Pelosi: Constitutionality of individual mandates not “serious” question

posted at 1:36 pm on October 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

First Patrick Leahy scoffed at questions over whether the federal government has the authority to order Americans to buy a particular product, even though that has never happened in our 233-year history, and now the Speaker of the House claims that the question is “not serious.” CNS News has the audio of Nancy Pelosi providing the Democratic dodge on the constitutionality question:

CNSNews.com: “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?”

Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

CNSNews.com: “Yes, yes I am.”

Pelosi avoided answering the question, probably because she doesn’t have an answer.  Her spokesman said that it was “not a serious question,” but if so, one would presume that Pelosi or her office could provide an easily-corroborated answer.  After all, the Constitution is where Congress derives all of its authority.  It’s not exactly a lengthy document.  How difficult is it to cite the clause that enables Congress to impose a mandate on its citizens to spend money on anything but a tax?

Well, as it turns out, pretty darned difficult.  The interstate commerce clause doesn’t apply because Congress doesn’t allow for interstate commerce in health insurance.  The “general welfare” clause has never applied to individual mandates, which is why neither Leahy or Pelosi will invoke it publicly.  If they trot that out in front of the Supreme Court, they’ll essentially be arguing that the federal government has the authority to impose any kind of mandates at any time on anyone in the country, which makes the limitations of power in the Constitution meaningless — and by extension, makes the Supreme Court meaningless as well.  Good luck getting them to buy into that policy.


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Horatius on October 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Claim to be illegal. And not have a job. That’s what I’d do. Cadillac health insurance, paid for by tax payers, here I come!

lorien1973 on October 23, 2009 at 2:10 PM

I smell blood in the water.

This thing seems to be unraveling before our eyes. Am I being too optimistic?

BuckeyeSam on October 23, 2009 at 2:12 PM

The interstate commerce clause doesn’t apply because Congress doesn’t allow for interstate commerce in health insurance.

And even if they did, I still don’t think it’d allow for forcing people to buy a product.

emz35 on October 23, 2009 at 2:12 PM

I’m surprised Her Majesty didn’t reply “Off with his head!”

GarandFan on October 23, 2009 at 2:12 PM

I wonder if this was still the case today, would state governments be instructing their senators to NOT place a new medicare burden on the state. A burden the states can ill afford.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:08 PM

It was always in the states interest to keep the federal govt from growing too big, too powerfull. I believe they would have instructed their senators, on penalty of recall, to only support justices who would interpret the constitution in such a way as to limit federal power.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:13 PM

You’re not forced by the government to buy the service. Watching tv is not a right.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 1:51 PM

True.
However, if you want to watch TV you’re going to need either a cable with a digital converter box or a digital to analog converter box because the government made so you have to. That was my only point.

rollthedice on October 23, 2009 at 2:14 PM

I smell blood in the water.

This thing seems to be unraveling before our eyes. Am I being too optimistic?

BuckeyeSam on October 23, 2009 at 2:12 PM

I hope not.

Oink on October 23, 2009 at 2:14 PM

I’m surprised that nobody has taken up the challenge in my 1:38pm post. I thought it was pretty clear jab at the military draft.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Remember, any act or law is constitutional until someone with very deep pockets take it to court and they rule otherwise…as that normally takes years, I expect the dems to ignore legal challenges….’Rule of Law, we don’t need no stinkin laws’

JIMV on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Pelosi avoided answering the question, probably because she doesn’t have an answer.

Nancy just has to ask the Congressional law firm of Dewey, Cheetham and Howe. They know every angle.

Loxodonta on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Hey! It’s not unconstitutional-unconstitutional so get off her case.

Can a person collect a salary as a congressional representative and a disability check at the same time or are they the same thing?

Texas Tom on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

In normal times, such a statement by Pelosi would have been enough to get her immediately ejected from the Speaker’s position.

In normal times, people expected the Speaker of the House to be experienced, ethical, competent and have integrity.

Now, they’re happy if whomever holds elected office, is “diverse”.

As in, “who gives a damn whether this jackass can bring anything to the table, their sex parts/skin color are refreshingly different!”.

And we see where that gets us.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

The problem lies in the duplicity behind what Congress is trying to do. It would almost certainly not be Constitutionally suspect if Congress levied a tax, forbade private insurance altogether (due to its effect on the national, inter-state insurance market), and founded an administrative agency to provide healthcare to “the People.” The jurisdiction comes from the Commerce Clause, the spending from the General Welfare Clause.

Instead, the House Bill contemplates setting up a national insurance exchange (they can do this–regulation of inter-state commerce), levying a tax on uninsured (they can do this also–Congress has broad powers to tax), and then mandating that individuals purchase insurance from the national insurance exchange (here’s the part thats iffy).

It really will depend on the wording of the bill. What if there is no “individual mandate” language, but just a tax on uninsured? Thats probably no problem at all, and it would accomplish much the same thing as what Congress wants.

However, what if the wording of the bill indicates that every citizen has a “duty” to purchase insurance from the exchange, or something similiar? Can Congress force citizens to purchase products from private enterprise? I believe that has more wrinkles to it than proponants let on.

Revenant on October 23, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Remember, any act or law is constitutional until someone with very deep pockets take it to court and they rule otherwise…as that normally takes years, I expect the dems to ignore legal challenges….’Rule of Law, we don’t need no stinkin laws’

JIMV on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Some cases go directly to the SC. For example, McCain/Feingold got an immediate hearing.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:16 PM

they would have instructed their senators, on penalty of recall,
MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I never understood why the founders put in a senate term. It seams that a better definition of a senator would be that the senator serves at the pleasure of the state government and may serve no more than six years.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Drinking cola is not a right either. Does that give govt the right to tell Pepsi that they must vitamin fortify every drink that they make?

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 1:53 PM

No. I want government out of all food and dietary mandates.
Basic food saftey being the exception imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

When Alice and friend CNSNews asked a question to Queen Pelosi, Queen Pelosi retorted: “off with their heads,” then sent her army of minions, the SEIU, to capture and execute said Questionnaires.

PrettyD_Vicious on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

You can rest assured that Patrick Leahy – an attorney and former criminal prosecutor in Chittenden County Vermont – has his staff rummaging through reams of case law, seeking an absolute answer to this simplest of questions. He has to, because he knows it’s not going to go away and, at some point, somebody is going to have to release a carefully worded statement outlining just exactly where the authority is based.

It’s one of those “gotcha” type questions that – thus far – no one has even dared to answer. Pelousy, of course, just shrugged it off because she doesn’t have a clue about anything, much less Constitutional law.

There’s very little doubt that an immediate legal action will be filed as soon as the fraud autographs the legislation.

GoldenEagle4444 on October 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Basic food saftey being the exception imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

we should pass an amendment to give the federal government the legal power to do this.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM

lorien1973 on October 23, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Become an expat with a “vacation” home in the States. Get a round-trip, open-return ticket once a year, and purchase trip insurance with medical benefits.

Christien on October 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Let’s ask James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Could they possibly shed any light on this?

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” – James Madison in letter to James Robertson

“[Congressional jurisdiction of power] is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist 14

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” – James Madison, Federalist 45

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison, 1792

“The Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient,’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed” – Thomas Jefferson, 1791

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1798

There you have it. James Madison, the Constitution’s author and Thomas Jefferson the author of the Declaration of Independence, specifically say that Congressional powers are to be limited and defined – unlike most modern interpretations!

Sanmon on October 23, 2009 at 2:19 PM

res ipsa loquitor

Nanzi to Everybody: We pwn you!

ExpressoBold on October 23, 2009 at 2:20 PM

No. I want government out of all food and dietary mandates.
Basic food saftey being the exception imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

What’s the difference between this and regulating over the air broadcasts? (Prior to being taken over by the feds, conflicts between two broadcasters, both trying to use the same frequency were handled by the courts on the basis of trespassing laws. That being. The first company that started broadcasting in an area, on a particular frequency, owned that area and frequency. Any newcomers who interfered with that signal were guilty of tresspassing. There were no problems, and there was no reason, other than the desire to control who could broadcast, and to extract rents in the form of campaign contributions from broadcasters, for govt to get involved in the first place.)

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM

One question I would like to see raised is that Roe v. Wade sort of limited government’s power to intervene with your body. You know?

joeindc44 on October 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM

then sent her army of minions, the SEIU, to capture and execute said Questionnaires.

PrettyD_Vicious on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

SEIU? Are you sure she didn’t say, “Off with their fingers”?

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

If they can force us to pay thousands of dollars for health insurance, there’s no limit on their reach.

Doughboy on October 23, 2009 at 1:54 PM
You make it sound as if that wasn’t there goal from the start.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Exactly!!! Just wait! After they get this, and cap, and trade….they’ll be knocking on your door, ordering to pack a few personal belongings, and get out! They need your home, for someone less fortunate. Where will you live? Well that’s not important. They don’t give a flip about you, because you didn’t vote, or support any of this!

capejasmine on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Remember, any act or law is constitutional until someone with very deep pockets take it to court and they rule otherwise…as that normally takes years, I expect the dems to ignore legal challenges….’Rule of Law, we don’t need no stinkin laws’

JIMV on October 23, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Even weirder is you can’t FORCE the Supreme Court to take a case. Ifn they don’t want to hear it, they don’t.

Add in how questions of Standing deny you the Right to petition for Redress through the Courts… and we’ve got a mess.

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

I think Wickard was wrongly decided, but it is as well as established as a constitutional precedent as any case I can think of. And as applied to healthcare, I think there’s little doubt that an insurance mandate has an effect on interstate commerce in the Wickard sense.

I wish it were otherwise, but the Constitutional argument isn’t going anywhere.

Anonymous Finch on October 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM

You’d be correct they were wrong. By that logic the federal government can FORCE you to buy things because you’re affecting interstate commerce.

Skywise on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

MarkTheGreat, the draft is Constitutional (i.e., doesn’t violate the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on involuntary servitude). An act of a state requiring its citizens to work on roads is also consitutional. See below.

U.S. Supreme Court
BUTLER v. PERRY, 240 U.S. 328 (1916)

Decided February 21, 1916.

Mr. Justice McReynolds delivered the opinion of the court:

Chapter 6537, Laws of Florida (Acts of 1913), provides:

‘Sec. 10. Every able-bodied male person over the age of twenty-one years, and under the age of forty-five years, residing in said county for thirty days or more continuously next prior to the date of making of the list by the board of county commissioners, or the date of the summons or notice to work, shall be subject, liable and required to work on the roads and bridges of the several counties for six days of not less than ten hours each in each year when summoned so to do, as herein provided; that such persons so subject to road duty may perform such services by an able- bodied substitute over the age of eighteen years, or in lieu thereof may pay to the road overseer on or before the day he is called upon to render such service the sum of $3, and such overseer shall turn into the county treasury of his county any and all moneys so paid to him, the same to be placed to the credit of the road and bridge fund and subject to the order of the board of county commissioners for road and bridge purposes; . . .
‘Sec. 12. Any person or persons not exempt as aforesaid who shall fail to work on public roads of the several counties when required to do so, or to provide a substitute as herein provided, and shall neglect or refuse to make payment for the same, as hereinbefore provided, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $ 50 or imprisoned in the county jail for not longer than thirty days.’

It is insisted that sections 10 and 12, supra, are invalid because they undertake to impose involuntary servitude not as a punishment for crime, contrary to the 13th Amendment to the Federal Constitution.

In view of ancient usage and the unanimity of judicial opinion, it must be taken as settled that, unless restrained by some constitutional limitation, a state has inherent power to require every able-bodied man within its jurisdiction to labor for a reasonable time on public roads near his residence without direct compensation. This is a part of the duty which he owes to the public.

…..

………the 13th Amendment declares that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist. This Amendment was adopted with reference to conditions existing since the foundation of our government, and the term ‘involuntary servitude’ was intended to cover those forms of compulsory labor akin to African slavery which, in practical operation, would tend to produce like undesirable results. It introduced no novel doctrine with respect of services always treated as exceptional, and certainly was not intended to interdict enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc.

……

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

joeindc44 on October 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Good point, doesn’t the hallowed “right to privacy” include NOT telling Nancy whether or not you have insurance?

For people who want “the government out of my bedroom”, they sure like it nosing around the bureau and in the checking account.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:23 PM

No. I want government out of all food and dietary mandates.
Basic food saftey being the exception imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

No, not even that. If a company wants the US government to approve their food (meat, dairy, etc) to validate the quality that’s fine. But it shouldn’t be mandatory.

Skywise on October 23, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Ed, They do not have the authority. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Constitution specifically PROHIBITS such things. Some of have provided the quotes on other threads.

dogsoldier on October 23, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Hmmmm.

If they can impose a mandate to buy health insurance then they can impose a mandate to buy GM cars.

Ok now we’re going to have to fight!

memomachine on October 23, 2009 at 2:25 PM

No. I want government out of all food and dietary mandates.
Basic food saftey being the exception imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM

How about leaving that up to the States… where it Constitutionaly should be?

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:25 PM

In view of ancient usage and the unanimity of judicial opinion, it must be taken as settled that, unless restrained by some constitutional limitation, a state has inherent power to require every able-bodied man within its jurisdiction to labor for a reasonable time on public roads near his residence without direct compensation. This is a part of the duty which he owes to the public.

…..

………the 13th Amendment declares that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist. This Amendment was adopted with reference to conditions existing since the foundation of our government, and the term ‘involuntary servitude’ was intended to cover those forms of compulsory labor akin to African slavery which, in practical operation, would tend to produce like undesirable results. It introduced no novel doctrine with respect of services always treated as exceptional, and certainly was not intended to interdict enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc.

……

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

But you can easily say also that those duties, being of ancient origin, cannot be compared with a modern “duty” to purchase insurance. There is no ancient history in this country of a duty owed the State to purchase health insurance.

Congress is trying to create one out of whole cloth.

Revenant on October 23, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Why am I not surprised that Jimbo approves of the state making slaves of it’s citizens?

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Good point, doesn’t the hallowed “right to privacy” include NOT telling Nancy whether or not you have insurance?

For people who want “the government out of my bedroom”, they sure like it nosing around the bureau and in the checking account.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:23 PM

–You don’t have reasonable expectations that that information should be kept confidential. You’ve probably shown your medical insurance card, auto insurance card, etc. to receptionists, police, etc. 100s of time. And you’ve certainly had to tell your mortgage company whether or not you have homeowners insurance and put them on as an additional insured.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Why am I not surprised that Jimbo approves of the state making slaves of it’s citizens?

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM

–Mark, I’m not saying I approve of the Florida statute or the Supreme Court decision. I don’t think that anyone except convicted criminals should be required to work on roads. But the Supreme Court and Florida decided otherwise.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Revenant on October 23, 2009 at 2:25 PM

More imporatantly… its a bogus example, because this was a STATE law they were talking about…

They were not saying that Congress had the POWER to do this, just that the States were not prohibited….

Consitution puts limits on the FEDERAL Gov…

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:29 PM

I can’t repeat this often enough:

Less than 205,000 votes got her elected!!

KZnextzone on October 23, 2009 at 2:29 PM

levying a tax on uninsured (they can do this also–Congress has broad powers to tax)

Tax on what? ..simply existing? That seems iffy too.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM

..also, its not a tax, its a penalty.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:31 PM

But you can easily say also that those duties, being of ancient origin, cannot be compared with a modern “duty” to purchase insurance. There is no ancient history in this country of a duty owed the State to purchase health insurance.

Congress is trying to create one out of whole cloth.

–I think if it’s Constitutional to require you to perform 60 hours of services or pay a fine in a non-economic setting, then it’s difficult to argue that you can’t be forced to either buy something or be fined in an economic setting. You have the choice between buying the product, which is alot less burdensome than working on roads for sixty hours, or paying the fine (or tax).

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:32 PM

More imporatantly… its a bogus example, because this was a STATE law they were talking about…

They were not saying that Congress had the POWER to do this, just that the States were not prohibited….

Consitution puts limits on the FEDERAL Gov…

Yes, I’m just extrapolating from other ancient “duties” owed the Federal Government, like say, jury duty, or the draft, which one could argue were around since the country’s founding and thus are duties properly owed by the citizen to the Federal Government.

There is no analogy to health care. They’re trying to create a mandate from nothing, largely because they know that there would be public outrage at the outright nationalization of healthcare and outlaw of private insurance.

Revenant on October 23, 2009 at 2:32 PM

You don’t have reasonable expectations that that information should be kept confidential.

I beg to differ but I guess what the individuals wants to keep private is now up to bureaucrats, lawyers and “elected” officials to decide.

What’s reasonable, that is.

Remind me again why we got rid of the monarchy?

We get the same “quality” of lords and masters ordering us around, while having to suffer through and fund sham election campaigns every few years.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:32 PM

–I think if it’s Constitutional to require you to perform 60 hours of services or pay a fine in a non-economic setting, then it’s difficult to argue that you can’t be forced to either buy something or be fined in an economic setting. You have the choice between buying the product, which is alot less burdensome than working on roads for sixty hours, or paying the fine (or tax).

Congress can probably fine or tax uninsured. The question is whether they can mandate that citizens purchase health insurance. The rubicon is the forced purchase of a product, as opposed to a tax, however unfair.

Revenant on October 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
CNSNews.com: “Yes, yes I am.”

YES WE ARE NANCY!

You and your cohorts are acting unconstitutionally and you are all DRUNK on power. Wait till the hangover arrives in 2010 !

Sandybourne on October 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

we should pass an amendment to give the federal government the legal power to do this.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Its already a more believable and rational application of the commerce clause imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

–It’s not bogus, Romeo (it’s a good point by you, though). Congress has the power to enforce the amendment and the amendment applies everywhere in the US. So it doesn’t matter if it was the federal government or a state government that was taking the offensive action.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Here’s my question: What’s to stop them from raising tax rates and then giving deductions for specific purchases. Of course, that won’t catch the 50%+ of the people who don’t work or pay taxes, but they’re the beneficiaries of the enforced largess anyway, so what does it matter?

mr.blacksheep on October 23, 2009 at 2:36 PM

You’ve probably shown your medical insurance card, auto insurance card, etc. to receptionists, police, etc. 100s of time. And you’ve certainly had to tell your mortgage company whether or not you have homeowners insurance and put them on as an additional insured.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Funny thing, though, I have never shown my ID to vote in elections.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM

What’s the difference between this and regulating over the air broadcasts? (Prior to being taken over by the feds, conflicts between two broadcasters, both trying to use the same frequency were handled by the courts on the basis of trespassing laws. That being. The first company that started broadcasting in an area, on a particular frequency, owned that area and frequency. Any newcomers who interfered with that signal were guilty of tresspassing. There were no problems, and there was no reason, other than the desire to control who could broadcast, and to extract rents in the form of campaign contributions from broadcasters, for govt to get involved in the first place.)

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Whats the difference???
One is a food product and the other has to do with broadcasting.

What are the similarities?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:39 PM

SEIU? Are you sure she didn’t say, “Off with their fingers”?

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:22 PM

The more Democrats are questioned or defeated, the more vicious they become. Of course, this only applies to conservatives. Democrats want to emulate their current fellow travelers and role models, jihadists Muslims, whom the Democrats envy because the Muslims Leaders have absolute control over their own citizenry by ruthless and vicious intimidation such as cutting off heads with dull knives, etc.

PrettyD_Vicious on October 23, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Its already a more believable and rational application of the commerce clause imo.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

To me, conceding this point is a pandora’s box (not that that box is already open). If food is OK to regulate, why not X, Y , and Z.

I will stick with my opinion that the commerce clause was merely a clause designed to insure the states’s play nice with trade (i.e., a free trade zone). If I want the federal government to regulate some other area of commerce, due to my position, the constitution should be amended to allow it.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:40 PM

–You don’t have reasonable expectations that that information should be kept confidential. You’ve probably shown your medical insurance card, auto insurance card, etc. to receptionists, police, etc. 100s of time. And you’ve certainly had to tell your mortgage company whether or not you have homeowners insurance and put them on as an additional insured.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM

As part of a contract. There’s no legal mandate for it though. I can refuse to prove homeowners insurance if I want to risk the consequences for breach of contract — a contract I agreed to in the first place.

mr.blacksheep on October 23, 2009 at 2:41 PM

There is a Constitutional question here; they do not have the power to force us to buy anything nor the power to penalize us for not buying something. There will be an immediate injunction issued against this and it will go straight to the Supreme Court. If SCOTUS decides against us then we’ll invalidate it through the State Houses via Nullification. I know Florida is already quietly preparing Nullification language.

elduende on October 23, 2009 at 2:42 PM

What are the similarities?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:39 PM

There don’t need to be similarities. If congress has the power to force the one, it has the power to force the other, as well as anything else they can dream up.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:44 PM

I think there’s little doubt that an insurance mandate has an effect on interstate commerce in the Wickard sense.

I wish it were otherwise, but the Constitutional argument isn’t going anywhere.

Anonymous Finch on October 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Doesn’t that apply to people and businesses freely participating in the purchase of the service? How does the “forced to buy” part enter into it?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Funny thing, though, I have never shown my ID to vote in elections.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM

That’s because not showing your ID in this instance, favors Democrats.

They’d bring back the poll tax if they could figure out a way to impose it only on those who voted Republican.

“Card check” at the ballot box is a dream of theirs.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

The basic philisophical difference between you and I is very simple.

I believe, as the Founder’s wrote, that the Constitution is explicit in what Powers the Federal Government has.

What Rights its people enjoy (nationwide).

And all other Powers that do not abrogate the Peoples Rights, belong to the State.

States CAN do things that the Feds cannot… based on their Constitutions, and what Limits those documents put on State powers…

The Supremes and Lawyers have taken a pretty clearly written and understandable document, and twisted it all out of shape trying to get around those limitations (instead of Amending the Constitution, so the People could have a voice in that decision).

It now does not in any way resemble what the Founders Intended…

When the Supremes can use the Interstate Commerce clause to tell a Farmer to destroy his own wheat, which he is growing for his own chickens? Thats just plain whacked, and beyond any conception of common sense.

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:46 PM

“Card check” at the ballot box is a dream of theirs.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:45 PM

“Here’s my card Mr. New Black Panther.”

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:46 PM

However, if you want to watch TV you’re going to need either a cable with a digital converter box or a digital to analog converter box because the government made so you have to. That was my only point.

rollthedice on October 23, 2009 at 2:14 PM

This only applies to old TVs. Newer TVs already receive the digital signal. So if you TV is 10-15 years old, yeah, you gotta upgrade, OR, you start watching through the Internet, OR, you just stop watching.

It’s no different than catalytic converters and whatnot. By no means a “mandate” on the people, since other than taxes, there has never been a mandate on the people pushed from Washington D.C. to actually buy something.

uknowmorethanme on October 23, 2009 at 2:47 PM

PRECEDENT TO MANDATE INSURANCE PURCHASE HAS ALREADY BEEN SET MANY TIMES OVER – IN DIVORCE COURT. EVEN THE INABILITY TO PURCHASE SAID INSURANCE IS NO EXCUSE – BURDEN OF PROOF OF INABILITY TO PAY IS UPON THE INDIVIDUAL AND JUDGES ARE VERY VERY VERY HARSH ON INABILITY TO PAY. BASICALLY, IF YOU HAVE ANY MONEY YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO PAY. IF YOU ARE NOT WORKING EVEN IN ANY ECONOMY AS POOR AS THIS ONE THEN YOU ARE DODGING YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

YES, I KNOW ALL CAPS MEANS YELLING – I’M YELLING ‘CAUSE YOU FOOLS JUST DON’T GET IT -

LIBERTY IS DEAD!!!!

klickink.wordpress.com on October 23, 2009 at 2:49 PM

“Here’s my card Mr. New Black Panther.”

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:46 PM

No more having to leave your house on voting day, a group of your friendly neighborhood New Black Panthers/Teamsters will just deliver your ballot to you, in person.

Very convenient.

NoDonkey on October 23, 2009 at 2:49 PM

No, not even that. If a company wants the US government to approve their food (meat, dairy, etc) to validate the quality that’s fine. But it shouldn’t be mandatory.

Skywise on October 23, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Then we disagree on that point.
Do you think its within the constitution to make sure your surgeon meets certain standards or should the learning institution that certifies him or her be able to set its own standards?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:50 PM

How about leaving that up to the States… where it Constitutionaly should be?

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:25 PM

If no food products cross state lines, I agree.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Then we disagree on that point.
Do you think its within the constitution to make sure your surgeon meets certain standards or should the learning institution that certifies him or her be able to set its own standards?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Are not Doctors licensed by their own STATES? and thus covered by the 10th?

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:53 PM

The Supremes and Lawyers have taken a pretty clearly written and understandable document, and twisted it all out of shape trying to get around those limitations (instead of Amending the Constitution, so the People could have a voice in that decision).

It now does not in any way resemble what the Founders Intended…

They should have included the Federalist Papers in the Constitution as a handbook for the ignorant.

uknowmorethanme on October 23, 2009 at 2:54 PM

The Constitution is the restraint that domesticated the federal government. Without that restraint, our federal government has reverted to a barbaric, natural state.

We now have a FERAL GOVERNMENT, and all the threats and dangers that entails.

progressoverpeace on October 23, 2009 at 2:55 PM

PRECEDENT TO MANDATE INSURANCE PURCHASE HAS ALREADY BEEN SET MANY TIMES OVER – IN DIVORCE COURT. EVEN THE INABILITY TO PURCHASE SAID INSURANCE IS NO EXCUSE – BURDEN OF PROOF OF INABILITY TO PAY IS UPON THE INDIVIDUAL AND JUDGES ARE VERY VERY VERY HARSH ON INABILITY TO PAY. BASICALLY, IF YOU HAVE ANY MONEY YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO PAY. IF YOU ARE NOT WORKING EVEN IN ANY ECONOMY AS POOR AS THIS ONE THEN YOU ARE DODGING YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

YES, I KNOW ALL CAPS MEANS YELLING – I’M YELLING ‘CAUSE YOU FOOLS JUST DON’T GET IT -

LIBERTY IS DEAD!!!!

You are talking contract law. Citzenship is not a contract.

uknowmorethanme on October 23, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Do you think its within the constitution to make sure your surgeon meets certain standards or should the learning institution that certifies him or her be able to set its own standards?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:50 PM

I would say that the state, not the feds, can, and should, set the standards. I think this is how it is done for many “professional” professions.

I would, though, be comfortable if this was optional for non-emergency medical professiona.

This train of thought also can be applied to banks. Deposit insurance should not be required at a bank. This should be a feature that you as the bank consumer can use to make a decision on whether to park your money at a bank.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:56 PM

–You don’t have reasonable expectations that that information should be kept confidential. You’ve probably shown your medical insurance card, auto insurance card, etc. to receptionists, police, etc. 100s of time. And you’ve certainly had to tell your mortgage company whether or not you have homeowners insurance and put them on as an additional insured.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Whats the connection between those things and mandatory health insurance? In those examples, you’ve voluntarily purchased those services and are either changing the particulars of them or applying to get the services you’ve voluntarily purchased.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM

I propose a law be made that every bill will declare the constitutional law supporting it or ruling that provides the constitutional authority. As noted; the constitution is not that lengthly of a document. This statement should be in plain English and placed at the beginning where it is readily noticable. If they get it wrong, it can be corrected on the house floor.

I bet the first argument against it would be that it is too difficult to figure out what part of the constitution allowed each part of a law. Imagin having to go through each part of the healthcare bill and actually reading it to determine what parts are constitutionally allowed. The same requirement would be applied to radical judges that are mandating law from the bench. It is a sure bet the left will find this a very inconveinent law.

I propose a second law. That every congress man or women elected to congress, pass a written exam on the constitution and bill of rights before they are allowed to vote. The test would be administered in venue that can be monitiored by the public to insure that the canidate was capable of passing the test. A possible second part of the test could be based on the areas or state they represent.

If these two laws were inacted; how much taxpayer money would be saved and how much better would our goverment serve us?

Franklyn on October 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM

What’s the difference between this and regulating over the air broadcasts?

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM

A bad broadcast can’t cause a food-borne illness outbreak and infect people who haven’t even watched it? (although it might cause mass stupidity…)

Dark-Star on October 23, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Steny Hoyer says it’s in the “general Welfare”-clause of the Preamble.

Then what does “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” mean for Planned Parenthood, Steny?

Every law ever written was aimed at someone’s idea of “the general Welfare”. Justice Taney thought he was promoting the general welfare when he returned Dred Scot to his owner.

It’s not their fault, really. They’ve never been asked to submit to the Constitution before and it’s a new and frightening concept for them.

I’m even beginning to think that yelling at Obama for failing to protect America is like yelling at a six-year old for failing to make a dentist appointment, open a 401k and install vinyl siding on the house.

Noel on October 23, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Franklyn on October 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Hmmmm… interesting ideas…

How about adding in a 3 Person Court, just under the Supremes, based in Washington, whose entire mission is to look at every Law passed by Congress as to its Constitutionality…

If its found unConstitutional, then it could go to the Supremes…

Also, make this courts STAFF available during the legislative process, to give nonbinding HELP when laws are written… so they WOULD be Constitutional?

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 3:01 PM

There don’t need to be similarities.

MarkTheGreat on October 23, 2009 at 2:44 PM

That doesn’t really make sense to me. Its too abstract.

If such abstractions can be method and reason, then the opposite could be argued. If there are no similarities or consistencies, then anything goes.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Here’s is how the 1935 Congress did a CYA for Social Security. This is the 1st paragraph of the bill:

An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.

See, it’s constitutional, General Welfare, and federalists, enabling the several States, in nature. Sweet!

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 3:04 PM

I propose a law be made that every bill will declare the constitutional law supporting it or ruling that provides the constitutional authority.

Franklyn on October 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM

A GOP Congressman tried to introduce exactly that bill. It was roundly rejected and ignored by just about everybody. The Enumerated Powers Act, brought by Rep. John Shadegg (R).

progressoverpeace on October 23, 2009 at 3:06 PM

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:40 PM

I agree to disagree on that point.. no biggie.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM

It’s the mentality of the left. The constitution to them is ‘imperfect’ and out-of-date. In their minds they are much more empathetic and intelligent than the “so-called Founders”. Times are different now, they say, and we must progress as a society. It’s just how they think.

CityFish on October 23, 2009 at 1:44 PM

A good segment of the “right” thinks this way as well, unfortunately.

2Brave2Bscared on October 23, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Technically, Congress still has the power to regulate insurance. All the McCarran-Ferguson Act did was to say that non-insurance related acts of Congress don’t void state laws relating to insurance. See below.

§ 1012. Regulation by State law; Federal law relating specifically to insurance; applicability of certain Federal laws after June 30, 1948

(a) State regulation

The business of insurance, and every person engaged therein, shall be subject to the laws of the several States which relate to the regulation or taxation of such business.

(b) Federal regulation

No Act of Congress shall be construed to invalidate, impair, or supersede any law enacted by any State for the purpose of regulating the business of insurance, or which imposes a fee or tax upon such business, unless such Act specifically relates to the business of insurance: Provided, That after June 30, 1948, the Act of July 2, 1890, as amended, known as the Sherman Act, and the Act of October 15, 1914, as amended, known as the Clayton Act, and the Act of September 26, 1914, known as the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended [15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.], shall be applicable to the business of insurance to the extent that such business is not regulated by State Law.

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 3:11 PM

PRECEDENT TO MANDATE INSURANCE PURCHASE HAS ALREADY BEEN SET MANY TIMES OVER – IN DIVORCE COURT.

klickink.wordpress.com on October 23, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Is that a state law?
What type of insurance are you talking about?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:13 PM

I wish it were otherwise, but the Constitutional argument isn’t going anywhere.

Anonymous Finch on October 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Lemme see if I understand the court’s and Congress’s logic here. The same court or Congress than can tell a farmer what he/she can grow in their own back yard refuses to regulate the sale of insurance policies? I.e., it refuses to allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. The would seem to be the exact application of “regulating interstate commerce”. Practicing medicine doesn’t cross state lines. Each state licenses physicians. Practicing medicine is regulated by the states, and has always been. So, I’m not quite sure how health insurance qualifies as falling under the interstate commerce clause.

Fed45 on October 23, 2009 at 3:13 PM

WashJeff you are quite correct.

Congress will find the same place in the Constitution to mandate that we buy health insurance that they found we should also buy Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.

In other words, they will manufacture the citation out of thin air.

Speaker Pelosi is quite right to be outraged.

We’ve been through this before in the Roosevelt administration.

Tut. Tut.

Stepan on October 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM

True.
However, if you want to watch TV you’re going to need either a cable with a digital converter box or a digital to analog converter box because the government made so you have to. That was my only point.

rollthedice on October 23, 2009 at 2:14 PM

As of now, the government cannot force you to watch TV.

Johan Klaus on October 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Jimbo3 on October 23, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Funny how they managed… between about 1900 and 1937, to destroy the idea of a limited Federal Government… through a couple of Amendments, and some Supreme Court Rulings…

Almost all of the things many of us see as slowly destroying this country, and creating an unsustainable system, stem from that timeframe.

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Are you now convinced that these renegade Democrats want consolidation of power? If not, what does it take?

Cybergeezer on October 23, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Are not Doctors licensed by their own STATES? and thus covered by the 10th?

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 2:53 PM

I think you’re right. Bad analogy.

That said, do the states have nation wide standards they have to incorporate or can they just make up their own?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Then we disagree on that point.
Do you think its within the constitution to make sure your surgeon meets certain standards or should the learning institution that certifies him or her be able to set its own standards?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Licenses to practice medicine is one thing. Licenses to grow apples and sell them is another.

I’m saying food production (produce, meat, dairy, etc) should work like ISO approved companies. If you have government certification you a> get the approval and b> can provide food to the military and government businesses/schools, etc. If you don’t you’re free to sell to anyone who wants it WITHOUT the sticker.
This is all about money and control. You’ll note there’s no license to sell pot and it’s illegal to grow and sell and yet… there’s no shortage of it.

Skywise on October 23, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Consider someone goes into the wilderness, Unabomber-like, to live on his own. The feds could hunt him down and jail him for not paying his $1500 or whatever it is penalty for not buying health insurance. It’s absurd.

Paul-Cincy on October 23, 2009 at 3:21 PM

This train of thought also can be applied to banks. Deposit insurance should not be required at a bank. This should be a feature that you as the bank consumer can use to make a decision on whether to park your money at a bank.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 2:56 PM

I agree with that. Are Credit Unions mandated to be FDIC insured? I have no idea.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:21 PM

That said, do the states have nation wide standards they have to incorporate or can they just make up their own?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:17 PM

States don’t have to incorporate any “nationwide” standards for any state area of responsibility, but there are cases where all states voluntarily sign onto regional or national treaties standardizing them, as with the determination of death, for example. This is a purely state-level determination, but the states got together and signed a standardized treatment of that determination.

progressoverpeace on October 23, 2009 at 3:21 PM

That said, do the states have nation wide standards they have to incorporate or can they just make up their own?

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:17 PM

States set their own standards BUT tend to follow guidelines setup by the US Government because it’s efficient and standardizes regulations somewhat so that a doctor from one state can easily relocate to another. It’s like driver’s licenses. Each state had their own levels of requirements but all had basic standards.

Skywise on October 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM

It’s not serious when the elected leaders of this country are doing everything they can to tear down the Constitution.

Hening on October 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM

OK…. since this is a Constitutional thread…

I propose a Constitutional Amendment, repealing the one that made the Senate popularly elected, and replacing it with an amendment that makes ONE Senator be appointed by a States Govenor, and One Senator selected by the States Legislature… and those Senators being liable to RECALL IF the other entity concured (ie, the Governor could recall the Senator he appointed IF the State Legislature concured by a simple Majority vote, Legislature could recall with a Majority and the Governors Signature, or with a 2/3rds vote to overide the Govs lack of signature).

Thus making them direct State Representatives once more…

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 3:24 PM

I agree with that. Are Credit Unions mandated to be FDIC insured? I have no idea.

Itchee Dryback on October 23, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Seems like they have an agency that is the same, but different, the NCUA.

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Romeo13 on October 23, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Tack on a senator may serve no more than six consecutive years in the senate (or even in total).

WashJeff on October 23, 2009 at 3:27 PM

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