Your liberty in their hands

In Obamacare case, Supreme Court to rule on limits of government's power

Liberty is neither a conservative nor a liberal value. It's a human right.


We hope the U.S. Supreme Court - particularly the more liberal members of the court - keep that in mind when they rule on the constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, known colloquially as Obamacare.

And we pray the high court gets to it before the presidential election in November 2012, as the American people have a right to know beforehand whether this president's signature piece of legislation will survive. Not to mention the fact that this onerous piece of ill-considered legislation starts squeezing us for real after 2012.

The most egregious part of the law, of course, is the provision requiring all Americans to buy health insurance that suits the federal government. Never before has a Congress had the gall to attempt to force Americans to purchase a product without regard to their desires. There is no comparison to car insurance, for instance, because that involves an activity - driving - which is both voluntary and a privilege that the government can take away, rather than a birthright.

The federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the so-called individual mandate is unconstitutional. But the ruling is as notable for its language as its conclusion: It is, frankly, some of the most ominous verbiage we've ever seen in a court document: The two appeals court judges who prevailed in the 11th Circuit Court's three-judge panel - one of the two being a Clinton appointee - ominously said the individual mandate "represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to
buy, and to make them repurchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives."

Consider just the words "potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority." In plain language, that implies that if this law stands, the power that Congress holds over our lives is potentially limitless.

If that doesn't frighten you, either you're not getting enough caffeine or you're getting too much Marx.

Court rulings on Obamacare have been all over the map thus far. It soon will be time for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in - and determine whether there are, indeed, any limits to this government's power.




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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon