Impeachment Overshadows Obamacare Ruling

Plus: States sue to stop Equal Rights Amendment, French sex workers take prostitution laws to EU court of human rights, and more…

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The individual mandate is invalid, says court. While the chattering class was focused mostly on the pageantry in Washington yesterday, some more momentous news (in terms of practical impact) may have been happening further south. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in New Orleans held that the controversial part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

A signature part of Obamacare, the individual mandate requires every American to have health insurance or pay a fine. In a 2–1 ruling issued yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that this requirement is not a “constitutional exercise of congressional power.”

“If Congress can compel the purchase of health insurance today, it can, for example, micromanage Americans’ day-to-day nutrition choices tomorrow,” the judges wrote.

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