June 26, 2012 2 Comments
The Obamacare decision is going to be handed down on Thursday. It appears that Chief Justice Roberts will be delivering the opinion. That means it’s either 5-4 to overturn at least the mandate or 6-3 to uphold the law. The liberal press is in borderline freak out mode over the notion that this law might be ruled unconstitutional, they can’t imagine how it can be. That largely stems from their refusal to take conservative jurisprudence seriously. Another like of articles the past few days, both on the left and right, have focused on how bad this decision will be for Obama. The bigger question is what will this decision mean for the American people?
A ruling that Obamacare is constitutional isn’t out of the question. I’d say it’s 60-40 that it doesn’t happen, but that means there’s at least a 40% chance that this law is ruled constitutional. What does that mean for freedom in American though? If the individual mandate is constitutional, is there any essential aspect of life that the government cannot regulate? Keep in mind, this is the argument the liberals have been making on Obamacare. Healthcare is something everyone will need eventually and therefore the Commerce Clause allows the government to mandate that we buy private health insurance.
If having the government regulate commerce means they can force us to buy essential products like health insurance there is nothing essential they cannot force us to buy. It is essential that we eat, therefore the government could regulate commerce by forcing us to buy healthy food. People laughed when Scalia suggested the government could force us to buy broccoli but why wouldn’t the government be able to do this? We all have to eat and government may decide to save money on healthcare the American people need to eat healthy food. Therefore as part of its Commerce power, the Congress could order us to buy healthy food. It’s not out of the question, in fact the argument for this is identical to the individual mandate argument.
We could come up with any number of other products that are essential in this life and because they require us to buy something and are commerce, the government could order us to buy them if the individual mandate is upheld. Funeral services, water, shelter, clothing etc. You may laugh at these suggestions but if Congress may use its Commerce Clause power to mandate the purchase of health insurance because health insurance is essential to living, then government can mandate the purchase of all these other essential products of life. You have to wonder though at what point does the consent of the governed cease.
The Federalist Papers argued for the Commerce Clause and nowhere did the founders argue that this clause could order the American people to buy private products. It’s one thing to regulate commerce between the several states to ensure that the states aren’t placing special taxes, fees or regulations on products produced out of state. It’s another thing for Congress to regulate commerce by ordering the American people to buy products, no matter how essential they may be. If government can order us to buy health insurance, there is no power over us that they don’t have. The government will cease to be of the people but it will have become a dictatorship.
I hope that the Supreme Court will rule the mandate unconstitutional and thus place limits on the power of the Federal government. It would not surprise me in the least though if they rule it constitutional. Kennedy is weak and I fear Roberts isn’t nearly as conservative as we had originally hoped. A ruling of constitutional will likely rile up Republicans and propel Romney into office. But even if he is able to repeal Obamacare, the damage will already be done. The Supreme Court precedent will be in place and the next Democrat, if not Romney, will likely take full advantage of it. What the American people must ask themselves though is whether this is the freedom that the founders wanted for this nation.