Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) issued the following statement in reaction to a Florida federal judge ruling that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. In the case brought by 26 states, including the State of Texas, the National Federation of Independent Business, and two individuals, Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the individual mandate is not a constitutional exercise of Congress Commerce Clause power.In addition, Judge Vinson struck down the entire law citing the lack of a severability clause, meaning that if one part of the law is found to be unconstitutional, the entire law is deemed unconstitutional.
"As I originally stated during the healthcare debate last year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, stated Poe. Today, for the second time, a federal judge has ruled that the bill is not within the constitutional powers of the federal government. In their haste to write this bill in the darkness of night, the authors failed to include a severability clause. As a result of this omission, the judge correctly struck down the law in its entirety.
Like the constitution, Judge Vinson cited words spoken by James Madison they have stood the test of time: 'If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.'
"Today's ruling is further proof that this bill is not in the best interest of the American people and its time we get back to the drawing board."
As a former judge, Congressman Poe has vigorously challenged the federal governments constitutional authority to enforce the individual mandate. In December of 2009, Congressman Poe filedH. Res. 959 expressing the sense that many members of Congress challenge the authority of the federal government to require by law that Americans purchase health insurance, or any goods or services.
Congressman Poe is also the sponsor of H.R. 154, Defund the Individual Mandate Act, to prohibit any federal funding from being appropriated by Congress to fund the individual mandates requiring Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine as defined in the recently passed Senate healthcare bill. The bill currently has 50 cosponsors.
Prior to serving in Congress, Congressman Poe served as a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas, for 30 years and holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center. Congressman Poe serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary.
For more information on Congressman Poe, including numerous statements and speeches on his stance on healthcare reform, please visit our website: http://poe.house.gov.