Writing in the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Dave Kopel argues that the mandated insurance provision of Obamacare is unconstitutional and is not severable from the other provisions which, then ,almost must fail to pass constitutional muster
As the joint complaint of the 13 Attorneys General has argued, Obamacare constitutes an immense assault on federalism. If Obamacare is upheld, the states may be well on the way to becoming like the Roman Senate in 100 A.D.: formerly the an essential component of republican sovereignty, but now a hollowed remnant, possessing the forms of the old republic but really functioning as a mere puppet of the Leviathan.
"[F]ederalism was the unique contribution of the Framers to political science and political theory," wrote Justice Kennedy. United States v. Lopez (1995) (concurring). To declare Obamacare to be unconstitutional, the Court may take into account the importance of preserving the unique contribution of Our Federalism. In doing so, the Court need not overrule a single precedent, nor need the Court cast into doubt any of the creations of the New Deal or the Great Society. Instead, the Court may simply choose not to invent unprecedented extensions of the interstate commerce power and the tax power.
From federal district court to the Supreme Court, the judges and justices who decide to leave constitutional doctrine exactly as it is today will decline to validate the unprecedented exercise of power in Obamacare. The last fourteen years of the Supreme Court determination to defend our precious constitutional system of dual sovereignty gives reason to hope that the courts will apply the existing law rather than make up new law, and that the insurance mandate will be declared unconstitutional.
And then: Over two thousand pages of laws certainly contain items (e.g., restaurant menu labeling, tanning taxes) that theoretically could have been enacted separately from the mandate, and might be considered severable. But the main provision of Obamacare-turning private insurance companies into ultra-regulated public utilities-makes no sense without the individual mandate; it would not have been enacted without the mandate, and it is not severable.