Free Markets, Free People


Federal Judge: HCR Mandate is Constitutional

U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh has ruled that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance is a constitutional exercise of Congress’ power under the commerce clause.

The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market…

As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check. How participants in the health care services market pay for such services has a documented impact on interstate commerce…

Obviously, this market reality forms the rational basis for Congressional action designed to reduce the number of uninsureds.

The Supreme Court has consistently rejected claims that individuals who choose not to engage in commerce thereby place themselves beyond the reach of the Commerce Clause. See, e.g., Raich, 545 U.S. at 30 (rejecting the argument that plaintiffs’ home-grown marijuana was “entirely separated from the market”); Wickard, 317 U.S. at 127, 128 (home-grown wheat “competes with wheat in commerce” and “may forestall resort to the market”); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) (Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate decisions not to engage in transactions with persons with whom plaintiff did not wish to deal).

The logical extensions of this ruling, if it were to stand, are obvious.  For instance, since everyone inevitably dies, Congress can require you to purchase life insurance, or a pre-paid funeral services.  Similarly, we all eat, wear clothes, etc.

Essentially, this decision gives power the Congress to regulate practically any area of human necessity.

Here’s something I’ve been re-reading a lot, lately:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

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11 Responses to Federal Judge: HCR Mandate is Constitutional

  • How does a man like this become a judge???  What mandate of Congress WOULDN’T he find constitutional???

    As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive.

    No, dumba**, THEY didn’t make a choice about how they wanted to pay for their health care: it was made FOR THEM by the Congress.  Good heavens, this smacks of a banana republic or communist dictatorship.

  • The problem is not this stupid judge, the problem is, as he corerctly asserts, that the Supreme Court has long ruled that the Interstate Commerce Clause can effectivly render all of the rest of the constitution null and void.

    In other words, this jackass judge is only stating the obvious, that we already live in a tyranny. At least a de facto one if not de jure.

  • It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

    It looks like you’ve been reading some radical stuff again.  Be careful; you don’t want to get in trouble.

  • Imagine an America where prostitution is legal. Congress would have the power to regulate how often (if ever) you would be allowed to have sex with your spouse. Sex at home could affect the prostitution market. Then there’s that whole masturbation problem that would need to be addressed….

    • Already there – contraception in the form of pills and lotions and condoms are manufactured by companies in some states and sold in others.

      And now that government is in charge of your health care, and paying for abortions….pretty obvious.

  • It appears that the tree of liberty could stand some serious watering right about now.

  • One wonders what impact this will have when corporate entities come to understand that it would now be possible to have legislation passed that could make them a monopoly (or put them out of business) with a single vote of each chamber on Capitol Hill.
    Imagine if Pepsi is legislated to be the “cola that must be bought by Americans.”  Coke would have to fold it’s tent.

  • Oh look, there’s Raich again.
    This line shows just how rotten things are:

    The Supreme Court has consistently rejected claims that individuals who choose not to engage in commerce thereby place themselves beyond the reach of the Commerce Clause.

    His quote above could have been written by a critic, but it was written by a practitioner — the way they reach their conclusions being so unreasoning that it’s beyond parody.  “If we can regulate commerce, we can regulate abstention from commerce. In other words, we can control everything you do.”

    We desperately need judges to cut through bad precedent, faster than the precedent was created. If our opponents want a compromise, our starting position should be bolder than theirs, so that things move in the direction of greater fidelity to the Constitution, not less.  Work within the constraints of the words as they were understood at the time the language was passed (and there may have been some disagreement), even if the consequences seem absurd.  There’s just no ignoring the obvious purpose of Article V, even if they’re foolish enough not to understand the purpose of enumerating powers and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

  • Guess the guys who interpret the Constitution understand it better than the guys who wrote it.

    Who knew.

  • I’ve been in several internet discussions of the commerce clause. What the other side’s claim comes down to is that the government <i>needs </i>the ability to regulate things that <i>effect </i>interstate commerce.

    The Constitution doesn’t say they have that power. It simply says they can regulated commerce among the several states, but nowhere does it state that it can regulate anything that effects this commerce. But, since the feds need this power, it is granted to them.

    And here we are.

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