Thursday, December 2, 2010

Checks And Balances - Obamacare

The judiciary is supposed to act as a check on legislative and executive power, not as a rubber stamp for whatever a bunch of statists want to force upon the citizenry. A Federal judge in Virginia has upheld the individual mandate forcing us to purchase health insurance under Obamacare.

What was judge Moon's reasoning? Oh yes, one of my personal favorites, the Commerce Clause. All thanks to Wickard

“I hold that there is a rational basis for Congress to conclude that individuals’ decisions about how and when to pay for health care are activities that in the aggregate substantially affect the interstate health care market."

So the court is using the a rational-basis test in this case, the lowest level of judicial scrutiny. That tells you immediately that the law is almost certain to be upheld. This should be obvious, but you could replace the words "health care" with a whole host of commodities without changing the nature of this holding.

"Far from ‘inactivity,’ by choosing to forgo insurance, Plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now, through the purchase of insurance."

Why, we can't have people making individual choices about their own health and their own pocketbooks. That level of personal freedom is dangerous!

So the Court's reasoning basically boils down to this. Choosing not to engage in interstate commerce is an action (more literally an "inaction") that substantially impacts interstate commerce, therefore the government can compel you to engage in interstate commerce.

Think about that for a second. If I go to the store and decide to buy turkey sausage instead of bacon, I'm making a decision in which I purchase one product and forgo the purchase of another. If lots of other people make that same decision it would negatively impact the interstate market for turkey sausage. The Court is saying the government could use the aggregate impact of the choice not to purchase turkey sausage as reason to force us to purchase turkey sausage.

Hell, if I choose to stay at home and blog instead of going to the store to buy food I'm still making an economic decision impacting interstate commerce according to Judge Moon. Per Moon's reasoning my decision not to shop can be regulated under the Commerce Clause.

Even more hilarious is the fact that Judge Moon upheld Obamacare under the Commerce Clause even though most states prohibit individuals from purchasing insurance across states lines and thus actually engaging in interstate commerce in the healthcare market. That's right folks. I'm legally prohibited from purchasing insurance across state lines, so there isn't even any interstate commerce taking place. (not that such a fact stopped the Court from ruling against the plaintiff's in Raich or Wickard.)

Judge Moon engages in some masterful legal reasoning with this statement as well,

"Nearly everyone will require health care services at some point in their lifetimes, and it is not always possible to predict when one will be afflicted by illness or injury and require care.…"

Everyone requires food to live, and the aggregate purchase of food certainly impacts interstate commerce under a rational basis test. Is it then Constitutional for Congress to mandate the purchase of certain foods? Nearly everyone requires transportation in their lifetime, so can Congress require us to purchase cars?

This kind of legal "reasoning" gives the government carte blanche to do whatever it wants. (of course the same could be said of the holdings in Wickard or Raich. If they can force us to buy insurance......well it's a long way down that rabbit hole.

Somehow I think many Liberals who support Obamacare would cry foul if this same reasoning were used to force people to buy guns.

H/T HotAir

A good synopsis here


Bob S. said...

I used to use the analogy of sleep deprivation for governmental over reach.

I stopped using it a couple of years back because I didn't want to give them ideas.

Seriously, the same case can be made to require and force people to get a certain number of hours of sleep a night.

And how could the government enforce it? By monitoring your bedroom of course -- and given the way things are going, it would likely be seen as legal.

The reasoning you highlighted seems designed to push more and more people to the breaking point.

Oh my!
I just had a horrible thought about the fairness doctrine and how this relates.

Could the case be made that not listening to left leaning radio media like Air America impacts inter-state commerce and some judge will require us to start listening to it or it's replacement?

Jeff the Baptist said...

I hold that there is a rational basis for Congress to conclude that individuals’ decisions about how and when to pay for health care are activities that in the aggregate substantially affect the interstate health care market.

And this sentence lets you know that the fix is in. At what point did he find that there is an interstate health care market in the first place? The health care industry is deliberately structured on a state-by-state basis so that there is virtually no interstate health care market in the first place.

Linoge said...

Compelling American citizens to spend money against their will, on products they do not want, is slavery.

I worked for that money. My time, effort, and energy went into making that money. And now the government is going to force me to give it to some private corporation.

Hell with that.