A year ago almost to the day, we reported that a Texas federal judge (1) held that the Obamacare individual mandate was unconstitutional after Congress repealed the mandate tax (which was the justification for the Supreme Court upholding the mandate in 2012), and (2) the mandate was not severable from the rest of the law, so the entire law fell.

It was a full defeat of Obamacare, Federal Judge kills Obamacare:

Reed O’Connor, a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas, just killed Obamacare.

If the ruling holds up on appeal, Obamacare is dead. As a doorknob. Not just the mandate or some other particular provisions.

He killed the WHOLE THING.

The 5th Circuit just (1) upheld the ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional, but (2) remanded to the District Court for further consideration of severability. So perhaps the headline today is not that the 5th Circuit killed Obamacare, but rather, the 5th Circuit cut the legs out from under Obamacare. Whether the entire legless law falls is yet to be determined.

You can read the full 98-page opinion here. Here is a summary section from the Opinion:

First, there is a live case or controversy because the intervenor-defendant states have standing to appeal and, even if they did not, there remains a live case or controversy between the plaintiffs and the federal defendants. Second, the plaintiffs have Article III standing to bring this challenge to the ACA; the individual mandate injures both the individual plaintiffs, by requiring them to buy insurance that they do not want, and the state plaintiffs, by increasing their costs of complying with the reporting requirements that accompany the individual mandate. Third, the individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power. Fourth, on the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist.



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