Bill Murchison

Not one, either, concerning other sudden discoveries of New Federal Rights. While the mainstream media gorge on commentary about contraception ("... birth control is not a frill that can be lightly dropped to avoid offending bishops" -- Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times), the underlying issue strains for attention. Where does the power to decree contraceptive coverage reside in the Constitution? Are there still limits to government power? Where? What are they? Hadn't we better find out pronto?

The pending Supreme Court case over the health care mandate is a facet of the federal power question. Just because somebody wants something and Congress is delighted to say yes, does that mean Congress has the power to say it? Such is the question at stake with regard to health care.

American liberalism's quest for new rights and privileges to offer voters is straining already the system's capacity to comply, and not just economically, though that's obviously a major question for a country whose president this week introduced a budget that happens to be a trifling $1.3 trillion in the red.

The second question is larger still: How do we endure as a land of liberty if the national government and its leaders can get by with doing as they like, when they like, for whom they like, never looking for justification apart from the nebulous desire to do good; never giving ground when blocked temporarily; ever finding new streams for their compassion and love of humanity?

In Obama's "contraception" game the stakes just keep growing -- power or liberty. Give the president some credit, even so. The cards he has heretofore been holding now lie on the table, face up for all to see.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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