Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaking! Supreme Court decides (formally) to review constitutionality of Obamacare law!

   The Supreme Court today decided to review the controversial crown jewel of the Obama Administration's domestic agenda, the controversial "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010," (aka Obamacare).  In deciding to review the various decisions (and conflicts) that have been been handed down in various Courts of Appeal that have been perculating up the federal appellate system, (as we have been reporting here for quite some time), the high court also stated it intends to review the "severability" issue, (whether other portions of the law can survive if the "individual mandate" forcing individuals to buy insurance is struck down as an unconstitutional expansion of the so-called "commerce clause").  In making its decision to accept review of the divisive law, the High Court set oral arguments for March, (with a decision expected by June).  That gives the justices only a few short months to chew on, and craft, what will undoubtedly be a complex and potentially groundbreaking decision that some court observers are labeling the most important decision of the High Court in a century, and possibly in our lifetimes in its ability to change the fundamental structure of federalism and accordingly our very Republican form of governance.

   Indeed, a decision upholding the sprawling law could fundamentally alter the relationship between the states and federal government and result in absolutely no conceivable limit to the feds meddling in state affairs, (as several courts reviewing the law have already noted, see previous analysis of the ACLP HERE).   The ramifications are endless, (and this aside from the ruling likely coming smack dab in the middle of the President's campaign for re-election).

   For example, don't like broccoli?  Too bad, because using the virtually unlimited rationale used to uphold Obamacare by the appeals courts which have ruled in favor of it so far, the federal government could claim that not purchasing the healthy leafy vegetable could, in aggregate, effect the "interstate commerce" of the national "broccoli market," thus making its purchase (and consumption) by U.S. consumers vital to the economic health of the produce market of the nation and thus subject to federal regulations to force its consumption (or at least purchase) by American consumers under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.  Sound far fetched?  Why should it, when public dietary and health regulations in places like New York City are already regulating the extent to which restaurants can use things like salt and "transfats" in their menu, (in your best interest of course).   Indeed, extensive studies have shown the effect of obesity on the health of the nation's citizens (and obesity-related disease), costing the nation's health system billions of dollars accordingly.  And in true Obama-care justifying fashion, if this can be shown to effect the interstate health care market "in the aggregate," (which undoubtedly studies will be produced showing it does), why does it seem far fetched that the federal government could continue its power grab over private conduct under the guise of the effect on the "national health market" in the same way as is used to justify the Obamacare law itself?  Then one must ask, what next?

    Like your safe and comfortable SUV?  Well, your gas-guzzling Escalades and church vans could harm the national "pollution market" in a "cap and trade" pollution regime the Administration has already voiced its support of-- and would have passed were it not for a razor thin margin in the U.S. Senate and pressure from moderate democrats facing tough re-election prospects at home and rising anti-obama fervor in the more conservative South and Midwest which has been clobbered with job losses and home foreclosures-- thus effecting "interstate air quality" and potentially justifying legislation banning the purchase of such vehicles.  Again, sound far fetched?  Not really, at least philosophically.  I mean, if the federal government can force people to take action vis a vis buying something so personal as health insurance, (and regulate the entire health industry in the process), the list of seemingly "acceptable" products and activities (or "non-activities") they can regulate under the commerce clause is truly endless, (never mind that the same is in stark contradiction to the axiom of "limited and enumerated powers" that our federal constitution was based upon at our Republic's founding).  In short, though it may sound corny when stated out of context or mocked by the progressive political left that makes up the heart of our media and academic centers of power, our very liberty and form of government could be at stake.

  We will have more to write re: this in coming days, (and see our coverage of breaking news flashes on Twitter).  In the meantime it seems all but certain that we (and soon the nation's highest court), will be discussing (and grappling with) this law for quite some time to come.  jp

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