated health insurance) would “make a mockery of the 10th Amendment.”