Wheat, weed and Obamacare

The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to….

“regulate commerce . . . .among the several States,”

….and for more than 100 years federal lawmakers invoked it for a very narrow purpose; to prevent states from imposing trade barriers on each other. But today members of Congress act as if it gives them the authority to do just about anything, including forcing Americans to eat their greens.

During her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan seemed to accept that the Commerce Clause could, in theory, give Congress the power to dictate what Americans eat. And what about ObamaCare’s “individual mandate,” which forces Americans to purchase health insurance? ObamaCare opponents are lining up to challenge its constitutionality, but supporters say it’s justified, you guessed it, under the Commerce Clause.

How did a clause intended as a restriction on states wind up giving Congress a green light to regulate non-commercial, local, and purely private behaviour? How will ObamaCare stand up against the legal challenges brought by the states? Legal titans John Eastman (Chapman University Law Professor) and Erwin Chemerinsky (Founding Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law) slug it out to to determine whether or not Congress has been abusing the commerce clause.

If the words no longer mean anything, then we don’t have a constitution that binds and limits the power of government, and the Government can do whatever they want….


6 comments on “Wheat, weed and Obamacare

  1. America has the greatest health care system in the world by many measures. Capitalism and a free market made it that way.

    One of the main reasons health care is expensive is out-of-control lawsuits against Doctors (high malpractice insurance, which is passed onto the patients). The bill did not do anything substantial to address this.

    Insurance costs are high because medical costs are high & because of the regulation on the interstate sale of insurance. The bill did not do anything to address this.

    Since free markets made our health care one of the best, why turn to more regulation when there are some problems? Why not turn to a freer market and see what happens?

    Why not encourage people to help out their neighbor that needs medical care and can’t afford insurance instead of accomplishing this through taxation?

    We need community, love, a free market and less regulation.

    • I see all these people giving a sweeping general comment that they don’t like the law. I’d like to hear specifically which part of the law do they not like, and why? You never hear that, since when you get to specifics, it actually looks pretty good. When they can’t find a specific item they don’t like, they just say something like — it will cost too much. But they didn’t seem to mind President Busch started the hyper expensive Iraq war without paying for it. Or the Prescription Drug plan. Which specific parts of this would you repeal. And don’t say ALL OF IT. That would just confirm my suspicion that you don’t think critically.

      And I also should say that a lot of the opposition to the Healthcare Bill has come from people who hate Obama because he’s black.

      • Speaking from a British perspective, it seems to me that the race issue has very little to do with opposition to Obamacare, the bailout, the stimulus package or anything else.

        In its frenzied effort to muzzle opposition to the Obama administration’s assault on liberty, the left has frequently resorted to a simple tactic….

        They and their collaborators in the mainstream media find some idiot holding a placard, or making objectionable comments, and they are immediately on the offensive; “Look!” they say. “Neocons and racists are behind this movement! The Christian Right is trying to set up a theocracy!”

        Both ends of the political spectrum have their lunatic fringes. Those who threaten or resort to violence should be met with the full force of the law, and those who use incendiary language must be denounced.

        That is not to say, however, that the Bush administration had any more respect for the Constitution or liberty (the politics of fear, browbeating and control of the media, increases in public spending and the size of the government etc. etc. etc….)

        Time for a real change, I think. Step forward, Congressman Paul.

  2. The Tea Party movement, though its rhetoric is often conservative sounding, is at heart neither left wing nor right wing. It is a fundamentally libertarian cry of exhasperation at a government increasingly seen to be spending away our futures and trampling our liberties and disregarding the rule of law.

      • I’m watching the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington DC at the moment, and it occurs to me that I should make another point about the Tea Party.

        It is important not to be taken in by Sarah Palin and media hacks like Glenn Beck. They are establishment, big government stooges who are trying to hijack the movement for corporatist ends. They are no more interested in liberty and the preservation of the Constitution than Obama.

        Congressman Ron Paul is the real deal, a true conservative and libertarian.

        Palin, Hannity, O’Reilly and Beck cannot be trusted. They are all owned. The Republican Party is as screwed as the Democrats, because more and more GOP voters recognize that the RNC represent America’s corporate interests, not liberty, free speech, the rule of law…. the foundations that made Britain and America the greatest nations on the planet.

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