Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Bob Morrison.
In Washington this week, a rare drama is unfolding in the U.S. Supreme Court. The momentous question that is before the court is this: Shall we be Citizens or Subjects?
The high court is considering a historic challenge by twenty-six states to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. Hundreds of people have stood in line, some of them overnight in the chill March air, to get inside. Our colleague, Ken Klukowski, was one of those fortunate few. We are relying on Ken’s reporting and also on the impressions of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Ken Klukowski reports what was perhaps the critical exchange in the three-day oral arguments. Justice Anthony Kennedy is widely viewed as the pivotal figure in this case.
His vote is essential to any likely 5-4 ruling. Kennedy mildly said that this health care legislation “changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in a very fundamental way.” With this statement, Klukowski hopefully reports, “the individual mandate—the centerpiece of ObamaCare—is likely doomed.”
We agree, with Ken Klukowski and with Justice Kennedy. It is noteworthy that press reports already capitalize “Federal Government” and lower-case the word individual.
The next question, of course, is exactly how will ObamaCare change the relationship of the Federal Government and the individual?
Thomas Jefferson provided the answer. The National Archives announced with some excitement over the Independence Day weekend in 2010 that they had discovered an early draft of the Declaration of Independence. In it, young Mr. Jefferson scratched through the word Subjects and wrote in the word Citizens.
Archivists instructed us on the importance of the change. They invited us to go through that mental process with Thomas Jefferson as he and we became Citizens of a republic for the first time.
Was this amazing event on the nation’s birthday a portent? The National Archives made this announcement on the first Fourth of July after the passage of ObamaCare. It’s almost as if we were receiving a message from on high. SHALL WE BE CITIZENS OR SUBJECTS?
Why is this so? America is not like other countries. Ronald Reagan understood why America is exceptional. He offered these words in his Farewell Address to the nation in 1989.