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Supreme Court to Decide Between Upholding the Individual Mandate or Upholding the Constitution

Votes by Supreme Court justices on the individual mandate will be informative. To support it requires ignoring the Constitution. If we have honest justices the vote will be 9-0 to strike it down.

I think many people are being too harsh on Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s performance trying to make the case for the individual mandate in Obamacare.

Yes he looked foolish in his arguments before the Supreme Court, but to be fair the mental gymnastics required to explain how this law is constitutional are beyond anyone’s capability. To buy his argument, he needs to convince a group of people sworn to uphold and interpret the constitution, to ignore what it says and 200 years of precedent. If we have honest Supreme Court justices the individual mandate should be struck down 9-0.  However many are suggesting four justices are willing to ignore the constitution and uphold the mandate. I would hope that is not true, but if it is it means we are perilously close to having a majority on the Supreme Court with no respect for the U.S. Constitution. Also, if this is true, the death of one of five people while Obama is president would shift the court to the majority favoring removing any restraint on the power of the Federal Government.

Many conservatives, like Mark Levin, have argued we are living in a post-constitutional America. I tend to agree that the courts have allowed the federal government to expand it’s powers past what the constitution allows. Upholding the individual mandate would eliminate any pretense of the decision being based on the Constitution. To declare that the federal government has the power to mandate the individual has to engage in commerce for no other reason than that they exist, would be to declare almost no limit to the power of the federal government. This would be a step so far that no rational person could argue we are not living in a post-constitutional America.

For now we must wait to see, but if we get any votes to uphold the mandate we need to ensure any future president would chose justices that support the Constitution.  This alone would be reason enough Obama should not be re-elected, even if he had not failed miserably in every other aspect of the job such as energy policy, budgets, protecting entitlements from bankruptcy, foreign policy, etc. The positive side is if the Obama appointees vote to uphold the mandate, it will make it clear to those who have not seen the obvious to this point, that Obama, like all progressives, has no respect for the Constitution.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Menoparent April 03, 2012 at 01:20 PM
The Republican were all for this idea years ago before they were against it now. This is not about being constitutional, it's about politics more than anything else. It's about saying "no, to Obama" on everything. If Obama said the sky was blue, the Republicans would say he's wrong and he should be taken out of office for it. If president Bush had gotten his way with privatizing social security against our will, we would have all lost big including the government. Romney keeps saying that we shouldn't have this mandate, but he is also worried that others will get the insurance after they find out they are sick. The mandate fixes this and keeps preexisting conditions covered. Romney thinks it's your own fault if you don't have insurance and that taxpayers shouldn't help these people. Let them die? If healthcare mandate is unconstitutional then so is the social security program.
The Anti-Alinsky April 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Menoparent, I don't know of ANY Republican that was for mandating health care. Most Conservatives recognized that one of the causes of the growing cost of health care was uninsured patients. However, most of the solution I heard coming from the right side of the aisle was to incentivise health insurance. Best example is Paul Ryan's proposal to allow the full amount of any health insurance as a tax credit, not just a deduction. Also, the years have allowed time for reflection, and just about any Republican than one supported mandated health care have seen it's conflict with the Constitution. Originally Social Security was optional. Over the years it grew into the massive mandated program you see today. Which make it another great reason Republican's don't want mandated health insurance.
St. Swithin April 03, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Wow. The highest judges in the land are engaged in deep debate about this issue, but Bryant has it all figured out. What a genius! Funny, though, I don't see any reference to the part of the Constitution that actually bans the healthcare law. Nor do I see any reference to all the previous Supreme Court decisions that upheld the Commerce Clause. And why did a majority of lower courts decide in favor of Obamacare? It must be nice to live in Bryant's world.
St. Swithin April 03, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Dear Anti-Alinsky, Do a little research - In 1993 Republicans Proposed a Mandate http://tiny.cc/21y6bw Ryan's plan to substitute vouchers for Medicare does nothing to reduce medical costs and greatly increases the deficit. It's a joke. See http://tiny.cc/taz6bw.
Menoparent April 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM
AWD, the majority of Americans say they are against Obamacare, but when asked about the individual parts about it (pre-x, their kids being able to stay on their plan till 26), they like it! Americans are being misinformed as usual about the facts.
Menoparent April 03, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Also, without the mandate, it is costing about $1000 to every family each year more for their healthcare because of those that don't have insurance.
Randy1949 April 03, 2012 at 02:40 PM
@Anti-Alinsky -- Please explain to me how even a tax credit would help a person making $20,000 a year pay for a $15,000 private family health plan (and that's if everyone is healthy) and still eat.
AudiFan April 03, 2012 at 02:51 PM
26 year old slacker kids...I don't want to pay for them.
Randy1949 April 03, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Face it, AudiFan, you don't want to pay for anyone who doesn't have a job or who has a job that doesn't provide health coverage. They're all 'slackers' who don't deserve healthcare anyway. It might mean a longer time in the doctor's waiting room for you worthy types. I don't want to pay for Joe Bob Duggar's second through nineteenth kids or Rick Santorum's second through ninth, but that's not the way it works. We all pay one way or the other.
Mike April 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM
If ObamaCare is bad because it grants vast power to the federal government then why didn't Americans come out and protest the Patriot Act which is the most disturbing law enacted by our government ever. It gives the govt. 100 times the power to do things like unreasonable searches and seizures of your financial, medical etc. documents. They can listen to your phone calls without a subpoena...come on it is juts anti Obama not anti govt. because you would have protested this act also.
Jay Sykes April 03, 2012 at 03:15 PM
@Randy... They wouldn't need the tax credit, they would be eligible for Medicaid.
Randy1949 April 03, 2012 at 03:50 PM
@Jay Sykes -- Am I wrong then that you can't own assets above a certain limit and still be eligible for Medicaid? Back when I was grossing $14,000 a year we had savings which precluded me. It's true -- if you don't have anything significant to your name to lose in a medical bankruptcy, there's no reason to worry. For me, it was my son's college fund.
Craig April 03, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Randy you are correct. I believe the limit is $2000 worth of assets for Medicaid, whereas Medicare is different. It doesn't take much of anything to amount to $2000- even small cash value life insurance policies count toward this. This is one of my biggest concerns about NHC, what will it morph into? I can forsee someone who loses a battle with Cancer having their life insurance money siezed to pay for te medical care.
Jay Sykes April 03, 2012 at 05:06 PM
@Randy... I didn't know the answer to your question,as there are so, so many pieces to Medicaid and social services/financial aid. So,I googled 'asset test for badgercare'. Apparently, no asset test exists for Badgercare;it looks like an asset test exists for food-stamps http://www.co.columbia.wi.us/ColumbiaCounty/hhs/DepartmentServices/FinancialAssistance/BadgerCare/tabid/760/Default.aspx
Randy1949 April 03, 2012 at 05:10 PM
@Craig -- Since having all your assets seized to pay for an illness is often what happens anyway . . . Without the ACA, your health insurance company can drop you after years of you paying premiums while you were healthy. Or they can raise your rates until you're effectively dropped. Because when you're sick, you can't work. You lose your job and you lose your ability to pay high premiums.
Craig April 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Good point Randy... If you don't have two nickels to rub together, you are almost better off. Health Insurance Companies should be banned from selling plans that allow them the option to not renew based on claims. But they can jack the rates to do effectively the same thing anyway.
Randy1949 April 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM
@Craig -- Couple that with the fact that major illnesses are ongoing over the course of many years, rather than a one-time occurrence like a house fire or an auto accident. Insurance companies will drop you for those too, but the main expense has already happened. With a disease like cancer or ALS, the major expenses are yet to come. I have internet friends from all over the world, and I'm often called upon to defend our health system to them. I say that the very rich and the very poor are taken care of. For the middle-class it's tenuous, and for certain people, who have something to lose like a house or life savings but not enough income to cover ourselves, we fall through the cracks.
James R Hoffa April 03, 2012 at 06:14 PM
@Randy1949 - If you self insure like Hoffa does, then you aren't paying for anybody but yourself. You can often times negotiate cash rates with doctors under the table, as I have often done and refuse to work with a doctor that won't negotiate a cash rate for their services. I thought that's what you were doing as well, isn't it?
Johnny Blade April 05, 2012 at 02:32 AM
So the government can force anyone to buy any product .. that is totally unconstitutional .. what freakin planet do you live on .. go research the original intent of the commerce clause instead of making yourself look stupid
Johnny Blade April 05, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I am a fat, snack eatin, soda drinkin couch potatoe .. wheres my free health care .. i love it when the government comes with guns to force you hard workin health eatin skinny punks to pay for my health care and i go to the ER regulary .. smell the FREEDOM this is the new AmeriKA
Bert April 05, 2012 at 07:48 PM
The Individual Mandate as a means of providing more affordable health care to all Americans originated from the conservative Heritage Foundation. Four different bills that included an individual mandate to purchase healthcare insurance, sponsored or co-sponsored by Republicans, have been introduced in Congress since 1993. To Constitution, through the Commerce Clause, DOES give the Federal government broad powers to regulate interstate commerce. Without it, the US would be no different than the EU. Clearly, Republicans up until 2009 also believed that an individual mandate on health insurance was Constitutional, and a great way to transfer the responsibility of paying for health care to each individual. Of course, health care is not the only place where Republicans want to force individuals to purchase something. The plan to privatize Social Security is also entirely dependent on a MANDATE on each individual to purchase investment services. Paul Ryan's Medicare privatization plan ALSO depends on an individual mandate for all seniors to purchase health care, otherwise his "solution" would cost more than the Medicare plan he seeks to replace. Should the right-wing extremists (who overturned a century of precedent in Citizen's United) rule against the individual mandate, it will do far more harm to Republican solutions, resulting in ideas like single-payer being the only viable options in the future.
Randy1949 April 05, 2012 at 07:54 PM
@Johnny Blade -- It's the overweight couch potatoes like you who skew the health statistics and associated risks as age increases so that I'd have to pay through the nose for even high deductible catastrophic coverage despite my excellent health and BMI. So who's leeching off whom?
Bert April 05, 2012 at 08:00 PM
In case you want to read about the Republican love affair with the individual mandate, and begin to understand just how far off the rails to the right this party has gone: http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004182

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