Historical marker

Ruling on Obamacare will chart the future of our republic

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This is it.

  Rick McKee/Staff
Rick McKee/Staff

This is the month history will be made.

To Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade and Miranda v. Arizona and the rest of the short list of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, the justices later this month will add Florida v. HHS – the historic and decisive ruling on the constitutionality of the federal health-care law.

As with those other milestone cases in the annals of American jurisprudence, the “Obamacare” ruling will be a turning point in individual rights. And this one will be no less monumental.

“June is shaping up to be a pivotal month for American liberty,” writes author Matt Patterson in a Washington Times column headlined “June can’t come soon enough.”

“The stakes could not be higher: Should the court uphold the individual mandate, it effectively will have abolished the limited, constitutional republic the Founding Fathers created more than two centuries ago.”

As consequential as the issues surrounding health care are, that’s not really the matter before the court. The central question for the justices is: Does the Constitution bestow upon the federal government the power to require all Americans to buy insurance, at the bayonet’s point of a fine?

The logical question that follows, as one of the justices inquired during oral arguments, is this: If the government can order us to buy health insurance, what can’t it do?

The government’s argument – essentially, that everyone needs health care, and is therefore in the health-care market, and we’re just regulating it for you – isn’t just a slippery slope; it’s the tallest peak in North America. As Justice Antonin Scalia noted during oral arguments in March, by that logic a Congress could mandate the purchase of broccoli or other healthy foods because it’s in the public good and, heck, people are already in the market for food and we’re just regulating it for you.

Again: Using this logic, there is virtually nothing the government couldn’t do.

That, of course, is quite contrary to the letter and spirit of our founding document, which, for now, is still the supreme law of the land. The Constitution explicitly enumerates the powers of each of the three branches of government – an implicit and, we would argue, explicit message that those powers are limited.

To clear up any misconceptions, however, they followed up with a Bill of Rights, our first 10 amendments to the Constitution, further detailing the limits on government power – the 10th of which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

That little bit of early-American prose may be the amendment we quote the most on these pages – because it is likely the most neglected and abused of our Bill of Rights.

Thus, this case is a two-fer – a double-feature of fundamental American freedoms: both individual and states’ rights. No wonder that 26 states have joined together to fight

this unprecedented excursion into the affairs of state and person.

But it’s even bigger than that. Now it’s a First Amendment attack on the free expression of religion, as the Obama administration seeks to force religious institutions to provide birth control and abortion pill coverage.

Past landmark cases have presented forks in the road on such things as integration, abortion, campaign finance and the rights of criminal suspects. All mammoth decisions, historical guideposts every one. But rarely, if ever, has that legal fork in the road been so overcrowded. Imagine a marathon’s starting line with every American poised to run. This case will touch on every American’s rights and liberties.

This case, perhaps unique among landmark court cases, also has the capacity to swing a presidential election.

And how often do a majority of the states rebel against Washington?

“With more than half of the United States suing the federal government,” writes blogger Amanda Read, “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or “Obamacare”) case is a virtual civil war being waged through the courts.”

The public policy issues of Obamacare are another matter entirely. By any measure, it has to be the most irresponsible, potentially disastrous legislation in U.S. history. The bill was so monstrous, at some 2,700 pages, that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., actually said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” As that indicates, it’s difficult to imagine anyone in Congress had read it before voting on it. More recently, Justice Scalia humorously suggested that having to read the bill violated the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Then there’s the little matter that it was rammed through on a purely party-line vote. On such a momentous public policy decision, shouldn’t more of a consensus be reached?

Moreover, a recent survey by the Physicians Foundation reveals that 60 percent of doctors under 40 years of age are pessimistic about the future of American health care – the No. 1 reason being the federal health care law. Only 23 percent believe the law will have a positive impact on their practice.

An article, and harbinger for us all, at InsuranceNewsNet.com says, “Student health insurance costs at Clearwater Christian College ... are set to double this year. In a letter to students who will be affected by the cost hike, the college made it clear that the increase is due to the president’s health care reform law.” And a recent study by a trustee of Social Security and Medicare says Obamacare won’t save money, but will add $340 billion to the federal deficit.

Even as significant as all those considerations are, and as vital as health care is, this is the bottom line: This ruling will decide whether American exceptionalism endures. It will determine whether America will continue standing unique in the world, and in human history, in recognizing the self-evident truth of our God-given, unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Without the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and adherence to the Constitution, there is no American exceptionalism, and we become just another country whose government is simply going to tell the people how it is.

It doesn’t get more landmark than that.

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Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 06/02/12 - 11:09 pm
3
11
Yeah, that states rights

Yeah, that states rights thingy worked out real well for slavery and racial discrimination didn't it? How many dead Americans did that cost?

Had to get a constitutional ammendment for whole lot other mistakes made by the founders too. At least they were bright enough to realize that they were NOT infallable as is the Pope and left the American people a method to remedy their mistakes.

That being said, I have done some thinking on this and the Affordable Care act is flawed. It certainly isn't what most progessives really want which is National Single Payer Health Care. Let's get the profit motive and all the for profit private insurance companies out of public health care.

Oh and for the ever lovin' capitalists out there, you can go ahead and spend all the money on medical care you want to. So your "Freedum" is still in tact. There are and always will be plenty of doctors who are in the medical "bidness" instead of health care. Nothing wrong with that. that little ol' hypocratic oath thing can always be ignored.

Jon Lester
2478
Points
Jon Lester 06/03/12 - 01:32 am
2
4
Speaking of mandates,

I'd love to hear how you guys would reconcile "Obamacare" with the Second Militia Act of 1792.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 06/03/12 - 02:55 am
2
3
respecting states rights was

respecting states rights was a necessity to prevent centralization of power and corruption.

oh well. it was a good republic while it lasted.

"the corporatist/ oligarchy for which it stands"
doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 06/03/12 - 02:56 am
9
1
Representative Pelosi still

Representative Pelosi still thinks the Surpreme Court will uphold Obamacare. Just confirms that Progressives won't let a little thing like the Constitution get in the way of what they feel is best for the people. For somethings, laws aren't enough because they conflict with the Bill of Rights or some other part of Constitution. That's why it's still possible to ammend the Constitution.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 06/03/12 - 06:21 am
0
0
RETIRED ARMY
Unpublished

"Freedum" and "bidness?" I wonder if I "axed" you a question, how long it would take before someone flagged it as offensive. Funny how you support something that even Nancy Pelosi admitted "We have to pass the bill, so you can find out what's in it." Yeah, I'm laughing.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 06/03/12 - 06:23 am
7
1
I want to hear Justice Samuel

I want to hear Justice Samuel Alito say loud and clear to the administration lackey that stands in front of the Supreme Court and President Obama, "Not true." The game is on our court now.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 06:56 am
7
1
Single payer health care

Retired Army, my friend, you want , I assume ,the same health care program that I have. Medicare, it is great. No doubt about it. I have been covered by it for twenty two years and have not one single complaint. Anyone in their right mind would want it. My son just became covered and he is smiling all the way to the doctor's office. Sadly, there are two problems with MediCare. The government hasn't figured out a way to control fraud. It is the single largest crime in the USof A today totaling $60 billion dollars a year and growing. The second problem is the MediCare trust fund is running out of money. You younger guys are going to be crying in your towels in a few years when your claims come back -DENIED, NO MONEY. I wish you well on the Single payer health care program. Yeah! Take the profit out of health care.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 07:14 am
4
0
Single payer health care

I am sorry about the double post. My son talked me into buying a Mac Pro. Worst mistake I ever made

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 07:12 am
2
0
none

I am sorry about this

Hucklebuck
43
Points
Hucklebuck 06/03/12 - 07:14 am
5
0
The Big Picture

I am a republican and while Obamacare isn't perfect but the repubs have brought nothing to the table. Tort reform hasn't worked because of the fact that lowered payments in malpractice lawsuits means that the insurance company pays out less but hasn't resulted in cheaper malpractice insurance cost for doctors. In fact the stated with tort reform has actually seen malpractice rates go up. Think about it the insurance companies can have they cake and eat it to by raking in more cash and having to pay out less.
Senator Saxby Chambliss visited Marietta recently and stated that if it is struck down there is no reason for republicans to celebrate because that does nothing for the healthcare problem in the united stated. He stated that rather they should all come together with the president and work healthcare reform.
Personally I think that its going to be struck down and we may see a bigger push towards a single payer system or a system redesigned around the court's opinion and constitution concerns.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 07:23 am
7
1
RA said

Oh and for the ever lovin' capitalists out there, you can go ahead and spend all the money on medical care you want to. So your "Freedum" is still in tact. There are and always will be plenty of doctors who are in the medical "bidness" instead of health care. Nothing wrong with that. that little ol' hypocratic oath thing can always be ignored.

I must respond to this as I am one of those ever lovin capitalist out there. I worked hard all my life, never got a dime from the government except for pay as a sailor during WWII. I rtetired when I was 62, have a nice home that is paid for, drive a nice car that I trade every two years but most importantly have peace of mind. If you like another system that is ok with me but don't blame me or make sarcastic remarks about my preference in life. I am happy with my choices and I hope that you are happy with yours.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 06/03/12 - 07:36 am
4
1
Mr. Editor, now that is the

Mr. Editor, now that is the way to write an editorial. That is persuasive information. Well done messaging. It should be posted in papers around the country.

seenitB4
96971
Points
seenitB4 06/03/12 - 07:37 am
3
0
Alito

I would say...Tweak the dang thing & let Alito do the tweaking...that might happen.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 06/03/12 - 08:04 am
0
0
OBAMA AND THE SC
Unpublished

The way King Obama has publicly thumped the nose of the USSC, some would consider it "poetic justice" to see that same SC thump his nose in public by striking down Obamacare. Karma's a b@$ch, Barry.

freeradical
1170
Points
freeradical 06/03/12 - 08:08 am
5
2
Retired Army, I suspect when

Retired Army,

I suspect when you thought you were doing " some thinking "

about the utopia of "single payer" and getting all profit out of

healthcare you were really having a brain fart.

In the SINGLE PAYER system that is active duty military healthcare

does a General get the SAME care as a private ?

That is a YES or a NO retired military.

If the answer is yes , and you really believe that , then I can see why

you think single payer is so great.

If the answer is no , then you have a single payer system were some

" profit " more than others by virtue of the decidily different care &

treatment they recieve.

Based upon just who they are.

Which is it retired military ?

That single payer " thingy " works just that way everywhere it is

foisted upon those who have no choice .

All you are saying is that you want a single payer health system of

personal profit , priviledge , and benefit , even more corrupt

than the present one by virtue of the fact that no one under the

control of the IRS would be able to escape the new low of substandard

care their personal rank , priviledge , voting record , union

membership , card check status , etc,etc,etc, & etc would rate them.

Exactly what nation's army did you retire from?

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 08:35 am
2
1
..

.

justthefacts
24902
Points
justthefacts 06/03/12 - 08:14 am
3
1
Profit motive out of Healthcare

I wouldn't hold your breath.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 06/03/12 - 08:38 am
3
1
Republican Paul Ryan most

Republican Paul Ryan most certainly did present a much better health care plan. Matter of fact it was a bipartisan effort with Democrat Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon joining with him.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 06/03/12 - 09:15 am
0
0
JOHNBROWN
Unpublished

You mean a Republican and a Democrat actually worked together and came up with a plan? No...say it ain't soooo! Shows what can happen when both parties get down off their soapboxes, stop finger pointing, and actually find common ground for a problem.

itsanotherday1
48158
Points
itsanotherday1 06/03/12 - 09:27 am
6
0
If you consider the rules

If you consider the rules surrounding Obamacare; it is clearly greasing the path to single payer and giving a push to boot. They could have easily fixed the "uninsured" piece of the issue in a one or two page bill by just addressing that "slot" of people making too much for Medicaid and not enough to buy insurance on the open market.
No question, our problems in the healthcare industry are larger than that, but they can be taken on one by one in separate legislation.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/03/12 - 09:31 am
6
0
Good v. Constitutional

There is a great deal of confusion over the concepts of "good" and "constitutional."

Even if you are convinced that the law is "good," that doesn't automatically make it constitutional.

jrbfromga
448
Points
jrbfromga 06/03/12 - 10:17 am
0
5
Spelling?
Unpublished

A bit off point, but some of the posts are quite a testimony to the failure of public education. Amend and Amendment only have 1 and 2 'm's, not 2 and 3.

dichotomy
37360
Points
dichotomy 06/03/12 - 10:18 am
6
1
"Yeah, that states rights

"Yeah, that states rights thingy worked out real well for slavery and racial discrimination didn't it?'

The concept of states rights was part of our Constitution and had nothing specifically to do with slavery. It had everything to do with the powers of the federal government over it's citizens. Anyone who starts their argument off with "slavery" when talking about a current issue has lost any credibility in my book. Yes, slavery happened but the throwbacks always fail to mention that the concept of slavery was a worldwide excepted practice when this country came into being. Slavery was abolished 150 years ago. Segregation was abolished 50 years ago. And heaven knows we have paid dearly financially for the sins of our forefathers. Neither slavery nor segregation has anything to do with a federal mandate to buy health insurance and the creeping powers of the federal government using the unspecified powers of the commerce clause. It boils down to this for me. If the federal government can mandate that you buy health insurance they can mandate that you buy Chevrolets or brocolli or anything else in the name of "commerce". I do not want the federal government to even THINK it has that kind of power. Why would anyone want to trade slavery at the state level for slavery at the federal level....unless they are on the "free stuff" gravy train.

CobaltGeorge
175091
Points
CobaltGeorge 06/03/12 - 10:37 am
1
0
Meeting of the Minds or Shoot out.

dichotomy, you better be there.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 10:51 am
4
1
dichotomy said

I do not want the federal government to even THINK it has that kind of power. Why would anyone want to trade slavery at the state level for slavery at the federal level....unless they are on the "free stuff" gravy train.

I suspect that there are several on this thread to which this may apply.

Stercus accidit
120
Points
Stercus accidit 06/03/12 - 11:09 am
1
6
Oh how the AC forgets that

Oh how the AC forgets that the mandate was a REPUBLICAN idea. The dems wanted single payer and that was how the bill was originally written. The Republicans filibustered and kept everything at a stand still until they got the dems to compromise on the mandate which was a model of MITT ROMNEY's health care plan in Massachusetts. But yeah lets blame Obama and the dems for this one because in AC land Republicans are infallible and everything is the fault of the democrats.

dichotomy
37360
Points
dichotomy 06/03/12 - 12:46 pm
6
1
Not what happened.

Nice try Stercu accidit....but that ain't quite what happend. A mandate was kicked around back in the 90s by some Republicans but they did not negotiate it into Obamacare. In fact, the Democrats did not negotiate anything with the Republicans when they wrote Obamacare in the back rooms in the dead of the night. And yes, Mitt Romney, along with a Democrat controlled legislature, had similar provisions in the MA healthcare law but that was a state. A state can do that. But (hopefully) the federal government cannot. If GA mandated something I don't agree with I can step across the border to SC. If the Unitied States imposes a mandate I would have to leave the country to avoid it. There is a distinct difference in what a state can do and what the feds can do and there is a reason for it. But the Republicans DID NOT negotiate a mandate into Obamacare. Back in the 90s the only thing a few Republican politicians and a think tank or two said was that if the government was going to provide universal healthcare that a mandate was probably the only way to pay for it. Even then they still opposed the government taking over and providing universal healthcare.

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 06/03/12 - 02:06 pm
2
4
freeradical writes: "Exactly

freeradical writes: "Exactly what nation's army did you retire from?"

The Untited States of America, where it says on my DD Form 214 (the most important word in a military man's vocabulary which ain't Hero-sorry CG and Harley-"Honorable".

That's a big word, but I'm sure you could look it up! I spent twenty years plus defending your right to do so and my right to say so.

Now I really hope you have a job and are a taxpayer. We retired military folks appreciate you.

Carelton, you are old enough and from a generation that has respect for other folks service. I never took a dime from the government either. But, I damn sure earned some.

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 06/03/12 - 02:10 pm
2
3
Oh, by the way. in 6 months I

Oh, by the way. in 6 months I get to pay an extra $1,200.00 a year for my "free" lifetime medical care. Can't hardly wait.

So much for honorable men in Congress.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/03/12 - 02:21 pm
4
1
RA SAID

Carelton, you are old enough and from a generation that has respect for other folks service. I never took a dime from the government either. But, I damn sure earned some.

I am sure you haven't but I wish you would spell my name right. I am very sensitive about that. It really isn't that difficult. It is C-a-r-l-e-t-o-n. See how easy that is. LOL

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