And it fails on the most ridiculous grounds imaginable. Just to be clear, the federal government can now regulate economic inactivity by forcing you to buy something from a private company, through the Commerce Clause. If that isn’t bizarre, I don’t know what is.
Peter Suderman sums up the case well:
So are there any limits to congressional power under the Commerce Clause? Steeh’s decision points to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990. In that case, the Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school was not, in fact, economic activity, and the government’s arguments saying it was merely constituted “[piling] inference upon inference.” That act, says Steeh, “was first and foremost about providing a safe environment for students in the areas surrounding their schools, as opposed to an economic regulation.” It’s nice to know that Judge Steeh thinks there are limits to Congressional power. It’s less comforting to know that he thinks that economic inactivity—such as not purchasing health insurance—is up for grabs anyway just because it creates an economic ripple effect that could potentially touch some federal policy.