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Interactive Assessment: Judge Vinson’s Affordable Care Act Decision

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Judge Roger Vinson’s decision striking down the Affordable Care Act is wrong on so many counts that it’s hard to begin counting. Nonetheless, we did.

In the accompanying interactive examination of Vinson’s opinion, we show how he effectively writes an entire provision of the Constitution out of the document. How he butchers history, thumbs his nose at binding Supreme Court precedent, and relies on a constitutional theory that George Washington would find shocking. As we explain, even conservative legal scholars have questioned Vinson’s reasoning. And he wholly misunderstands health care and how it works.

We also explain that one section of Vinson’s opinion was lifted from a brief filed by an organization that has been labeled a hate group. And when Vinson somehow concludes that the Boston Tea Party renders the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, we take apart that argument, too.

We have culled through all 78 pages of Vinson’s deeply ideological opinion, highlighted all the errors we can find, and explained why Vinson was mistaken in each case.

Take a deep dive into this interactive graphic. You’ll discover Vinson’s opinion is such an outlier that it will not be taken seriously by higher courts. And if you find any errors that we missed please email us.

(Click on the yellow highlighted text throughout the interactive graphic to bring up an explanation of why Vinson is wrong.)



Neera Tanden is Chief Operating Officer at the Center for American Progress and a health care reform expert. Ian Millhiser is a Policy Analyst and Blogger for American Progress, where his work focuses on the Constitution and the judiciary. Tony Carrk is the Policy Director of Progress Central, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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