February 2 2011
As somebody who doesn't want to put her health decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats, I am really pleased that Federal District Judge Roger Vinson has ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional. I hope it goes to the Supreme Court and is upheld.
But concerns about health care aren't the only reason to hope that Obamacare is rejected. If the Supreme Court upholds the law, then we will see the most outrageous extension of federal government power in the history of the republic.
Two legal experts explore the ramifications of upholding Obamacare in today's Wall Street Journal. They point out that the government argued that it has the right to force citizens to buy a product (health insurance) under the Commerce Clause. Recognizing the vulnerability of this argument, the government shifted to the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution, which empowers Congress to make laws necessary to carry out it its enumerated powers.
But Judge Vinson rejected this:
This novel use of the Necessary and Proper Clause, if allowed to stand, would fundamentally transform our constitutional scheme from limited to unlimited federal power, narrowing the scope of individual liberty. In Judge Vinson's words, "the more harm the statute does, the more power Congress could assume for itself under the Necessary and Proper Clause. This result would, of course, expand the Necessary and Proper Clause far beyond its original meaning, and allow Congress to exceed the powers specifically enumerated in Article I."
This is more than health care, as important as that is.
This is about the very nature of our government.