The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments in the case against the so-called healthcare reform bill often known as Obamacare.
At issue is whether or not the government can use the Interstate Commerce Clause — the clause in the Constitution which gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce between the states — to force citizens to purchase health insurance. In effect, mandating people engage in commerce.
If it stands there is then literally no limit to the government’s power to regulate the economy. Should they be able to force you to purchase health insurance then they can mandate you to purchase a certain type of car or not purchase food Michelle Obama decides is bad for you.
It’s a frightening power grab on the part of the federal government, made all the more frightening by the fact this was shoved through by a Democrat-controlled Congress expressly against the wishes of the American people — with absurdities uttered in the media like “once people are used to it they will like it” and “we have to pass the bill to know what’s in it.”
I’ve heard that one can become accustomed hanging — provided one hangs long enough — but I’m not inclined to find out any more than I want to see this monstrosity of a bill stand. Indeed, we are told we should never sign a contract without reading it and yet we allowed our elected representatives to pass the most sweeping power grab in American history without actually reading what they were passing — expressly against the campaign promise that President Obama made that all bills would be up on the Web for at least two weeks prior to passage so the American People could read them.
So now we find ourselves where this bill inevitably had to be — in front of the Supreme Court, whose decision will be final.
What’s yet more frightening is this decision will, without doubt, be 5-4 one way or the other.
There are those who claim the court is deciding based on personal politics rather than the Constitution — and they will be right — but not the way the media is telling you.
There are four highly liberal justices on the court; Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotamayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Steven Breyer. These four subscribe to the “living document” theory of the Constitution. They, all four of them, believe that rather than read the plain language of the Consitution and base their decisions on what it says, they must “interpret” it in light of the world as it now is. The basic argument is that “the world is different now” than when the Constitution was written and so of course the founders couldn’t have meant anything as silly as say “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
The danger in the “living document” theory is that the Constitution then means whatever the current court wants it to, without recourse to the plain intent of the founders. At which point the rule of law no longer exists.
These four also have a history of suggesting foreign law should be used to set precedents in our courts — which would erode American Sovereignty further.
These four will almost certainly vote to uphold Obamacare.
The four so-called “conservative” justices — in reality the four strict constructionists who believe the constitution means exactly what it says, no more and no less — are Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. These four will almost certainly vote to overturn. The wild card is Anthony Kennedy who has voted with both wings of the court on occasion, although most often with the “conservative” wing of late and has indicated he’s not a fan of the bill.
The court isn’t actually taking up the entire Affordable Care Act but just the section which mandates coverage. However, in a monumental screw up from the supporter’s view, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid forgot to include a “severability clause” in the bill. Normally these clauses are included so that if any party of a law is found to be unconstitutional that section is “severed” and the rest stands.
In this case if any part of the bill is struck down then almost certainly the entire thing will have to be thrown out — and it’s highly unlikely this thing can be pushed through again.
We won’t know the outcome of the deliberations for months yet. The court will not release their decisions until the end of their session some time from now.
We must now wait to see what will happen, if the court will effectively end capitalism in America by giving the government the right to tell you what you must buy, or will uphold freedom by striking down the most egregious attempt to grab power in American History.
All IMHO, of course.
(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Cherokee County News-Advocate. He can be emailed at email@example.com. Comment on this and other stories at www.sekvoice.com.)