Ok kids, here is Judge Vinson's 78 page order finding that whole Obamacare thing a bad nightmare, much like the last season of Dallas:
It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting --- as was done in the Act --- that compelling the actual transaction is itself “commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce” [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.Ok, I'm really digging the explicit Tea Party reference.
I stopped caring about the Commerce Clause when I left law school, so I won't pretend to be a sudden expert on it now.
And I'm still analyzing the opinion.
However, on first blush, I think the Judge has written a thoughtful, comprehensive order, one that draws deeply on history and context and which attempts in good faith to tackle the parties' arguments head-on.
This is exactly what a district judge should do, regardless of how one may feel about the outcome.
Say what you want about Judge Vinson, but this comports with my personal experience with him. He is straightforward and intelligent, tells you exactly what he thinks and where he is coming from, and tries to engage you on the merits without excessive rancor or inflated "judge-itis."