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Is Socialist Healthcare Constitutional?

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Posted on December 16 2009 8:30 am

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When pressed, ObamaCare supporters on Capitol Hill can’t explain what part of the Constitution of the United States of America authorizes the federal government to force Americans to buy health insurance, Glenn Beck pointed out on his TV show.  (video here)

A reporter asked Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution, a simple question and she couldn’t –or wouldn’t– answer.

The question was: “What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate individuals have to purchase health insurance?”

The senator replied, “Well, we’re very lucky as members of the Senate to have constitutional lawyers on our staff, so I’ll let them answer that.”

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) answered the question. When asked, ”Where in the Constitution is the federal government charged with maintaining people’s health?” he replied

Well, it’s not in the Constitution. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has got anything to do with most of the stuff that we do.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ridiculed the questioner. When asked, “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?” she replied, “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

They can’t cite the part of the Constitution that authorizes government healthcare because it doesn’t exist.

But before ObamaCare opponents pop the champagne corks, they should bear in mind that years after the Income Tax Amendment and the New Deal it is difficult to imagine the Supreme Court ruling any redistribution of wealth for any purpose unconstitutional, a point I made somewhat inartfully on Nov. 22.

This is unfortunate but that’s the way it is. N0wadays the Supreme Court hardly ever limits the power of Congress. It did so in recent years but only a few times, as in case of the Gun-Free School Zones Act and the Violence Against Women Act. The high court long lost its will to challenge the executive and legislative branches during the New Deal.

So, if Congress wants to use income taxes to fund a socialized healthcare system, it is difficult to imagine the Supreme Court determining the Constitution prevents it from doing so.

Democratic lawmakers won’t simply do the straightforward thing and raise income taxes to cover such a system because they rightly fear a backlash from the electorate. Media-savvy leftists insist on bringing socialism to America through subterfuge because they know if they were to be honest about their intentions, the American people would surely revolt.

But a requirement to purchase health insurance is an altogether different matter. That is plainly unconstitutional.

Legal thinkers David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey argue that “The Constitution assigns only limited, enumerated powers to Congress and none, including the power to regulate interstate commerce or to impose taxes, would support a federal mandate requiring anyone who is otherwise without health insurance to buy it.”

Never before in the history of the republic has the federal government imposed such a sweeping mandate on Americans.

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