Perhaps no piece of legislation in modern American history has been so roundly rebuffed by the public, then the “Affordable Care Act”. An unpresented majority of Americans after one year of this bills passing, still believe that ObamaCare, if implemented, will cost jobs, hurt the economy, and cost more than projected.
However, aside from this being a flawed piece of legislation, to many Americans (myself included), ObamaCare is simply unconstitutional. The issue currently in the hands of the Supreme Court, is whether the federal government under the Commerce Clause can mandate and or force either the states or individual citizens into purchasing a product and or a service; they may or may not want.
At stake is the very essence of a free and open society, imbedded within the fabric and framework of our Constitution that our inalienable rights as individuals could not be usurped and or mandated by a federal and or centralized government.
Ironically our founders had envisioned a day when perhaps those principles would be challenged by the executive branch; they understood that human nature would eventually push a chief executive or congress to overreach and ignore the principles of checks and balances, set forth within the Constitution, and that an attempt by either branch to consolidate power through bad legislation.
Our Founders were so concerned about the separation of powers and limited government intervention that they wrote countless memorandums on the subject.
“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America”.
James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792.
This summer the Supreme Court will render its decision on whether ObamaCare is constitutional or not, and although legal minds may differ as to its application of the Commerce Clause, one thing is certain, and I believe Justice Kennedy expressed it best
"Creating commerce to regulate it…changes the relationship of the federal government to the people in a very fundamental way.”