Laugh if you must but it’s no goofier than the idea that “due process” implies a substantive right to kill a baby in the womb but not five minutes later, after it’s emerged.
Besides, Jackson Lee’s been consistent on this. Back in January 2011, right after the new Republican House majority was sworn in, she started arguing that repealing O-Care would amount to a deprivation of due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. There’s a certain ruthless logic in her reaching for the Constitution right after the Democrats’ hold on power began to slip in hopes of putting her favored programs beyond the new majority’s grasp. And now she’s doing it again, conveniently just as the media’s filling up with stories about ObamaCare’s implementation maybe turning into a “train wreck.”
Speaking on the House floor, Jackson Lee said the right to these services can be read into the Declaration of Independence, which preserves the rights of Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“One might argue that education and healthcare fall into those provisions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said. Jackson Lee also praised President Obama for fighting for these rights.
“I think that what should be continuously emphasized is the President’s leadership on one single point: that although healthcare was not listed per se in the Constitution, it should be a constitutional right,” she said.
How many Democrats at this point have been forced to resort to the Declaration of Independence for quasi-constitutional arguments to support O-Care because the actual Constitution doesn’t do much for them? Pelosi’s the most famous example, but John Lewis once went there too. It makes me nostalgic for the elegant simplicity of the “Commerce Clause lets us do anything we want, wingnuts” arguments before the Supreme Court ruling on the mandate last year. Friendly advice to Pelosi et al.: You can justify literally any policy, left or right, on grounds that it’s designed to enable the citizen’s “pursuit of happiness.” We should repeal Social Security and Medicare right now because eliminating payroll taxes and easing the debt burden on the public will make it easier for them to pursue their happiness. Good lord, even the “general welfare” provision in the Constitution’s preamble, as flimsy as it is as a basis for constitutional law, would at least put you in the correct document. If you’re going to try to strip Congress’s power to govern, at least make a rhetorical effort.
I can’t find video of Jackson Lee’s speech last night so here’s the video from 2011. The idea that “rights,” once granted by statute, can’t be removed constitutionally even by another duly-passed statute is true, at least, to the spirit of the Democrats’ one-way ratchet for the welfare state.