How the Supreme Court Should Have Ruled

The following is how a unanimous Supreme Court should have ruled with regard to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The issue before this court is whether the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010 is constitutional.  Specifically, does the Congress have the power to legislate medical care or medical care insurance coverage?  This Court finds that it does not.

Congress’ enumerated powers are found in Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.  No less than James Madison confirmed in Federalist Paper #45 that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.”   And in fact, nothing in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution can be construed to mean that Congress has any power to legislate medicine, medical care, or the insurance coverage thereof.

Now, some will claim that Congress retains powers not enumerated in the Constitution.  In the first place, why then did the authors enumerate any powers at all in the Constitution?  Secondly, how can the meaning of the Tenth Amendment be ignored?  There is no ambiguity as to the meaning of, “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.”  James Madison in Federalist Paper 45 again, “The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”  Thus, the power to legislate health care, like marriage, education, driving licenses, and other “objects of the ordinary course of affairs” resides with state governments not the federal government in our system of governance.

But, even that explanation of enumerated powers does not satisfy those that are voracious in their hunger to do good and enact measures at the federal level of government that will take care of us from cradle to grave.  It is not the job of this Court or really any court to determine the social worthiness of legislation.  The job of the courts is to determine the law, decide constitutionality, and dispense justice by protecting rights.

So, it is wrong for political forces to use vague terms from the Constitution to further their ends.  The most often used term is the so-called Interstate Commerce Clause.  The 16 words in the clause have historically been used to allow Congress to regulate everything from speed limits on the nation’s roads to handicap ramps on sidewalks to regulating lawn mower emissions.  But the original intent of, “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes” was not to give Congress the power to regulate all things commercial.  It was to make “normal” or “regular” commerce between the states.  Under the Articles of Confederation the States had a habit of enacting impediments to free trade between them.  Alexander Hamilton alluded to this in Federalist Paper #22 and indicated his belief that a “national control” (Interstate Commerce Clause) to restrain this impulse was necessary.  Thus, in the case Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), this Court used the Interstate Commerce Clause to strike down an anti-free trade act of the legislature of New York.

Therefore, it is found by this Court that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is hereby deemed unconstitutional.  No justification whatsoever can be found for Congress to have assumed the power under the U.S. Constitution to pass this act.  It is hereby declared null and void.

Of course, it is not surprising that the Court did not follow the Constitution in its ruling.  A long time ago, we lost all semblance of the constitutional republic the Founding Fathers gave us.  Now we are stuck with a make-it-up as you go, lawless regime.  Consequently, we are stuck with a massive federal boondoggle which will ultimately raise the costs of health care, bankrupt the county further, and move us closer to National Socialism where government funnels through legislation and regulation consumers to favored corporations.  In this case the insurance industry.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

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