Video: Guess who predicted the ObamaCare ruling?

posted at 12:55 pm on February 1, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I’ll give you a couple of hints. First, he’s a famous Constitutional scholar.  Second, he’s rumored to be the smartest elected official evah.  Third, he, er, obviously doesn’t take his own advice.  Gretchen Carlson from Fox & Friends introduces this clip that shows Barack Obama almost eerily framing the very argument that Judge Robert Vinson used to overturn Obama’s signature legislation, from an appearance in February 2008 on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show (via Greg Hengler, h/t Vayapaso):

Obama was specifically rebutting the individual mandate in Hillary Clinton’s health-care proposal:

She’s have the government force every individual to buy insurance, and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance.  It’s that they can’t afford it …

Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody buy a house, and that, you know, and that would solve, you know, the problem of homelessness.  It doesn’t.

CNS has a longer clip, in case the one above is a little dodgy. It also contains his entire answer, although that shows the edit on the first to be fair:

Nor was that the only time Obama made that argument.  Earlier that same month, he told CNN the same thing:

OBAMA: Let’s break down what she really means by a mandate. What’s meant by a mandate is that the government is forcing people to buy health insurance and so she’s suggesting a parent is not going to buy health insurance for themselves if they can afford it. Now, my belief is that most parents will choose to get health care for themselves and we make it affordable.

Here’s the concern. If you haven’t made it affordable, how are you going to enforce a mandate. I mean, if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house. The reason they don’t buy a house is they don’t have the money. And so, our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available. I am confident if people have a chance to buy high-quality health care that is affordable, they will do so. That’s what our plan does and nobody disputes that.

Judge Vinson actually references the latter example in a footnote in his opinion overturning ObamaCare, warning against an overbroad reading of the Commerce Clause:

The problem with this legal rationale, however, is it would essentially have unlimited application. There is quite literally no decision that, in the natural course of events, does not have an economic impact of some sort. The decisions of whether and when (or not) to buy a house, a car, a television, a dinner, or even a morning cup of coffee also have a financial impact that — when aggregated with similar economic decisions — affect the price of that particular product or service and have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. To be sure, it is not difficult to identify an economic decision that has a cumulatively substantial effect on interstate commerce; rather, the difficult task is to find a decision that does not.23

So it turns out that Obama actually is a Constitutional scholar … or, rather, he was.

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Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody buy a house, and that, you know, and that would solve, you know, the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t.

Isn’t that a policy argument, not a legal argument? So why on earth was the judge using a policy in support of the proposition that the mandate is unconstitutional?

That aside, it wasn’t a wise move by the judge. It makes him look petty, and political.

crr6 on February 1, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Point, but as part of their defense, the government was claiming that the mandate was an intrinsic and necessary part of the bill. This claim is a direct contradiction of what Obama was claiming in the video from 2008. The Obama administration also claimed that the mandate wasn’t a tax to pass the legislation, then claimed it was a tax during the defense. They also shifted their emphasis from the Commerce Clause when it became untenable and retreated to the Necessary and Proper Clause.

I think that under the circumstances, Judge Vinson can be forgiven for pointing out a few hypocrisies and gaps in logic.

Aardvark on February 1, 2011 at 9:23 PM

I certainly hope Justice Anthony Kennedy watches those clips!

They made my day.

Stepan on February 1, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Here is a link to the video that Judge Vinson cited in his opinion. Pretty good summation of the issues:

txmomof6 on February 1, 2011 at 10:10 PM

I think Crr6 is just a young law student who is still very naive about real life. At least she is trying to apply what she is learning.

karenhasfreedom on February 1, 2011 at 2:49 PM
I think Crr6 is really Anninca in disguise….This means she is a middle aged woman….

theaddora on February 1, 2011 at 10:45 PM

which Obamacare addresses by allowing people who can’t afford it not to purchase healthcare.

Tom_Shipley on February 1, 2011 at 7:14 PM

“Allowing people” – you liberals don’t really notice when your authoritarian mask slips, do ya?

fossten on February 2, 2011 at 7:54 AM

I addressed this in my original post. You’re using an impressive array of logical fallacies.

crr6 on February 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Like argument from authority?

By the way, I remember a few weeks back, you mentioned that both of your sons worked for one of the “5 most prestigious law firms” in America, and then when I asked you which one you skittered away. I’m guessing you were referring to the Vault rankings? If so, which firm(s) did your sons work at, Davis Polk, CSM, Wachtell Lipton, S&C or Skadden? Or were you just making that up?

crr6 on February 1, 2011 at 3:52 PM

fossten on February 2, 2011 at 7:57 AM

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Our current President is a proud graduate of “Chuck U Smuck”
collage of Poli Scy. “Chuck U Smuck” proudly advertises on Match Book covers, wherever fine smokes are sold, given away, or thrown at you by “Chuck U Smuck” graduates (or any smoker) of for asking you not to smoke.

MSGTAS on February 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM

If he were a member of the black-eyed peas, I would understand.

tarpon on February 7, 2011 at 7:45 AM