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Late Friday, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of Texas sent shockwaves through the political establishment in Washington. He issued a decision in a lawsuit brought by 20 states declaring Obamacare to be unconstitutional now that Congress has repealed the individual mandate.
The individual mandate was the cornerstone of Obamacare. As you may recall, a narrowly divided Supreme Court rejected several arguments for the individual mandate and upheld it only as an exercise of Congress' power to tax.
The mandate has always been one of the most controversial and least popular parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But it was a critical element of the law. As Judge O'Connor wrote in his decision:
"The Individual Mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA. Without it, Congress and the Supreme Court have stated, the architectural design fails. It is like watching a slow game of Jenga, each party poking at a different provision to see if the ACA falls."
What happens next is anyone's guess.
This is just one federal judge, and he did not issue an injunction blocking the enforcement of Obamacare. As White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place."
Politically, it is unclear how this plays out, and whether it is a positive or negative for either side.
While Democrats got "shellacked" in 2010 after passing Obamacare, there is significant evidence that it played a major role in flipping control of the House back to Democrats this year, who ran most of their campaign ads on health care.
There's a huge battle going on in Washington over border security. A Congress that's willing to spend billions of dollars on just about every government program imaginable suddenly turns into a group of Scrooges whenever the subject of border security comes up.
The $5 billion President Trump wants as a down payment on his border wall may sound like a lot. But it's a small stocking stuffer under the Christmas tree of government spending. Congress overwhelmingly passed a farm bill last week that will cost taxpayers $87 billion a year!
Many Americans don't appreciate the chaos created by the lack of security at our border. For example:
- As we reported last week, a seven-year-old girl recently died while in Border Patrol custody. Predictably, the media and liberal lawmakers rushed to exploit the tragedy, blaming the Border Patrol, and by extension President Trump. But even the girl's father said he has "no complaints about how Border Patrol agents treated him and his daughter."
- There are thousands of people waiting for asylum hearings in Tijuana. And not all of them are good people in search of a better life. Mexican officials report that nearly 300 migrants have been arrested for serious crimes, from home break-ins to assault and drug possession.
- On one day last week, the Border Patrol arrested three illegal aliens who were all wanted for sexual abuse crimes. And what about the ones we didn't catch?
- ICE reports that it arrested more than 6,500 illegal aliens in Fiscal Year 2018 who were wanted on homicide and sex offense charges. And some so-called "progressive" politicians want to abolish ICE!
This is why we need a wall.
The U.S. Border Patrol is doing their best, but they're clearly overwhelmed. It's impossible to simultaneously process people's asylum claims, care for the sick and pluck out the hundreds of criminals in their midst, all while trying to secure the border.
With portions of the government set to shut down on Friday, Democrats are digging in. On "Meet the Press" yesterday, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer declared, "[President Trump] is not going to get the wall in any form."
That Schumer would rather keep the borders open than keep the government open tells you just how committed the left is to its radical open borders agenda.