Ken Connor

Under Obamacare the federal government is essentially dictating that people buy a product (health insurance) with the justification that "this product is not only good for you, it's good for everyone else." That's a pretty big step for a limited government of enumerated powers, which is what the federal government is supposed to be. Where Congress or the President derives the authority to determine the personal economic choices of the American people is unclear. One certainly doesn't find it in the text of the Constitution, and this is the rub. If the court upholds Obamacare, a precedent will be set by which the federal government will be emboldened and empowered to make laws based on what it decides is in the "best interests" of the American people – eat your veggies, take your vitamins, get your exercise, don't smoke, don't drink, drive a hybrid, buy only government-approved energy efficient light bulbs... The list goes on and on. That's why Justice Kennedy rightly noted that if Obamacare is upheld, the Court will be sanctioning a fundamental change in the way the federal government relates to the people.

Of course, advocates of Big Government and disciples of the Nanny State are hoping that's just exactly what the Court will do. They want an all powerful, benevolent Big Brother to tell the unwashed masses what's good for us and how we should live our lives, and they want this authority backed by the force of law.

All who love liberty – which includes the freedom to make what some might perceive as "poor" choices – should be concerned about the outcome of this case. It's about so much more than healthcare; it's about the role and size of government and the basic right for American citizens to decide how to live their own lives. It's also about checks and balances and the meaning of the Constitution.

The Court is expected to rule in June. How will the justices ultimately decide? At this point no one knows for sure; however one thing is certain: This ruling will affect how future generations of Americans perceive what it means to be a "free" citizen in the good 'old U.S. of A.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.