The Constitutional Abuse

Well, I have looked very carefully at Article one, Section eight, better known as the Interstate Commerce clause, although the enumerated powers delineated therein are more extensive, and specific than the simplistic “title” might suggest. Indeed, there’s quite a bit there, installing and regulating post offices, militias, establishing a uniform set of regulations between states (where this article derives its name) so that states are competitive with one another- a lot in a little space in our Constitution.

But Nancy Pelosi can’t answer a simple question from a reporter on the Constitutionality of Healthcare, specifically the mandate to buy it.

When asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance–a mandate included in both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill–Pelosi dismissed the question by saying: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

Pelosi’s press secretary later responded to written follow-up questions from by emailing a press release on the “Constitutionality of Health Insurance Reform,” that argues that Congress derives the authority to mandate that people purchase health insurance from its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

Uh, yeah- the liberal’s bolthole when it comes to legislation they want to shove down our throats- to be fair, both parties have used this when it suited them, but to be fair, there’s not much difference these days between the parties themselves- witness Lindsey Graham or John McCain- neither one truly represents more than the squishy middle, where ideals are watered down to virtually nothing, and the status quo is protected, meaning their jobs.

But back to the clueless Pelosi- I have long held that the botox needle went too deep on her, and hit the brainstem, because she couldn’t even begin to enunciate the reasoning behind the mandate. It was up to the aide to try and explain just how the mandate could even be legal. As usual in politics, he was, and is wrong- but at least he tried.

Nan just had the deer in the headlights look- in other words, looked as she normally appears.

Pelosi avoided answering the question, probably because she doesn’t have an answer.  Her spokesman said that it was “not a serious question,” but if so, one would presume that Pelosi or her office could provide an easily-corroborated answer.  After all, the Constitution is where Congress derives all of its authority.  It’s not exactly a lengthy document.  How difficult is it to cite the clause that enables Congress to impose a mandate on its citizens to spend money on anything but a tax?

Well, as it turns out, pretty darned difficult.  The interstate commerce clause doesn’t apply because Congress doesn’t allow for interstate commerce in health insurance.  The “general welfare” clause has never applied to individual mandates, which is why neither Leahy or Pelosi will invoke it publicly.  If they trot that out in front of the Supreme Court, they’ll essentially be arguing that the federal government has the authority to impose any kind of mandates at any time on anyone in the country, which makes the limitations of power in the Constitution meaningless — and by extension, makes the Supreme Court meaningless as well.

Yes indeed- there is not, nor can there be, a mandate that legally compels me to buy insurance- by their argument,  they could compel me , or anyone else, to do pretty much whatever the government chooses for you or me to do, and that is a dictatorship, plain and simple.

If I do not buy insurance, I am not breaking the “Interstate Commerce” clause, because I am not engaging in commerce, interstate or otherwise. If I self pay my doctor, I am not falling afoul of the clause either- both the doctor and I are in the same state. My purchase or not of insurance doesn’t “promote the general welfare” of anyone- period.

Much of the reasoning that is centered around this healthscare bill is torturous, convoluted and wrong. The politicians who want this bill to pass are destroying the Constitution.

Obama had it right in one respect when he said in a speech, that the Constitution is indeed a “negative” document, in that it tells you what you cannot do with respect to the states, and what the states cannot do with respect to the people.

The Constitution is a “People’s” document, one that was drafted to protect the people, not the politicians.

Perhaps Nan the flounder face should read the Constitution.

At least try, Nan.

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27 Responses to “The Constitutional Abuse”

  1. Randy says:

    Of course the “general welfare” part of Article 1 Sec. 8 of the constitution has applied to individual mandates. Not only that, but the supreme court has heard a slew of arguments and always sided with individual mandates being constitutional if it could be argued that they provided for the general welfare of the population of the US. Social Security is a good example. Your purchase of the “public option” insurance, whether you use it or not, adds to the pool of resources available for those that can’t afford private insurance. That provides for the general health (welfare) of the citizens of the United States.

    I would also like to add a correction:

    Barack Obama never said in a speech the U.S. Constitution was a “negative” document.

    • Big Dog says:

      The General Welfare clause does not mean that government should provide welfare to individuals and government has no right to tell you what you must buy. Our Founders are who we should turn to when discussing the Constitution because they wrote it:

      “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792 _Madison_ 1865, I, page 546

      “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constitutents.” – James Madison, regarding an appropriations bill for French refugees, 1794

      “With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” – James Madison, Letter to James Robertson, April 20, 1831 _Madison_ 1865, IV, pages 171-172

      “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” – Thomas Jefferson

      • Randy says:

        But Big Dog, we aren’t talking about the general welfare of individuals. We are talking about the general welfare of the country as a whole. A healthy population is important to the general welfare of the country, and access to affordable health care is key to that.

        • Big Dog says:

          An educated population is important to the welfare of the nation (but detrimental to the Democratic Party) but that does not mean everyone is entitled to a college education paid for by taxpayers and it does not mean the government, via the taxpayer, should buy everyone a computer and internet access.

          The whole issue of General Welfare has been bastardized so that every scheme is deployed with the caveat that it is for the general welfare of the nation.

          Democrats are always for the poor and have told us time and again they will solve this problem. We still have poor people after spending about 13 trillion on the war on poverty and the percentages are the same as they were 40 years ago. If the Democrats are so concerned and can fix the problems, why do we still have the problems?

        • Big Dog says:

          “Initially the supreme court resisted FDR’s New Deal welfare measures but when FDR threatened to get his way by stacking the court with new appointees loyal to him, the court caved in.”

          Interesting article on the heavy handedness of FDR and his mafia like tactics.

        • Darrel says:

          Bigd: “An educated population is important to the welfare of the nation (but detrimental to the Democratic Party)”>>

          Reality: higher education correlates with voting democrat (no surprise).

          “In states that voted for Kerry, the average percentage of college graduates is 30.177%.

          In states that voted for Bush, the average percentage of college graduates is 24.932%.”

          And: “red states occupy the bottom 10 places in the state ranking…”

          Education: Kryptonite To Republicans.

          Bigd: “We still have poor people after spending about 13 trillion on the war on poverty and the percentages are the same as they were 40 years ago.”>>

          Poverty rate in 1959: 22.5%

          Poverty rate in 2005: 12.6%

          Chart here.


          “Many religious beliefs decline as education level rises.”
          –George Gallup, The People’s Religion: American Faith in the 1990’s

    • Blake says:

      Actually, yes, he did say that. He specifically said that it (the Constitution) “said what we cannot do, but never addressed what can be done to address redistributive change.”
      No sh*t sherlock- because the founders did not believe in “redistributive change”- what a crock.
      My statement still stands- I cannot be found to be in violation of the law if I choose not to purchase this insurance, because I have not engaged in interstate commerce- and “promoting the general welfare” is a canard that will not hold up under scrutiny.

      • Randy says:

        Obama said in a radio interview (not a speech) that the Warren Court interpreted the U.S. Constitution as a document containing negative liberties, in that it outlines what the states can’t do to you and what the federal government can’t do to you. He went on to say that the Warren Court (era of the Supreme Court) never ventured into what the U.S. Constitution was able to provide on the behalf of the people, in the context of the Civil Rights movement.

        • Blake says:

          Simply because the Constitution is not supposed to make you healthy, wealthy and happy- it merely provides the OPPORTUNITIES to try and succeed- your success depends on your efforts, and even then you might fail- tough cookies- The Constitution only says enough about liberties, but nothing much about mandates, a political invention to buy votes.
          That is the whole ploy behind the Article one Section eight fiasco- Democrats especially use this to buy votes.
          It is a bogus issue.

        • Randy says:

          Context Blake. The interview was about the U.S. Constitution in it’s regard to the civil rights movement, not the document in general. What Obama was speaking of was that the Warren Court never addressed what could or should be done on behalf of the people, in the context of the civil rights movement. Clearly a large ethnic population of the US was wronged for a long time.

          Here is a link to the full audio of all the interviews and discussions Obama participated in on NPR around that time:

          You should listen to them instead of parroting other blogs. Open up your mind a little.

        • Blake says:

          You could stretch almost anything into the context of the Civil Rights movement, BUT NOT REDISTRIBUTIVE CHANGE- it is what it is, period.
          And when anyone, even the Sainted won talks about giving money I made to someone who did not earn it, I think that is wrong.
          If I choose to give it, then that is charity- when the government takes it, that’s extortion.
          No exceptions.

        • Randy says:

          Nothing was STRETCHED into the context of the civil rights movement. IT IS WHAT THE DISCUSSION WAS ABOUT. For Pete’s sake read the title of the program.

        • Blake says:

          Redistributive change of any kind is unconstitutional, because it interferes with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness- to the detriment of those on the losing end.
          It has nothing to do with civil rights- nothing at all.

        • Randy says:

          Clearly you haven’t listened to the discussion to which I linked and you have no intention of doing so. I don’t know why you insist on remaining ignorant of what was actually said. It’s a pretty interesting discussion. It’s also worth noting that it is an academic discussion of the history of how the constitution was and wasn’t applied to slavery and civil rights. It really isn’t advocating anything.

      • Randy says:

        As far as general welfare goes, you don’t get to decide. The SCOTUS does. And they have.

        • Big Dog says:

          I didn’t say I get to decide. I said we should look at what the Founders said because they wrote it and they tell us what they meant by what they wrote. We should look at what the Founders wrote and what the people who wrote amendments after the Founders were gone. They tell us what they want and what they mean.

          The SCOTUS acknowledged that it went against the Constitution in its decision in the 30s. Access to affordable health care is possible without government being involved. The lack of competition and government meddling in the industry are two big reasons for the costs. There is no reason for the government to overhaul the system. There is no Constitutional provision to allow them to do so and there certainly is no provision for them to mandate what we have to buy.

          I am also unable to find where they can force me to pay for someone else’s insurance.

          The general welfare of the country is not intended to be an intrusion into the lives of every individual and there is no argument that a healthy populace is somehow to the betterment of the country. In fact, too many government handouts have kept minority populations on the plantation. This is not good for the country.

          How did we get along for all those years before deciding that everyone was “entitled” to health care?

        • Blake says:

          Randy, read this article, and then try to say that everything is fine and dandy-

        • Randy says:

          I never said things were fine and dandy.

        • Blake says:

          True, but you are arguing for a mandate, as if that is a good and constitutional thing- it is neither, and will just pull everyone down to the same miserable level- that is not progress, nor is it fair to make some more miserable just to make some others a little less miserable.
          A rising tide floats all boats, and this is true with health insurance. The government does not need to be this involved.
          At this level, it is about control. Just as rape is not about the sex, it is about power and control, so is this- the pols version of rape.

        • Randy says:

          I am not really arguing for a mandate. I have said nothing in support of one. What I am arguing is that you are wrong about the constitutionality of one.

        • Blake says:

          No, actually, I am right about the Constitutionality of this. Even the Supreme Court admitted that they went against the document when they ruled as they did. They were wrong, and they will have to revisit that mistaken decision.

        • Randy says:

          The SCOTUS admitted no such thing.

        • Blake says:

          Yes, they did, in the 30s- but they did so when FDR threatened to pack the court – another demo thug-acceding under threat never makes good case law.

        • Randy says:

          Back it up with a link or something. I can’t simply take you at your word.

  2. Blake says:

    Here’s yet another view of the mandate issue, and how “unsettled” the law is-

  3. Mr Pink Eyes says:

    Unfortunately the Supreme Court has ruled before that a person who is not buying anything is in violation of the commerce clause because he isn’t. I apologize, I forget the case but you can google it, but a man was growing wheat for personal use and he was ruled in violation of the commerce clause because if he didn’t grow his own he MIGHT purchase it out of state.
    With rulings like that it is obvious that Pelosi and the others are not concerned with the constitution.

    • Blake says:

      True- but if you are not in possession of a product or service, you cannot be compelled to buy one. In that case, the man was growing his own wheat, but I am not growing my own insurance- therefore, I should not be in violation of the interstate commerce clause.
      At any rate, we will find out.