Sunday, February 7 , 2016, 10:20 pm | Fair 52º

Susan Estrich: Supreme Court’s Politics May Give Obamacare a Constitutional Boost

Two justices may think twice about striking down a law that, at worst, expands government's power to regulate health-care markets

By Susan Estrich |

As was clear in last week’s arguments on the constitutionality of the health-care reform law, today’s U.S. Supreme Court is as political as any institution in Washington. It was not always so.

I don’t mean that this court is more divided or more result-oriented than any in recent years. I just mean it’s more political, as in Republican and Democrat political — which, ironically, could actually help Obamacare survive constitutional scrutiny.

There was a long tradition in this country, and a pretty hallowed one, wherein once you appointed someone to the Supreme Court, with life tenure and all that marble, you just never knew.

Did President Dwight D. Eisenhower know, when he struck that fateful deal with California Gov. Earl Warren to name him to the next open seat, that it would be the chief’s seat and that the man who filled it would go on to be celebrated (or decried) as the liberal lion of the century?

Did anyone know that Hugo Black, a former Klansman, would become an absolutist when it came to the Bill of Rights, or that Eisenhower appointee William Brennan would be way to the left of a President John F. Kennedy appointee, Byron White, or that my old boss, Justice John Paul Stevens, whose appointment was opposed by the National Organization for Women, would three decades later be the leader of the liberal wing of the court?

None of these zigzags are “bad things.” Quite the contrary. While every first-year law student learns that law, particularly when it comes to constitutional law as defined by the Supreme Court, involves far more than calling balls and strikes (even if that’s what they all say these days during their confirmation hearings), the fact that the justices don’t operate in party blocs has always lent a certain legitimacy to the decisions of the court. It’s small “p” politics, not the old R’s v. D’s kind.

And that is what makes this court so different, in a troubling way. When you say 5-4 these days, everyone knows just what you mean.

Five R’s against four D’s. When the court splits down the middle, it almost always splits along party lines, with the five Republican appointees (Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) against the four Democratic appointees (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor). If anyone swings, it’s usually Kennedy, which is why most of the commentators were listening so carefully to his questions.

So the conservative blogs, enjoying Kennedy’s tough questioning of the government’s chief advocate, were selling a 5-4 decision striking down the heart of the health-care law as a likely result of the hearings.

Maybe in another year. Maybe in another cycle.

But consider: The opinion of the court is likely to come down at the end of June, just as the country starts tuning in for a hotly contested (read: ugly) presidential contest. A 5-4 decision striking down the law along partisan political lines would do more than anything since Bush v. Gore to make the court look like a partisan political institution. And make no mistake, the court is still getting over Bush v. Gore. Right or wrong (no, this column isn’t long enough), Bush v. Gore was very bad for the legitimacy of the court.

When they go into the chief’s conference room to cast their initial votes, and later as the opinions are circulated, two justices are likely to be thinking about those issues.

The first is Kennedy. Back in 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated the brilliant but brittle former Yale law school professor Robert Bork to serve on the court. Bork refused to play the balls and strikes game, staking out his ideological ground and sticking to it — and paying the price. In the years since, as both sides have played this game, it is now known as being “Borked.” Kennedy was nominated in his stead. Perhaps it is no coincidence that he is the most traditional justice on the court — meaning the one who doesn’t always vote with the side that “brung” him.

The second is Chief Justice Roberts. For him, this case is not simply about which side wins. He will be judged by history not only for his votes, but also for his stewardship of the sacred trust. And he knows it.

I support the constitutionality of Obamacare. But I also believe that keeping the court out of this campaign is more important than striking down a law that, at its worst, expands the power of government to regulate markets. You won’t hear any of the advocates make that argument. My guess is, it won’t even be voiced in the innermost chambers. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be at least two men thinking about it.

— Best-selling author Susan Estrich is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her.

» on 04.01.12 @ 11:23 PM

The justices shouldn’t consider the politics of this.  Either is it constitutional or its not.  As Kennedy pointed out, this law, if it stands, would forever alter the relationship of the individual to the government.  If they overturn it Congress can always revisit this issue and they will but will do so in a manner that doesn’t steal our liberties.

» on 04.02.12 @ 01:16 AM

For a Supreme Court that is so divided politically (of course it’s the Republicans’ fault), there sure are a lot of 9-0 decisions.

But my God, Ms. Estrich, you’re teaching law and you think that “at its worst” this Obamacare expands the power of government to regulate markets? Really?! Between you and our constitutional law professor-president, the U.S. Constitution has never been in so much danger.

» on 04.02.12 @ 01:31 AM

So this arrogant right wing majority , who chose to auction off our elections with their rediculous Citizen United ruling, is at it again. While these charlatan activists enjoy their own government provided health care benefits, they will cut off access to health care for millions of average Americans.
Impending retirements of Supreme Court justices make an Obama victory in November even more imperative.

» on 04.02.12 @ 02:25 AM


You hitting the sauce tonight?  What a bunch of nonsense. 

Arrogance has nothing to do with anything, either the law complies with the Constitution or it doesn’t.  I note the author never addresses that, nor do you.  Why is the Constitution so difficult for you lefties to understand?

Our federal government is a creation of the states and one of limited and specifically identified powers.  Obamacare exceeds those powers.  It’s really not that complicated.

My question is why is it the four left wing judges on the SC can’t seem to read or comprehend the Constitution?  Where is it exactly in the Constitution that the federal government has the power to force citizens into commerce in order to regulate them.  Maybe the Constitutional scholar Wally can help them out?

» on 04.02.12 @ 05:57 AM

I actually listened to the oral arguments and it was striking how the left-wing Justices never challenged the govt. At least you had Kennedy, Roberts and Scalia challenging the plaintiffs quite vigorously at times. Never did any of the liberal Justices ask even one hard question for the proponents of the law. Yes, the process seemed very politicized, but that was coming mainly from the lefties on the Court. Isn’t it interesting that no one doubts how any of these Obama and Clinton Justices are going to vote.

» on 04.02.12 @ 07:40 AM

” Arrogance has nothing to do with anything, either the law complies with the Constitution or it doesn’t.”  Ha,that’s a good one , Petry.  Show us where in the Constitution it is stated that money equals personhood. Nope , you are wrong. This activist court majority has decided an election , proven that money rules , and now is on the verge of voiding health care access to millions - all the while enjoying government provided health insurance for life themselves . Yes, their history of imperious rulings has proven this majority to be quite arrogant.

» on 04.02.12 @ 11:29 AM

Cardinal Witless and Father Lou think the individual mandate, once espoused by the Holy See (aka Heritage Foundation) and promoted by Archbishop Cluck-Cluck (aka Newt Gingrich), will steal their individual liberties and force them into commercial commerce.

Not true. If you are not covered, you can either find yourself some coverage, or you can pay a small fine (less than the cost of coverage), and be able to get you and your family taken care of in case of need.

Without this, many people will continue to tax the system without paying into it. Insurance companies will not be able to take those with “preexisting conditions,” and many of them will continue to go bankrupt under medical bills. Preventive care and checkups will continue to be “extras,” and catastrophic illnesses caught late will continue to reap an inordinate toll. I could go on.

You Holy Men are blinded by dogma, and fail to think. Stop your blathering, and meditate on this.

» on 04.02.12 @ 02:35 PM

Please.  You guys can’t make a coherent argument because you are arguing a losing position.  Same as the Solicitor General.  Your liberal heads are exploding because the latest attempt to control our lives is blowing up in your faces.  The hypocrisy is dripping:

Let’s try again.  If the federal government can compel a private citizen to buy a private product in order to regulate them, where does that end.  What is the limit to that authority?  Where is such an authority found in the Constitution?  Simple question, how about sticking to the topic and stop going off on these tangents.

» on 04.02.12 @ 03:52 PM

Here is an interesting article on what the Supreme Court faces.  Mostly what to do if the individual mandate is struck down.

This is a key observation that you libs need to think about:

“’s not just Obamacare that must go, but rather the whole liberal and progressive notion of “comprehensive” legislation for a nation of 300 million people. Obamacare is the epitome of that confidence in central planning by experts. Whether the Court strikes down Obamacare, or President Obama is defeated and Obamacare is repealed, or the Court strikes down part of Obamacare and a new president and Congress repeal the rest, last week’s historic hearings have made one thing clearer than ever: Attempts at “comprehensive” legislation compromise the very notion of limited government, in which the people’s representatives try to accomplish attainable goals in a free society. Comprehensive legislation is what happens when you have unlimited government. It is that effort, and the attitude underlying it, that need to be repudiated—by the Court and, more important, by the voters this November.”

» on 04.02.12 @ 03:57 PM

For 30 consecutive weeks support for repeal of Obamacare enjoys a double digit advantage:

» on 04.02.12 @ 04:45 PM

I wonder what the wing-nuts would actually favor. Things as they were? My premiums as an individual family policy holder were going up 25% a year, without any claims. No chronic illnesses, no nothing for 4 years.

Fully 60% of U.S. bankruptcy cases are based on unpaid and un-payable medical bills. Do you favor that?

Nobody opts out of the healthcare market, because nobody gives up the right to go to the Emergency Room and be treated, with or without insurance. Should hospitals be given the right to turn away patients from their Emergency Rooms?

The individual mandate is not the boogey man the wing nuts want us to believe it is. It’s a fine for failing to buy insurance, but that fine is much cheaper than the medical bills it can avoid. There are plenty of young people trying to figure out how they are going to pay off a single large medical debt. They would have been better off under the ACA and simply paying the fine.

» on 04.02.12 @ 05:30 PM

Rambler, as usual you don’t know what you are talking about:

“The cost of an average family premium shot up 9.5% in 2011 — the highest rate in seven years and three times the rate of overall inflation”

“Obama, as a candidate, promised he’d slash family premiums by $2,500 a year by the end of his first term. That was in 2008, when health care coverage cost the average employer and American family $12,680 in annual premiums. Now it’s $15,073, nearly 20% higher. That means Obama has broken his promise by a whopping $4,893.”


Regulatory explosion:

Will kill state budgets:

Tax increases:

Cost exploding:

There is lots more.  But regardless of the fact it isn’t working as promised, in fact is making things worse, it is unconstitutional, i.e. against the law. Good intentions don’t matter, results do and this law is 1) making things worse, 2) the public doesn’t want it and 3) is unconstitutional.  This law is a travesty on all fronts and needs to be ripped out roots and all.

» on 04.02.12 @ 06:07 PM


The federal government does not have the authority to fine people for failing to buy something.  That would require a general police power which the federal government does not possess.  This is why the mandate is unconstitutional, the feds do not have the power to do this.  Period.

Maybe you don’t care about that but its a fact.  You might like the mandate but what if its something you don’t want to buy?  If this stands there is no limit to what the feds can compel us to do.  Join a gym, buy healthy foods, buy electric cars, buy a gun, buy a home survival kit, buy solar panels, buy a composter, etc.  We don’t want to go down that path now do we?  Liberals won’t always be controlling the government.

» on 04.02.12 @ 06:13 PM

Even if Obamacare survives the court challenge it is doomed:

People don’t want it.

» on 04.02.12 @ 06:56 PM

Interesting perspective, well articulated.

Hope she’s right. We’ll see.

» on 04.02.12 @ 07:13 PM

Rambler and Wally,
Here is a little analysis on your progressive angst over Obamacare’s legal problems.  Covers all your sacred cows.

Maybe it will be therapeutic for you.

» on 04.02.12 @ 09:03 PM

Cardinal Witless, call it a fine, or call it a premium. It’s the fee you pay for not buying your own health insurance. Pay it, and you’re covered.

The only freedom being taken away is your freedom to get free healthcare at the expense of the rest of us. I’m not interested in supporting the “freedom” of certain slack-minded individuals to take a free ride.

Get yourself some health insurance, like a responsible adult, and quit your BS about liberty and freedom. You just want the freedom to be able to steal, I think.

Should the government do this? Considering the fact that too many Americans won’t do what’s right otherwise, YES.

» on 04.02.12 @ 11:04 PM

“I’m not interested in supporting the “freedom” of certain slack-minded individuals to take a free ride.”

Guess what, that is exactly what you’re going to get with Obamacare. Around 40 million people will get fully subsidized insurance courtesy of the govt and the few people who are still paying taxes. And considering these are Cadillac plans with all kinds of govt-mandated benefits, it is going to cost the govt plenty.

» on 04.02.12 @ 11:21 PM

You see, Lou, that’s the difference between you and a Mensch: a Mensch would worry that somebody might go without healthcare, you worry that somebody else might get it.

You focus on the exception. A Mensch focuses on the rule. A society takes care of the rule, and prospers. A hermit takes care of himself, and lives in squalor.

Stop your kvetching. Find your inner Mensch before you implode.

» on 04.02.12 @ 11:54 PM


As usual you devolve to name calling and insults, the mark of small mind that has been crushed, yet again, in the arena of ideas.  You don’t know what you are talking about, you have yet to make a coherent argument in support of this travesty and you could care less about the law.  Unless of course it meets your marxist goals.  You are a poor advocate for your radical views.

» on 04.03.12 @ 12:50 AM

“Find your inner Mensch”

Will this be covered under Obamacare as a mandated holistic outpatient benefit. While I am receiving services for this condition, maybe I should collect some free contraceptives as well.

» on 04.03.12 @ 02:59 AM

Witless you babble about being “crushed, yet again” in “the arena of ideas.” Do you really think you are so smart, or that you even have an original idea?  What is this “travesty” you whine about? Having to do the right thing (i.e. buy healthcare insurance)?

And, according to you, I “could care less about the law.” (“Unless of course it meets your [my] marxist goals.”)

Where do you come up with this crap? Do you realize how stupid you sound? You are a shill; and ignorant, foolish hand-puppet.

Get off your baloney-inflated high horse and tell us why every citizen should NOT be obliged to pay for the healthcare they demand?

And please, please link us to some more WSJ and breitbart blog posts to support your logic, you blithering nitwit.

» on 04.03.12 @ 06:57 AM

With the single payer initiative gaining momentum in California,I dont think the posible repeal of the mandate to be such a bad thing. Common sense tells us that single payer systems will have the best chance to resolve our health care access problems. The belated and inadequate counter proposals offered by the right are like putting a band aid on a severed artery.

» on 04.03.12 @ 12:30 PM

And yet Ramjet you and your son Willie still haven’t proffered an idea on how you pay for 40 million new insurance policies. You have not yet reconciled how an economy that now ships half a trillion dollars in wealth offshore every year will pay. An economy mind you, that is some $70 trillion in debt AND shipping that wealth offshore.

With you guys it’s what I want, not what I can afford or how will I pay for it. This is the mind numbing stupidity of coercive government run by intellectual narcissists who pander to people’s desires without a clue how to actually pay for anything. Except maybe to suck like leaches off those that do.

» on 04.03.12 @ 02:22 PM

Wow Rambler,
That was even more incoherent than your usual pap, and laced with even more vitriol.  When you have to resort to that kind of mindless ranting you clearly have lost the argument.  I’ll leave it to the other readers to judge who makes sense and who doesn’t.  Who’s arguing from reason and facts and who’s arguing from emotion.

If you can’t refute the information I provide, be it from the WSJ or wherever, maybe its because you are wrong.  Have you considered that?  Probably not, nothing seems to be able to penetrate the minds of radical leftists like you.

» on 04.03.12 @ 02:46 PM

Bishop ANchove, there are leaches sucking off this economy, and I suspect (very strongly) that you are one of them. They are far fewer than the number of honest hard workers who cannot afford health insurance.

We are shipping a trillion off shore every year, and are 70 trillion in debt? That is a lie, and you are a liar.

The “40 million” uninsured is actually 30 million. Another lie, or just an exaggeration? No one can be sure with you.

Many of the uninsured are hardworking, productive young people who are trying to raise families. Many of them work much harder than you ever did, and I know quite a few of them just in my small social circle.

The ACA may cost more at first, but far less than our neocon adventure into Iraq, say. It is projected to cost less in the long term, and provide us with a healthier, more productive population. That’s an important asset to industry. Something you’d know, if you ever managed an operation and work schedules.

Stop thinking of it as an expense, and start thinking of it as an investment.

» on 04.03.12 @ 05:21 PM

Why is it you lefties insist that everything be a government solution?  We all have to be forced by the government to do what you progressives think we should do.  Very authoritarian mindset you have.  Where is it you get this faith in government to control our lives like they want?  What evidence do you have they possess such competence?

The ACA is already projected to cost about twice what we were told only two years ago, and I guarantee that is light.  Way more than the Iraq War by the way. Perhaps you aren’t aware of the history of our government’s involvement in health care to date.  Let’s review shall we?

Medicare costs almost 10 times what it was projected to cost when it was passed.  The projection for 1990 was $12B allowing for inflation but its actual cost was $110B.  Medicare, according to the chief actuary, is projected to be unable to meet its obligations around 2020, only a few short years away.  The unfunded liability for Medicare is at least $37T over the 75 year planning horizon.

Medicaid, where we will all eventually end up under Obamacare, is also a train wreck with at least $20T in unfunded liabilities.  It is also crushing state budgets.  Obamacare itself now adds at least another $17T of unfunded liabilities to Medicaid. 

This is madness, where do you think this money will come from?  There is no possible way to meet these obligations, none.  So before Obamacare we had unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in excess of $67T and you want to add at least another $17T to that total?  What are you smoking? 

Many millions of people are going to lose their employer provided health care as a result of Obamacare.  It is cheaper to pay the fine than buy the minimum mandated policies required under this law.  McKinsey group study found, after interviewing many companies, that at least half of them will pursue other options than traditional employer provided health insurance after 2014.  That’s about 100M people.  That will take that $17T current unfunded Obamacare liability and blow it out.

Whether you think this is a good idea or not it is clearly not affordable.

» on 04.03.12 @ 09:41 PM

“Whether you think this is a good idea or not it is clearly not affordable.”

Guess what - in addition to bankrupting the country, it is definitely not a good idea. Let’s see, if we provide 30 million people with free or heavily subsidized insurance and do not increase the supply of doctors, what do you think is going to happen. If you have ever taken an Econ 101 class, the answer is obvious. More demand and similar supply equals higher prices or severe rationing. This law is a disaster. You really have to stick your head deep in the sand to come to any other conclusion.

» on 04.04.12 @ 12:11 AM

This article is actually one of the better layman’s discussions on the Constitution and Obamacare I’ve found.  Lay’s out the situation very well:

» on 04.04.12 @ 12:07 PM

Ramjet, instead of calling me a liar, get off the bottle and look it up your self. I said half a trillion not a trillion, the booze is fogging your vision, that is equal to about a $41 billion trade deficit a month (currently we are near $50b). And yes, when you add the federal debt, the combined state debt (including unfunded pensions) and the private debt it’s close to $70 trillion. But hey keep your head buried up your bung hole and ignore the 8000 pound gorilla in the room, just so you can rationalize another friggen entitlement!

Since we have never met and you know nothing about me or what I do for a living, I will ignore your booze fired slander. Besides its not where you work it’s what you do that matters to the economy. 168 million hard working burger flippers will not pay off a $70 trillion debt.

You along with most of the population keep confusing personal success, personal hard work and personal wealth with national success and wealth. That is why we have so damned many people working in jobs that make them personally wealthy but are a net drain on the economy as a whole, like lawyers, brokers, bankers, entertainers, etc…

The ACA will always cost more Rambo, always, as it is a service with a net negative return economically. My point all along has been that we cannot afford any more wealth sucking, economic sapping entitlements, services or luxuries until we as an economy start making more than we consume. And yes that includes wars. If you cannot figure that out, then its time you dry out and get a clearer picture on what s happening.

» on 04.04.12 @ 05:42 PM

I remember having to pay for my car insurance when I was 17 (back in the day) and just liability coverage cost me $1200/year. That was a long time ago, before auto insurance was mandatory.

Years after the institution of an individual mandate on auto insurance was put in place by law, when my son turned 17 his liability coverage cost $400/yr. Similar driving records.

If you take into account the real dollar, you can see that the individual mandate has helped REDUCE the premium cost by more than 60%.

Now, get your head out of YOUR bunghole, you filthy old pervert. Maybe then you can calculate debt and be coherent.

» on 04.05.12 @ 11:40 PM

Given Professor Know It Alls fixation on the trade deficit , one would expect him to be a big supporter of increased mileage standards . Seeing that oil imports account for over 50% of our monthly trade deficits it seems a reduction in usage would be obviously beneficial . But noooo… the Professor prefers to be squired around town by Petriwire in his Hummer. It’s their god given right to race to the bottom of the barrel.

» on 04.06.12 @ 03:01 PM

Rambler comparing auto insurance to medical insurance is like comparing apples to oranges. Further the example you give on auto insurance is due to the subsidizing of high risk drivers by expanding the risk pool, not exactly fair don’t you think? Why should anyone have to subsidize higher risk drivers? This is the fundamental problem with all forms of socialist economic policies; it rewards bad behavior and punishes good. If your son were to have to pay a higher premium and only got a lower one when he demonstrated a lower risk would that not serve as an incentive to drive better? Would that not be a much fairer approach than simply forcing everyone to buy insurance and pay the same rates regardless of risk and behavior?

As for medical insurance the individual mandate is forced on everyone regardless of their intentions. I don’t have to drive a car; ergo I don’t have to buy auto insurance. But whether I chose to ever visit a doctor or not I am forced to buy health insurance. That is why the law is being reviewed. The compulsion is not the same as with drivers who must use public facilities to drive and put others at risk in the action. It is done simply to expand the pool of money collected in order to fund the policy, whether you want it or need it.

Further, a government that cannot account for its own spending, cannot count votes accurately and has the worst return on every dollar it takes in, is that the entity you want managing health insurance? Surely there are problems in the private insurance business and all have been identified and solutions proffered, wouldn’t it be wiser and far cheaper to just regulate that industry better than get the worst player in the field involved?

Willie, you are of topic here but I will indulge you since you have such a pernicious and unabated hatred for anything I write. First I don’t drive a Hummer and I promote the use of bicycles when ever convenient as an alternative to driving. Second, our domestic use of oil is already dropping as a result of our bad economy and higher fuel costs due to our devalued currency’s ability to buy what we do use. Third, mileage mandates don’t work. What does is consumer demand. All your mileage requirements do is punish the poor, just like your high fuel costs. This is the never discussed paradox with top down command economics, the people on the bottom always get screwed the worst and those at the top, your Hummer drivers, well they always buy there way out of it anyway.

» on 04.06.12 @ 04:15 PM

Expanding the risk pool does not subsidize or reward high risk drivers, as you claim. It forces them to buy insurance, which, if they have a poor driving record, will cost them more. It shrinks the number of uninsured high-risk drivers by giving law enforcement a tool to use to get them off the road - through impounding vehicles, suspending licenses, etc. This reduces the risk, for any of us, of being on the road with reckless, unskilled, and/or uninsured drivers.

As for the unfairness of expanding the risk pool, all I can say is that insurance is based actuarial statistics that can be applied accurately only when the risk pool is large. When that happens, individual rates go down. And I gave you a good example of that.

With regard to choice, you have little choice but to own an automobile. To live without one would severely limit your freedom to live in certain places, take certain jobs, and be able to raise children. So, the law effectively forces you to buy auto insurance.

If I understand you correctly, you want the option to have no health insurance. Would you be willing to wear a bracelet that alerted EMTs and other medical personnel to this fact? Would you sign a waiver absolving them of liability if they did not treat you?

Of course, you could carry some kind of HSA debit card, or an instrument that allowed them to bill against your home equity line of credit. Would you go for that? I’m all for it.

» on 04.06.12 @ 05:08 PM

I stand corrected. What I meant to say was expanding the risk pool, thus having a larger supply of money allows for more distributed risk assessment, which is what happened much to the chagrin of low risk drivers and the industry.

You state that one must own an automobile to survive in our car culture society. That is true if you commute, however your detachment from the poor shows through. I know many carless folks who use public transportation to get around, my son is one of them. I have for many times in my life, even while raising a family gone carless. I remember well picking up my youngest from nursery school on the back of my bike in his bike seat. Yes living without a car does limit you which is why I harp on the socialist/environmentalist left and their preponderance to drive people out of their cars by making it cost prohibitive, glad to have you on my side.

As for the no medical insurance option, many people already opt out. Many people die needlessly even though we have the best medical care in the world. Many people Rambler choose freedom to live and die rather than be consumed by the slavery of “safety and security”, neither of which is ever guarantied. Insurance has become a legal protection racket. It separates us from the reality of life and consequences of making poor choices and now we want the most powerful government on earth to be in that business. All I am saying is be careful, very careful, what you ask for, because you just might get it.

» on 04.06.12 @ 05:32 PM

I think people are forgetting the Supreme Court is deciding whether the FEDERAL GOVT can apply the Commerce Clause in this manner. Regardless of the outcome, the states will still be able to impose universal healthcare if they so choose. So these examples of auto insurance and the like don’t apply here. I personally wish it was unconstitutional for states to mandate the purchase of a product from a private company, but that is not what is being decided here.

» on 04.06.12 @ 09:40 PM

Here is a funny cartoon about our misguided Supreme majority and their wierd rulings.

» on 04.07.12 @ 06:21 PM

The four activist justices have made it clear, by their questions, comments, and previous speeches and appearances at right-wing events, that they are not all that concerned about the Commerce Clause.

Your right to live and die in freedom is fine with me, as long as you can find a way to commit to it, AN50. I gave you a few ideas that you ignored. The problem is that people like you talk big, but when the day comes ‘round you all demand to be treated. Unless you carry a financial instrument or a waiver, I’m not interested - you’ll just get the treatment and the rest of us will pay the shortfall.

The government mandates vaccines for the same reason it has to mandate healthcare - because the dumb asses who refuse are a health risk and financial liability to all of us. That puts them square into the category of things that affect commerce, and that’s why Congress can regulate them.

The comparison to the auto insurance mandate relates very well, Father Lu-Lu. People have been arguing that the individual mandate will raise the cost of healthcare, but the analog in auto insurance indicates otherwise. In the strongest of terms.

» on 04.07.12 @ 10:34 PM

I disagree with your interpretation of the Commerce Clause. The FEDERAL GOVT has never used the Commerce Clause to force someone to buy a product from a private company. The Supreme Court has never ruled on a case such as the one before them today. If the Supreme Court rules that this use of the Commerce Clause is constitutional, it will mean there are virtually no constraints on Congress to regulate commerce among private parties in the US.

Today, the state can take your property through eminent domain and transfer to a private company for commercial development. They don’t even have to prove the taking of the property will benefit the public. The main purpose of the Constitution is to limit the powers of the Federal Govt; otherwise, there would be no limitation on the power of the govt to violate our property rights and our freedom to engage in commerce without the heavy hand of the govt. 

Your comparison of health care to auto insurance is illogical. Yes, the mandate for health insurance will raise the cost of insurance and will dramatically contribute to the budget deficit because the premiums for millions of people will have to be heavily subsidized by the taxpayer and other policyholders. If you can’t afford auto insurance, the govt doesn’t let you have it for free. There are no govt programs to subsidize the cost of auto insurance for people who can’t afford it. This is a huge difference between the two kinds of insurance.

» on 04.08.12 @ 06:46 PM

All of you debating issues ancillary to the main one, i.e. the Constitutionality of requiring everyone to purchase something (insurance, Brocolli, stocks and bonds, whatever) might want to read today’s column by Maria Hinojosa on the oped page of today’s News Press. 

And for those who refuse to read the News Press because they hate McCaw, are in love with Jerry Roberts, or whatever, I’m curious - where do you get your news and current events information?

» on 04.09.12 @ 01:10 AM

The four activist judges are the ones who refuse to consider if Obamacare is constitutional or not, they don’t care.  There is no way you can look at this law and what it does and square that with our constitution or subsequent court rulings.  The four left wing justices were begging the government for a limiting principle in their interpretation of the commerce clause and could get nothing.  Because there is no limiting principle, ergo it is unconstitutional.

Here is a pretty good laymen’s description of why this should not stand.  If these four left wing judges were serious about upholding the constitution it would be a 9-0 vote to throw this abomination to liberty out.

» on 04.09.12 @ 06:45 PM

Obamacare facts:

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