Another Creative Way To Pretend A Public Mandate Is Constitutional

Posted: Dec 17, 2009 4:01 PM
This one's from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). The Constitution “charges Congress with the health and well-being of the people," according to Lincoln.

Unfortunately, as CNS News points out, "the words 'health' and 'well-being' do not appear anywhere in the Constitution."

Congress' own Budget Office has determined that the U.S. has never required Americans to buy any good or service. But the Supreme Court still might rule the mandate to purchase insurance as constitutional. National Journal's Stuart Taylor Jr. explains why:
It's true that the proposed mandate, like much else that congress has done since the New Deal, would extend federal powers far beyond anything envisioned by the Framers. The commerce clause, in particular, was not intended to allow Congress to regulate activities that were neither interstate nor commercial.

But the need to govern an ever-more interconnected nation, in which once-local activities such as health care have become critical components of the national economy, has spawned a long line of precedents expanding the commerce power, especially since the justices began upholding New Deal programs in 1937.
As Taylor points out, whether those precedents are justified is an entirely separate matter.