Sunday, March 21, 2010

ObamaCare and Constitutional Challenges

This is not at all surprising, and note that a significant number of states, with Wyoming and Idaho leading the charge, are taking their own measures under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

The Tenth Amendment, you'll recall, says this: "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."

Here is an analysis by a constitutional law prof in the WaPo. Blurb:
But the individual mandate extends the commerce clause's power beyond economic activity, to economic inactivity. That is unprecedented. While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company. Regulating the auto industry or paying "cash for clunkers" is one thing; making everyone buy a Chevy is quite another. Even during World War II, the federal government did not mandate that individual citizens purchase war bonds.

If you choose to drive a car, then maybe you can be made to buy insurance against the possibility of inflicting harm on others. But making you buy insurance merely because you are alive is a claim of power from which many Americans instinctively shrink.
Indeed. Here's a thought from another law professor. As for that individual mandate, I think it's a monstrosity. "Get your laws off my body"! (And shall I remind you of this great passage from Solzhenitsyn? as quoted by The Milton Friedman?)

UPDATE 1: Great quote from the governor of Wyoming, Dave Freudenthal:
"For decades we have shared increased frustration dealing with the federal government and its agencies. What started out as a leak in the erosion of state prerogative and independence has today turned into a flood. From wolf and grizzly bear management, to gun control, to endless regulation and unfunded mandates – the federal government has become far too powerful and intrusive."
And so it begins. It's shaping up to be a battle royale over whether states are sovereign in their own rights, as stated in the Constitution, or if they are only prostrate satrapies of a massive, meddling, even coercive central federal government leviathan.

UPDATE 2: Reuters is reporting the following:
Bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"There's going to be a big free-for-all lawsuit about this," said Michael Bird, legislative counsel for the NCSL.

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