Finally, a debate on Obamacare
FIRE. Aim. Ready. Two years after passage of the Obamacare law that requires everyone to buy health insurance, Americans finally have their debate on the merits and constitutionality of the law.
In the Supreme Court.
I do not know about everyone else, but I try to avoid going to court as much as possible.
Had Congress and the president done their jobs right, 26 states would not have challenged Obamacare and the Supreme Court justices would have spent last week drafting players for their fantasy baseball league or whatever it is they do when the Constitution is not under fire.
But in 2010, Democrats allowed little discussion or compromise. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass the law to find out what was in it.
President Obama threw away his presidency by pursuing Obamacare when he should have tended to the economy.
Poll after poll shows most Americans don't think the law is constitutional and want it to be repealed. It's in the hands of the Supreme Court for now.
Justices asked tough questions Tuesday of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who defended the law, citing congressional power to regulate interstate commerce.
"Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?" Justice Anthony Kennedy asked.
"So can the government require you to buy a cellphone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked
"So on that ground, you're answering affirmatively to my colleagues that have asked you the question, can the government force you into commerce. . . And there is no limit to that power," asked Justice Sotomayor, an Obama appointee.
The Obama administration argues that it must require everyone to buy health insurance because everyone eventually uses health care and it has to make sure they do not pass on the costs to everyone else.
This drew some interesting hypothetical situations.
Justice Antonin Scalia asked about requiring pre-paid burials because everyone dies and people should not shift the burden of paying for their burials on the rest of us.
He also asked if, under the interstate commerce clause, Congress can require people to buy broccoli.
Mainly he asked about the specifics of health insurance, including why healthy young people should buy something they likely won't use.
"Why do you define the market that broadly? Health care. It may well be that everybody needs health care sooner or later, but not everybody needs a heart transplant, not everybody needs a liver transplant," Justice Scalia said.
Broccoli, burials and cellphones seem silly. But four years ago, requiring everyone in the nation to buy health insurance seemed silly.
The individual mandate takes away individuality. Americans no longer will be citizens under this law, but rather subjects to be herded around by government.
Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
"Here the government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases and that changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way," Justice Kennedy said.
I have a feeling Kennedy will vote to stop that.
The Founding Fathers limited the central government for good reason.
They knew that the central government, if left unchecked, would expand its powers infinitely, and freedom would be lost.
That is why the Founding Fathers separated powers and installed checks and balances like the Supreme Court.
Judging by their questions, the justices are ready, aiming, and maybe they will fire.
We shall see.