Thursday, July 7, 2011

Holy Fucking Fuckity Fuck!

FLG was reading a post over at Mrs. P's place and almost lost his fucking mind. In fact, Mrs. P posted a transcript and FLG didn't quite believe people had said what the transcript said they said, so he watched the video she posted, and holy fuck are people fucking stupid.

George Will asks, in an effort to prove that the commerce clause interpretation has gone to far, whether Congress has the constitutional power to mandate that obese people sign up for Weight Watchers since obesity affects interstate commerce.

First up, Richard Stengel:
RICHARD STENGEL, TIME MAGAZINE: Justice Vincent's opinion about Obamacare, saying that the government can't regulate inactivity and that we're stretching the Commerce Clause too far. I mean, I think it's kind of silly. Everything having to do with healthcare does cross state boundaries. Even that notion of the Commerce Clause as regulating among the states is a kind of antiquarian idea. The government can ask you to do things. It asks us to --

WILL: It's not asking us, it's mandating.

STENGEL: It asks us to pay our taxes. It asks us to register for the draft. It asks us to buy car insurance if we want to drive our car around.

Holy fucking shit! FLG has read the Constitution, so he knows that the Constitution provides explicitly for the these powers. Congress, for example, "shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excise." Crystal clear. It is an enumerated power.

The draft isn't explicitly mentioned, but congress has the power to "provide for the common Defence," "To raise and support Armies," "To provide and maintain a Navy," "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces," "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions," and "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

Car insurance is a state issue, not a federal one, so it avoids constitutional issues. (Although, people drive across state lines everyday and its arguably even more integral to interstate commerce than health care.)

Look, FLG gets the argument for why health care reform falls under the concept of regulating commerce "among the several States." But the question about where the slippery slope ends is valid. Never before has the federal government required that a citizen buy a private product, and if that line is crossed, then where precisely does power stop?

And the answer seems to be, well, it doesn't have a limit. To repeat, Stengel says, "Even that notion of the Commerce Clause as regulating among the states is a kind of antiquarian idea."

And then you get to Dyson, whom FLG is sad to admit is a Georgetown professor, who says, "If they decide that they will, they will have the power to do so."

The most generous reading FLG can give this statement involves lazy pronoun use, such that Dyson really meant:
If the [Supreme Court] decide that [Congress] will [have the power], [Congress] will have the power to do so.

That's at least some sort of limit. Institutional checks and balances.

But if you watch the video, the way they are arguing, it doesn't seem as if that's the case. It seems as if both Stengel and Dyson are contemptuous of enumerated and limited powers as some relic of the past that is standing the way of obvious progress.

FLG feels like he's in fucking crazy town. There are looney people on TV.

3 comments:

Alpheus said...

Amen. I saw this on Sunday and my reaction was pretty much the same (maybe with an extra "fuckity").

Somehow, I doubt that, if the Court strikes down the health care bill, these same people will still take the position that the Constitution is whatever the justices say it is.

Anonymous said...

"There are looney people on TV."

Don't forget the loonies who passed the bill.

Mrs. P

George Pal said...

It sounds stupid because Gnostic attacks on tradition, meaning, and meaningfulness, i.e., reality, naturally seem stupid to the sane.

Yet in all dead earnestness they proceed, most recently with “marriage” in New York. Why would they break off the attack at the Constitution? If they gave the document any consideration it would be only as a relic of an unenlightened past. If the law of the land is to survive in the future it had better start sounding stupid as well - as it did in the Kelo decision, entangling the meaning of “private” and “public” in some quantum hoaxus-pocus.

“With five votes around here you can do anything.” - Justice William Brennan

And don’t they know it.

 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.