ObamaCare Vs The Constitution at the Supreme Court

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the ObamaCare individual mandate.  It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the significance of this case to the future of liberty in America. If the Court upholds ObamaCare it will have struck down America’s most fundamental, founding principle, that the power of government must be limited, that it’s powers are no greater or more numerous than those granted to it by the Constitution.  If the Court upholds ObamaCare it will mean The Constitution no longer protects Americans from those who would seize the power of government to rule over our lives.

If the court strikes down the individual mandate President Obama and future Congresses will be on notice that there are still limits to government’s power over the people.

The “individual mandate,” is the requirement that every person in America purchase a health plan, with the terms and specifications of that plan dictated by federal officials.  President Obama and the progressives he represents argue that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause authorizes government to issue the individual mandate decree.  Unfortunately, politicians and judges and Supreme Court Justices have brazenly violated the Constitution for nearly a century, largely through deliberate misinterpretation of the commerce clause which says:

“The Congress shall have Power To…regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”

The term “Commerce” meant buying and selling transactions, in this case across state lines.    It was seen as a modest federal power to prevent state governments from erecting tariffs or other barriers that would inhibit transactions across state lines as had happened during the years leading up to the drafting of the Constitution.  James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper #22 of problems caused by state governments:

“The interfering and unneighborly regulations of some States, contrary to the true spirit of the Union, have, in different instances, given just cause of umbrage and complaint to others, and it is to be feared that examples of this nature, if not restrained by a national control, would be multiplied and extended till they became not less serious sources of animosity and discord…”

Madison was concerned that some states had already tried to restrict interstate transactions with various forms of taxes and regulations and could cripple interstate commerce as had happened in the German empire.

But Progressives don’t care about the original purpose or meaning of the commerce clause.  They hold that ObamaCare is authorized based not on what the Constitution says but on Supreme Court precedent, notably the decision in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942).  During the Great Depression Congress, dominated by progressives, had imposed limits on crop production, in an effort to reduce the food supply and cause prices to rise.  Progressives claimed, preposterously, that the Constitutional power to regulate transactions across state lines included the power to dictate the amount of wheat a farmer was allowed to grow.

Mr. Filburn was fined by the government for growing “too much” wheat.  He argued that Congress had no Constitutional authority to regulate his wheat production because his entire crop was consumed on his own farm, and was not sold to anyone, and therefore could not possibly be part of interstate commerce.  The government agreed that Filburn didn’t sell any of his wheat but argued that he affected interstate commerce by not buying wheat on the open, interstate market.  The court took the government’s side and the rest is history.

Based on this precedent and ignoring the plain language of the Constitution, President Obama and the Democrats and Progressives  now justify a federal law requiring us all to purchase a health plan designed by bureaucrats in Washington because not buying it has “an effect on interstate commerce.”

The word “effect” is not in the Constitution and it is clear that the Founders’ intent was not to grant Congress such sweeping power.

But since it could be argued that virtually any human activity could, however remotely, effect interstate commerce, we are now told that The Founders meant for Congress and the federal government to have unlimited power to intervene and control every aspect of our lives.

There are obvious, simple questions the progressives should be able to answer.  If the founders intended for Congress to have unlimited power why did they include a list of limited, authorized powers in Article I, section 8?  The progressives have no answer.  If they wanted to empower Congress to be able to require or regulate anything, without limit, why did they add the tenth amendment?

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  —Tenth Amendment

The progressives have no answer.

The Administration’s position in court will be the progressive position that an individual decision to not buy government approved health insurance is an “affirmative economic activity” subject to regulation by the government.  This position begs the question: Do progressives recognize any action or inaction that is not subject to government command under the Commerce clause?

Progressives often complain that Conservatives want to “regulate what goes on in the privacy of our bedrooms.”  But under the progressive interpretation of the commerce clause even those bedroom happenings can be regulated since they “effect” commerce by diverting participants from shopping or watching TV commercials.

A Court ruling that ObamaCare is permitted under the Constitution would consummate the progressive movement’s dream of implementing the very sort of authoritarian control the founders fought the Revolutionary War and wrote the Constitution to avoid: a system where all the limits are on the liberty of The People, with no limits on the power of government.

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