(CN) – A Mississippi federal judge shot down the latest challenge to constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.
Citing the precedent of its sister courts in Florida and the 5th Circuit, U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett noted that cases that raise constitutional questions do not present judges with legislative carte blanche.
Starrett, who was nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2004, found that the plaintiffs, including Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, had failed to prove standing.
The plaintiffs had argued that a provision of the law that requires most Americans to buy health insurance violated the Commerce Clause as well as the Fifth, 10th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Since that provision of the health care act is not scheduled to take effect until 2014, however, Starrett agreed with the Obama administration that the plaintiffs have not suffered any injury and cannot prove that such injury is imminent.
The 23-page ruling, published Feb. 3, catalogs the differing decisions on the challenges to the health care law. Two Virginia federal judges found that commonwealth had standing to sue, and judges in Michigan and Florida ruled the same way about plaintiffs in their states. But a California federal judge and a New Jersey federal judge dismissed challenges to the law in their states over inadequate standing.
In the courts where standing was established, the judges ruled in half of the cases – Florida and one Virginia case – that the individual mandate provision was unconstitutional.
Starrett found that the 10 plaintiffs who are private individuals without insurance lack standing because they failed to prove “certainly impending injury.”
The state provides Lt. Gov. Bryant with insurance, and he failed to prove that the new health care laws would limit his future options or force him to pay a tax penalty.