Rutledge Applauds Ruling That Obamacare is Unconstitutional
Says, ‘without the individual mandate in place, Obamacare cannot be upheld and is unconstitutional’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauded U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas for agreeing with Arkansas, as part of a 20-state coalition, that the Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate are unconstitutional.
“The ruling is a big win for Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Without the individual mandate in place, Obamacare cannot be upheld and is unconstitutional. Now, it is time for Congress to increase options, lower costs and protect those with pre-existing conditions."
In February, the 20-state coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, explaining that Congress rendered all of Obamacare unconstitutional by doing away with the tax penalty in Obamacare’s individual mandate when it enacted President Donald J. Trump’s tax overhaul.
In 2012, a majority of the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare against a constitutional challenge and held that the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress’s Tax Power under Article I, § 8 of the U.S. Constitution. But a different majority also held that Congress did not have the power to create the Individual Mandate under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, also in Article I, § 8. As Chief Justice Roberts explained, and the four-justice dissent agreed, the Commerce Clause gives Congress to regulate commerce – but not to compel it, which is what the individual mandate does.
In 2017, Congress eliminated the tax portion of the Individual Mandate. Because of this, Judge O’Connor ruled that it was no longer valid under Congress’s Tax Power. Applying the Supreme Court’s 2012 holding that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause, Judge O’Connor struck it down as unconstitutional. He then ruled that Congress would not have passed Obamacare without the individual mandate because it was an essential part of the law. So he also invalidated the entire law.
In its current unlawful form, Obamacare imposes and transfers rising costs on Arkansans and transferred an enormous amount of regulatory power to the federal government. Around 70 percent of U.S. counties present citizens with a noncompetitive situation, having only one or two health insurers.
In addition to Arkansas, the coalition – led by Texas and Wisconsin – includes the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia, along with the governors of Maine and Mississippi.