Home National Politics Conservative, Reagan-Appointed Judge Rules: Individual Mandate IS Constitutional!

Conservative, Reagan-Appointed Judge Rules: Individual Mandate IS Constitutional!

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As Think Progress puts it:

When a federal judge tells you that your argument has no basis in the text of the Constitution, it is a good sign you don’t belong in court. When he compares your argument to claims that the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters are unconstitutional, it’s an even better sign of how deeply radical your argument has become. When that judge is Judge Laurence Silberman, a man who has stood at the pinnacle of conservative judicial thinking for decades, it is about as good a sign as you can hope for that the Supreme Court is not going to like your argument either.

Also worthy of note, Judge Silberman is “a close ally of Justice Clarence Thomas, a former official in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations and the author of the lower court decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban.” Yet despite (or perhaps because of?) those impeccable, conservative credentials, Silberman ruled firmly against a constitutional challenge to the individual mandate, declaring that it has no “real support…in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent.” As if that’s not good enough, Silberman et al. ruled that the individual mandate “is no more [an encroachment on individual liberty] than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race.”

Sorry, Ken Kookinelli, your radical attempt to undo 200+ years of judicial rulings on the constitution just got flattened! So sad. LOL

  • aznew

    As I understand it, the AHCA is clearly Constitutional. The legal argument that it is not — that the law purports to regulate inactivity — does not even seem to me to pass the laugh test.

    Whatever the political controversy over the law, and whatever the legitimate policy disagreements over whether the reforms are a good idea, the AHCA does not present a complicated Constitutional question.

    The first issue is, does health care encompass interstate commerce? If the answer to this question is in the affirmative, then Congress clearly has the power to legislate in the area. There is simply no doubt that the business and activity of health care is interstate commerce.

    Once Congress is properly exercising its authority under the Commerce Clause — and to repeat, it is not even a close call that Congress has the Constitutional authority to legislate in this area — its power is plenary, and the only question to ask is whether the legislative remedies fashioned by Congress in any way run afoul of the Constitution itself.

    Obviously, some people think the idea of an individual mandate is an affront to liberty and freedom, and that the government has no business telling people they need to carry health insurance.

    Fair enough — I get that argument. But that is not the issue before the courts.  The question before the court is whether the individual mandate would violate any Constitutional right, and I do not see where it does.

    This analysis is distinct from whether you think the dictates of the AHCA are a good idea or not, — it only goes to the narrow question of whether they are Constitutional, and there is simply no doubt that they are.

  • Jim B

    It seems to me that the only reason republicans are against AHCA is that is was passed by a democratic congress and signed into law by President Obama. Everyone of them is searching for a reason that it is unconstitutional. There also seems to be no rhyme or reason these days about any law except which side of the fence one is on. Democrat good, republican bad or vice versa.