In law, severability (sometimes known as salvatorius, from Latin) refers to a provision in a contract which states that if parts of the contract are held to be illegal or otherwise unenforceable, the remainder of the contract should still apply. Sometimes, severability clauses will state that some provisions to the contract are so essential to the contract’s purpose that if they are illegal or unenforceable, the contract as a whole will be voided. However, in many legal jurisdictions, a severability clause will not be applied if it changes the fundamental nature of the contract, and that instead the contract will be void; thus, often this is not explicitly stated in the severability clause.
Severability clauses are also commonly found in legislation, where they state that if some provisions of the law, or certain applications of those provisions, are found to be unconstitutional, the remaining provisions, or the remaining applications of those provisions, will, nonetheless, continue in force as law.
Now, I didn’t know this. But I:
- Have never written a contract.
- Have written a law
- Voted a a bill that would eventually become a law.
The fact that there are people in this world who have done either 1, 2 and/or 3 and STILL don’t know this rule about Severability is NOT my problem.
But it DOES speak volumes as to their qualifications to do any of the above!
I’ve maintained that there is no way a 2000+ page bill written in the dead of night behind closed doors and never even READ by the people voting on it could accomplish what those very same people thought it would.
Never mind the fact that those people are or are not capable of writing valid legislation to begin with.
Even if, for example, I trusted you, Gentle Reader, completely and without question, I would find it the height of arrogance for you to claim that you have a tomb of legislation written by a bajillion people that YOU yourself have never read to claim it’s good legislation.
You simply would leave yourself open to criticism for even saying that.
And it turns out that the people Democrats who wrote this bill, voted for this bill and then signed it into law missed a very critical aspect:
Virginia’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican who filed the Richmond lawsuit, argues that if Judge Hudson rejects the insurance requirement he should instantly invalidate the entire act on a nationwide basis.
Mr. Cuccinelli and the plaintiffs in the Florida case, who include attorneys general or governors from 20 states, have emphasized that Congressional bill writers did not include a “severability clause” that would explicitly protect other parts of the sprawling law if certain provisions were struck down.
An earlier version of the legislation, which passed the House last November, included severability language. But that clause did not make it into the Senate version, which ultimately became law. A Democratic aide who helped write the bill characterized the omission as an oversight.
Seriously. If for no other reason beside unconscionable incompetence, this law should be scrapped and we should start over. The fact that these people missed what turns out to be a very basic concept in law was missed is inexcusable.