Conservative Judge Overturns Obamacare

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Sigh. Another conservative judge with a vendetta has declared Obamacare unconstitutional. Here’s the reasoning:

  • The individual mandate is an exercise of Congress’s taxing power (you have to pay a tax unless you have insurance).
  • Last year’s tax bill reduced the tax penalty to zero.
  • Therefore the mandate is no longer an exercise of the taxing power.
  • But the Supreme Court has already ruled that the mandate is not justified by the Interstate Commerce clause.
  • So the mandate has no constitutional backing at all.
  • Therefore the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
  • The mandate is not severable from the rest of Obamacare. If it’s unconstitutional, then all of Obamacare is unconstitutional.

According to this logic, Congress can never enact a tax of zero, even temporarily. It can enact a positive tax. It can enact a negative tax. But not a zero tax. This is going to come as quite a shock to the millions of people who pay a rate of zero on capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes.

Anyway, the judge hasn’t issued an injunction, so Obamacare is still the law of the land. If he does, it will get overturned and eventually sent to the Supreme Court. Again. This is not something to panic about yet.

POSTSCRIPT: In the meantime, Saturday is the last day to enroll in Obamacare in most states. If you or anyone you know is insured under Obamacare, make sure to enroll now.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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