6th Circuit: The Constitution Allows ObamaCare

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Before the 11th Circuit, a lawyer representing the states suing to rubbish ObamaCare made a good point.

Obama and, it seems, many courts, would like to pretend that while the Constitution generally speaks of enumerated and limited powers — all other powers, such a the police power, reserved for the people and the states — that the Commerce Clause generally is a “Take-Back” clause that essentially calls bullshit on everything else in the Constitution.

That is, everything else in the Constitution is about establishing particular powers of the federal government, and, expressly, reserving those not named (or “necessary and proper” to undertake a named power) to the states.

But this new claim is that really there is only one clause that matters in the Constitution, and that is the Commerce Clause, and this one brief clause renders all 4400 other words in the Constitution null and void, because the Commerce Clause says, it is contended, that the federal government may do anything so long as, in the aggregate, it “affects interstate commerce,” which, as is often pointed out, applies to everything.

Having sex with your wife? This affects interstate commerce, as you might wind up creating the ultimate economic effect — a child; a future one-man army of economic activity, labor, investment, and consumption — and even if you don’t, your choice to have sex is a choice not to sample the fruits of interstate commerce, which is affected, then, by your choice to not enter the stream of paid entertainments.

Can we mandate that people have more children? Seems to me we could fix some of the demographic problems with SS and MediCare if only people had more children.

Oh, it’s probably much too late for that; but could we have mandated this 20 years ago? Probably, this new ruling says.

At any rate, the anti-ObamaCare lawyer had a simple question:

If the framers of the Constitution meant for this one clause to have such omnipotent power, trumping everything else, establishing well-nigh plenary power of the federal government over every aspect of human existence —

Why did no one seem to think it necessary to add even the most gentle limitation on such a far-reaching power?

In other words, if this Clause means what it is, apparently straight-faced, contended to mean, and therefore is the only real clause in the Constitution at all — why did no one think to elaborate upon it?

Why all that wasted time on Amendments and specific powers of Congress, the President, and the Courts, when the only real grant of power in the Constitution is the Commerce Clause?

Answers? Take your choice:

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if this stands we are a sinking ship.

this is the point at which future generations can point back and say that was when we became serfs of the state, all of our individual liberties suffocated without anyone actually “taking” them away, instead they withered and died.

and the true lower base nature of humanity the weeds of our society took hold and choked out what made us greatest nation on the earth self reliance freedom those will all be hollow words

a case can be made this ruling is the single greatest threat to individual liberty that has come down the pike in 100 years.

The commerce clause has been the most contentious, and misapplied portions of the Constitution. It is used, as the article suggests, to accomplish the goal of expanding the powers of federal government.

It was never meant to be such, though, if one has read a little history, and what the founding fathers wrote concerning this particular power. But don’t take my word for it. Read what James Madison wrote concerning the clause in Federalist Paper no. 42;

……………..A very material object of this power was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter. Were these at liberty to regulate the trade between State and State, it must be foreseen that ways would be found out to load the articles of import and export, during the passage through their jurisdiction, with duties which would fall on the makers of the latter and the consumers of the former…………

Simply put, the clause was meant not as a positive power of the federal government to regulate each and every individual transpiration in the making and selling of products, or services. It was meant as a negative power, to allow the federal government to prohibit, and therefore regulate, unfair trade imposts and duties for products from one state to another, by the receiving state, and/or all states from origin to destination.

How about several Supreme court cases;

In Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918), Congress passed the Child Labor Act in an attempt to combat the use of child labor in factories. The Supreme Court held that Congress did not have the power under the Commerce Clause to regulate goods produced through child labor and transported in interstate commerce. The Court held that manufacture is not commerce and the exclusion of goods was permitted only when it involved the nature of the goods themselves, not the manner in which they were made.

In United States v. Lopez (1995), Congress enacted the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 (GFSZA) prohibiting the possession of firearms in school zones. Lopez brought a loaded handgun to school and was charged under the Act. The Supreme Court held that the commerce power only grants Congress the ability to regulate the use of the channels and instrumentalities of interstate commerce, and other activities having a substantial relation to or a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The Act was held to unconstitutional for exceeding the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause.

That is, by no means, all of the cases concerning the clause. There were, for example, numerous cases taken in the mid-30’s to late 40’s, in front of FDR’s packed progressive courts, that held up federal law that expanded the scope of the clause. And I do not fall into the category of persons who believe precedent is more important than original intent. Madison was very clear on the intent of the clause. Subsequent governments have expanded upon that, and regardless of how court cases fell, the original intent still stands. That the Supreme Court allowed, and Congress and the President took, expanded federal power under the clause is irrelevant to allowing it to continue today.

Defeating this monstrosity is probably even more important to the future of our country than defeating Obama in 2012. The stakes are as high if not higher. They can force us to buy Chevy Volts because its interstate commerce. They can tell us what we can say on the internet because its interstate commerce. The list goes on. If this stands, it grants unrestricted power to the feds regardless of party and that can’t be checked with anything short of…. Well it’s probably best not to go there yet. There is still time. Hopefully there are still enough judges on the Supreme Court who read and understand the Constitution.

The founders of this country were neither seers nor fortune-tellers. I doubt very much that they could predict the emergence of automatic weapons that could spew 500 rounds per minute, or national health care plans–nor did they intend the Constitution to encompass such events. It was never intended to justify the legalization of automatic weapons that can be used in criminal activities to kill and maim innocent citizens; similarly it was not intended to exclude millions of Americans from health insurance, and consequently health care, thereby dooming many of them to premature disability or death.

The Constitution was an 18th Century document which was designed–among other things–suggest the basis of a nation according to certain stipulated, universal rights, as much as they could see them then. The limitations of the Constitution are represented by the Amendment that followed. People who take the Constitution literally, and claim it to be the end-all of American civilization, are like Fundamentalist Christians who place the Bible of such a pedestal. But like the ranks of fundamental religious practitioners, fundamentalist constitutionalists are destined to disappear. Progress inevitably wins over regression–although the latter may seem to be making strides at times.

The main difference between the Left and the Right on this issue (national health care) is that the Left stands for the rights of these people, and Right does not.

@Liberal1 (objectivity):

And excellent example of liberal misunderstandings concerning the Constitution. Fortunately, through such writings the founding fathers published at the time, we can understand their intentions, regarding the document itself, and the rights, freedoms and liberties extended to the people.

The founders of this country were neither seers nor fortune-tellers. I doubt very much that they could predict the emergence of automatic weapons that could spew 500 rounds per minute, or national health care plans–nor did they intend the Constitution to encompass such events.

No, the founders were not seers, and didn’t claim to be. Nor did they need to be. It matters not that they did not know about automatic weapons, for they did not know about many, modern inventions. They didn’t have to. The most honest statement you’ve made in any of your posts here is that last highlighted one, “nor did they intend the Constitution to encompass such events”. They didn’t intend it, because they didn’t need to.

I will say, however, that advancements in weaponry and firearms are generally accepted to be one of the continuing advances in technology, even at the time of the founders. They had, for example, centuries and millenia of history that showed this. From the bronze age, to the iron age, from swords to bows, from bows to firearms, it is only logical that advancements from their own era of weaponry would be made. Your statement, though, is misleading, as the founders did not KNOW about such firearm advancements as, say, revolvers, or even repeating rifles. But you don’t mention those, do you? The advancement from cap and ball to a repeating rifle, for instance, allowed for the sustained firing of a weapon, prior to having to reload, that is a similar leap in technology from that repeating rifle to the modern automatic weapon.

It was never intended to justify the legalization of automatic weapons that can be used in criminal activities to kill and maim innocent citizens; similarly it was not intended to exclude millions of Americans from health insurance, and consequently health care, thereby dooming many of them to premature disability or death.

These two sentences are entirely misleading, for a multitude of reasons.
-One, as I described above, concerning weaponry, the particular advancements may not have been envisioned, but the fact of technological advancements that would be made to weaponry had to have been, knowing how many of those founders were students of history.
-Two, your comment is meant to elicit ‘feeling’ from the reader as much, or more, than honest thought, hence your inclusion of what firearms can do to “innocent” people. Thoughtful, reasoned debate does not bother with ‘feelings’, but rather, facts and truth.
-Three, the Constitution neither excludes, or includes a right of people to health care. Your statement, taken at face value, is meant to convey that although the founders didn’t exclude people, that certain persons in today’s world do. That is a false assumption.

The two subjects you are attempting to link, have nothing whatsoever to do with one another.

The 2nd Amendment;

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

“Shall not be infringed” is a strong limitation on the federal government, and very clear as to it’s meaning. The federal government cannot do anything to limit access, nor the ability to carry, firearms. They did not limit that right by including only “cap and ball”, or “muskets”, or any particular type of weapon. They use the term “State” to identify with the sovereignty of each individual state, and that in order for that state to remain free, no infringement, by any government, upon the right of the people to have and carry firearms, is allowed. It is meant, more than anything, as a protection for the people, against a tyrannical government from taking away their inalienable rights. And, as tech advancements in weapons are made, and government has access to them, then so should the people. Any limitation on that right is to handicap the people against such attempted tyrannical rule, as to make the Amendment null and void. This is why people will fight for the right to own automatic weapons, or “cop-killer” bullets, even if they, themselves, have no desire to own them. It is a right. You cannot infringe upon it.

The Constitution was an 18th Century document which was designed–among other things–suggest the basis of a nation according to certain stipulated, universal rights, as much as they could see them then.

No, Liberal1. The Constitution was meant to set forth, not the guiding principles, or basis, for the nation, but the foundation that our nation is built upon. Those rights, those inalienable rights as described in the Declaration, are given by our Creator, and as such, no man has any right to take them away or limit them in any possible manner. Also, our nation was founded not on the principle of one, central, government, but of a collection of individual, sovereign entities, the states, and the smallest part of that, each individual person. And that, in order to facilitate such actions as a nation depends on, such as defense, and trade with other nations, that certain powers may be extended to the federal government, as approved by those sovereign states.

The limitations in the Constitution, upon the federal government, were meant to be a protection against the encroachment of federal power upon the states, and a prevention of the massive gathering of power by a central government.

The limitations of the Constitution are represented by the Amendment that followed.

This is not even close to being correct. The amendments did discuss limitations, but that is not the only place within the Constitution that does so. Article I, Section 8 delineates the power of Congress. Congress has no other powers, except as specifically outlined within other articles and sections, like the Impeachment clause. This is a limitation.

Article IV, Section 4 limits the federal government as well. It prevents it from the allowance of any other type of government, by a state, other than a republican form of government, indeed, it guarantees it.

Article III, Section 3 limits what the federal government can call Treason against it.

Article I, Section 9 specifically delineates certain limits upon Congress, itself, concerning it’s powers.

The Bill of Rights, or the first ten Amendments, lists limitations upon government to the people.

And finally, those limitations are not upon the Constitution, but on government.

People who take the Constitution literally, and claim it to be the end-all of American civilization, are like Fundamentalist Christians who place the Bible of such a pedestal.

People who take the Constitution literally are just as misguided as those who extend the powers of government by assuming it has elasticity. The Constitution must be read in accordance with the meaning of words at the time it was written, as well as with the stated original intent, as outlined within the Federalist Papers, and other such writings by the founders. This is not the same as taking it literally. Indeed, many liberals pick and choose which parts of it they extend elasticity to, and which they read as literal. The 2nd Amendment is one such example( by reading a literal meaning into “militia”).

And, “Fundamentalist” Christians have every right to read the Bible literally. Our Constitution gives them that right. It also, for instance, gives you the right to deride them for doing so, or for them to deride you for your derision of them. Funny how that works, isn’t it? But then again, your analogy falls short, as they believe the Bible to be the word of God, while people understand the Constitution was written by man, who is, and has shown, over the course of history, to be quite fallible. Fortunately, the founders gave us a process by which we, the people, can Amend the Constitution. Why do liberal/progressives not follow this process? Is it due to fear that your will, or viewpoint, cannot get passed, so you must resort to nefarious, unConstitutional means to do so?

The main difference between the Left and the Right on this issue (national health care) is that the Left stands for the rights of these people, and Right does not.

Patently false. An assumption of this magnitude cannot be reconciled with the actual action and desire of the people. Witness, for example, the multitude of doctors who extend their own time in inner city clinics, performing basic medical exams and other services for free, or at least, little to no cost to those receiving the services. Witness the “Fundamentalist Christians” you deride in the preceding paragraph, providing help to those underprivileged, at no cost, and of no monetary benefit to themselves.

A “right”, you say? It has often been said that the rights of one person extend only as far as the nose of another. Meaning, your “rights” end at the point of encroachment upon mine. As such, you cannot force upon me the institution of slavery, for that is what it is, by claiming a “right” that obligates me to provide anything to you. Our Constitution, by it’s various limitations and delineation of rights and freedoms, guarantees me against that intrusion. Only the most elastic reading of the Constitution possible can ever be used as justification for enslaving one to another. One does not have the “right” to obligate another, in this country, to work to provide for them, whether it’s food or medical care.

I suggest that you seriously read more from the founding fathers, from the Federalist Papers, and the anti-Federalist Papers, in order to better understand their intentions, when they set forth the Constitution.