Sheila Jackson Lee: Repealing ObamaCare is unconstitutional
posted at 8:25 pm on January 18, 2011 by Allahpundit
Via Philip Klein, I can’t decide whether she’s serious or whether this is part of the Democrats’ new kitchen-sink approach to “messaging” about ObamaCare. She might be calculating that even an argument as inane as this one is worth making in order to counter the GOP’s claims that O-Care is unconstitutional. If you’re battling over public opinion, why not frame the other side’s actions as being as illegitimate as your own? So on the one hand, maybe she doesn’t really buy this and is simply engaged in a shrewd bit of PR. On the other hand — dude.
“The Fifth Amendment speaks specifically to denying someone their life and liberty without due process,” she said in a speech on the House floor moments ago. “That is what H.R. 2 does and I rise in opposition to it. And I rise in opposition because it is important that we preserve lives and we recognize that 40 million-plus are uninsured.
She continued, “Can you tell me what’s more unconstitutional than taking away from the people of America their Fifth Amendment rights, their Fourteenth Amendment rights, and the right to equal protection under the law?”
Jackson Lee mentioned the names of several people who she said would be helped by the national health care law, including a schizophrenic, a dialysis patient, and somebody whose mother cannot otherwise get dental care. “I know they would question why we are taking away their rights,” she said.
Thus do nine-month-old legislatively-granted entitlements, some of which haven’t even taken effect yet, become “rights.” If you take this idea seriously, then meaningful reform of Social Security and Medicare (which Lee presumably would describe as property for Due Process purposes) would require constitutional amendments, which in turn would utterly paralyze a process that’s already close to total paralysis. Or have I misunderstood? If she’s suggesting that some lesser process is due than a full Article V amendment, then, er, shouldn’t a repeal bill duly enacted by Congress suffice? Or is the argument here that people with preexisting conditions, say, have always had a right to coverage under the Constitution and only lately have we “progressed” to the point where we’re willing to recognize that right? In that case, why’d they have to pass a bill last year? Patients should have simply sued and let the courts “find” a right to coverage in the “penumbras” of the Commerce Clause or whatever.
Lee’s floor speech comes at 1:34:35 of the clip; click the image to watch. Exit question: Is this really the silliest meme in the left’s ObamaCare arsenal? Even liberals as normally sane as KP are still relying on the idea that O-Care is somehow going to reduce the deficit, even though the CBO numbers being used to justify that claim have been famously gamed by Democrats since the beginning. Between lame but earnest legal arguments and deliberately misleading stats, I’ll take the former.