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Let’s be real here.
Do you really think these lawsuits have a single winning argument? And, frankly, since when do state attorneys general have standing in matters like this? Frankly, I think opponents of health care reform are getting desperate. This is a futile attempt to waste money on frivolous lawsuits and get some press.
Here is why I think these lawsuits have no chance. First, let’s examine this from the legal perspective. You claim that it’s unconstitutional for the government to mandate that Americans buy health insurance and that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause – which allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce – does not allow this. Looking at post-1930’s case law, I think that will be a very difficult argument to back up.
The court has given a great amount of power to Congress to regulate all sorts of activities – including farming for personal use and growing medicinal marijuana for one’s own purposes – even though it may appear to some that these activities have nothing to do with interstate commerce. So what’s going to be different about health care insurance? I think most constitutional scholars agree with me on this one.
But beyond that, many of your allies are claiming this violates
citizens’ personal freedoms. Well, I hate to break it to them, but
Congress has impinged on alleged and imaginary “personal freedoms” for the greater good of
society throughout modern history. Think about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 –
didn’t Congress and then the Supreme Court “force” restaurant owners to serve minorities? And what about the fact that not even Justice Scalia thinks that some regulation of guns is permitted even under his expansive view of the Second Amendment?
But I’m not surprised at this last-ditch attempt by your friends. For
the past few weeks, the Right has been grasping for anything to stir up
emotion and controversy over this reform. On Friday, I appeared
on MSNBC’s “The Ed Schultz Show” to discuss Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
and Glenn Beck’s outrage over the fact that Congress was taking the
health care vote on a Sunday, the Sabbath. Beck claimed this was “an affront to God” and King claimed Congress is trying to take away “the liberty that we have right from God.”
Give me a break. Beck and King, just like these frivolous lawsuits over
health care reform, are severely misguided, to put it mildly.
First, Congress doesn’t decide what to do and when to do things
based on anyone’s claims about God. Indeed even Christians can’t agree on what period of time the “Sabbath” is.
Second, as ThinkProgress accurately pointed out,
on Palm Sunday in 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to allow
a federal court to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. The House was called back to Washington for debate that day and passed the bill on Monday, just after midnight. I don’t remember
hearing any such complaints then.
Jay, it’s time to give it a rest. This bill is now law. This isn’t all of what I wanted as health care reform, but it is what we have. Let’s see what it achieves.
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