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 AUTHOR
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 301
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History
Is it possible to get a straight answer out of this Dem slime?Page 13 of 46    (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46)
I see that as usual, you fall back on angry personal attacks to fill in where your vapid arguments fail. Having seen how deep your knowledge of constitutional law runs, I'm not surprised you didn't try to make the legal case for this bill--you couldn't if your life depended on it. I think you're insulting everyone who opposes this bill because you're a little worried it will never be accepted--like a a fighter who doubts he can cut it when the bell rings, and tries to hide it by staring and talking smack while the referee's giving his instructions.


I know it just galls you people that a black man is president.


It's interesting that you'd bring up the President's race in a discussion where no one had mentioned it. I've heard the people who are the most likely to see racial prejudice in everything are often racially prejudiced themselves. From what I've seen, that's true.


Remember how the republicans made out when they impeached Clinton? What the public thought of that? Do you seriously think the public thinks highly of the fear mongering coming from the fringe right?


Given Mr. Obama's approval rating, I see no reason to be so sure a Republican-dominated House wouldn't try to impeach him. I don't know what you mean by "fear-mongering" and the "fringe right." If you're misusing "fringe right" to refer to fascist ideas--as people with your political views often seem to--I say your own advocacy of strong central control and obvious disregard for the rights of anyone you disagree with are both far more characteristic of fascism.

I've studied the techniques of 1950's Soviet propaganda, and it used terms a lot like yours to discredit people who disagreed with the party line. You've shown your contempt for freedom of speech before. That's pretty predictable for statists--they rely on people to be dim and dull, and genuflect at the brilliance of their social engineering schemes. They don't like anyone to think or question the legitimacy of their totalitarian visions, because they know they can't defend them.
 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 302
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 9:51:25 AM
Now please quit with the insults as you know nothing about my life or where I live.


...but it's easier to insult others behind the safety of a monitor



Name calling is also a whole lot easier than citing credible sources ...LMAO
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 303
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 10:41:50 AM

Everyone will have the option to buy personal health coverage. Everyone will have the option to buy their own health coverage.


I'm not sure what you're referring to. As I understand this law, it allows people to do only one of three things: First, buy a government-approved health care policy; second, pay a tax instead of buying a policy; third, if they don't do either one, face prosecution by the IRS and possibly the Justice Dept. for tax evasion. I don't see anything there I'd call "optional." It's like saying someone who's being blackmailed has a "choice" between paying the blackmailer and being exposed.

It's a testimony to the ability of statists to hoodwink people that younger people support this bill as much as they do, because it doesn't serve their financial interests. As a group, they use far fewer medical services than the elderly. From what I've read, it's likely most of them will choose the tax penalty instead of paying for coverage. The result? Each one of them will be paying a certain amount out of pocket for someone else's medical care. And contrary to the picture the politicians try to paint to promote these programs --poor old neglected grandma, cold and alone, eating pet food out of the can and unable to pay for her medicines--the elderly have the highest per capita disposable income of any age group in this country.

I'm all for charity--but the people being taxed to support this program could have voluntarily donated their money, rather than having the federal government force them by law to cough it up. It isn't publicized much, but an lot of money is donated for medical expenses every year by individuals, churches, private and religious charities, foundations--and pharmaceutical companies. These companies all have programs to pay for medication for those who absolutely can't afford it. Whatever money government collects from people in taxes is that much less that's available to fund these non-government donors.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 304
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 11:56:35 AM

you can buy your own insurance. You are not forced to be on the Gov. plan.


I don't know why that would matter, because even if you buy your own, it has to meet the government's requirements. And what you *cannot* choose to do is neither to buy health insurance nor pay a tax penalty. So Mr. Obama can say all he wants that no one's forced to be one the government plan, but the part he's carefully leaving out is that this law requires almost everyone to be on *some* plan the government approves. If this President and other politicians who promoted this scheme think socialized medicine is so wonderful, why did they make sure this law exempted them?
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 305
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 1:46:22 PM
I imagine trying to explain the benefits of civil liberties to the average North Korean would be something like this. But with one big difference--in that case, they just wouldn't be able to understand the concept. I think most of the people who want to create a totalitarian government in the U.S., though, understand exactly what they're doing. They're just so greedy to use the law to steal other people's money that they don't care if, in the process, they ruin this country and cost us all our individual liberties.

That's exactly the kind of disorder the Constitution was designed to prevent, but I can only see two ways to set things right--by electing new people to Congress, and (more difficult) by impeaching this President. That wouldn't undo this law, but it would leave him unable to get any others like it passed. The courts may do something about it, but that's a poor solution. Barring some crisis, the process is very slow. And it's an uphill battle, because as part of respecting the separation of powers, courts presume legislative acts are valid. It will be up to the parties filing these suits to prove this Act violated something in the Constitution.

What's really dangerous about this is the precedent it will set. If the courts let it stand, I can't see how there will be any limits at all on Congress' power. It would be the first time in the history of this country that a federal law forced individual Americans to buy something to promote interstate commerce.

If that's now the rule, what's to prevent a federal law requiring every American to buy a new GM car--maybe an electric one--or pay a tax penalty instead, to improve air quality, stimulate our economy, or serve some other good and wonderful purpose? And if Congress can invade our privacy this far to promote health, why not further yet?

How about a law requiring us all to buy only government-approved groceries, and imposing a tax penalty for those willful individuals who insist on imposing higher health care costs on the rest of the pool by eating candy, cookies, ice cream, and Big Macs? (Don't they realize their government knows what's best for them??) Maybe the law could also fund a few propaganda films, showing cute little children shunning the harmful ice cream and cake little Billy's insensitive, reactionary mother (the directorate has noted her offense in its records) has provided at his party, and going to Susie's instead, where, bright-eyed and smiling, everyone is feasting on nutritious, wholesome carrot sticks, tofu squares, and carob-buckwheat bars.

The Supreme Court actually used to enforce the Constitution against federal laws that took away people's property. Between 1904 and 1937, it overruled more than *two hundred* of them. The Great Depression brought in Roosevelt in 1933. The centerpiece of his New Deal was the National Recovery Act (NRA), which gave FDR power to control almost the entire U.S. economy--the sort of power Mussolini and Hitler had. And in 1935, the Court held the NRA was an unconstitutional delegation of Congress' legislative power to the Executive Branch.

Roosevelt was determined not to let a few old geezers on the Court get in his way. So he proposed a law tailored to force certain Justices to retire, and to allow him to nominate enough new ones to make a total of twelve, instead of nine. The Court got the message loud and clear--one or two of the Justices retired, and in 1937, it began to interpret Congress' powers (especially to regulate interstate commerce) very broadly. Almost anything was OK. And the Court's pretty much stuck to that line ever since, except for a couple decisions in the 1990's where it held Congress had gone too far. Whether the Court would ever hear a challenge to this law, who knows? That will probably depend a lot on what happens with the November elections, efforts to repeal the law, etc.


Here is the letter I mentioned, explaining why Rep. Weiner is a flagrant liar:

http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/JCTletter110509.pdf
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 306
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 2:23:13 PM
[quote[You mean like the right wingers who jammed through the bush tax cuts for the wealthy at the cost of everyone else AND BY RECONCILLIATION NO LESS? Leading to a trillion dollar deficit.

I assume you got that from the same book of myths you base your other remarks on. I would have thought it was pretty basic economics that reducing taxes on one group of taxpayers doesn't necessarily cost the rest of them anything, and it may help them. If reducing the income tax rate causes the whole economy to grow--which more than once it has--it also increases the total tax revenues collected, and everyone benefits. While that tax policy may have led to the current deficit in your mind, there's no evidence it had that effect in reality.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 307
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Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 3:26:01 PM
^^^^^Or in Florence, Colorado, in the sub-basement of the Supermax, next to a few of the jihadists he feels so much sympathy for.
 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 308
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 4:21:16 PM

He's a peach, in a sane world he'd be selling drugs to losers on the near west side of Chicago.


tell us how you really feel...
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 309
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 6:46:50 PM
^^^^^Thirty-some years of indoctrinating kids in public schools to believe this country's so wicked it's barely worth defending had to take its toll eventually. Having studied their U.S. history out of texts like the late Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the U.S." has turned a lot of them into North Korean-style zombies. There are certain things they all "know," which you'll hear over and over, on these threads and elsewhere. Here are a few:

America has been a racist country right from the start--hey, the Founding Fathers had slaves. Actually, it's like original sin. What hypocrites they all were! Even today, racism is a big problem, and that's why the federal government has got to be involved in favoring minorities. (Reparations would be nice, too.) And today, when right-wingers criticize and disagree with President Obama, it's mostly because of his race. As if it weren't bad enough to treat African-Americans that way, Americans had to go and steal the whole country from the Native Americans. The New World was like a paradise until Columbus came. Everyone was peaceful and got along and respected the environment, but when the conquistadors came here with their guns, they just slaughtered them and took everything they had.

We should all be more considerate of other people in the world who are not like us. If this country weren't so full of stupid, know-nothing white-bread people who looked down on Muslims and made them feel icky, 9/11 never would have happened. (That's why they don't bother the Europeans--if only we could be more like them!) Sure, it was probably a mistake on their part, but people can only take so much! And the big thing is that they've learned from their mistake. I think they know now that hitting is *never* the answer--just like I remember the teacher told us in third grade. It's a great thing our President now is trying to apologize to them. They're still mad at us, but you just watch what that grin and some bowing and scraping can do!

This has always been a war-mongering country full of right-wing nuts. Just look at how they put all those poor Japanese-Americans into concentration camps--typical racist war fever. Tens of thousands of them died there from torture, but the government hid the bodies and covered it all up. And nuking those cities in Japan--can you say "overkill?" The war was over, and they wanted to surrender--but oh, no, America couldn't have that.

So they murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people just because they wanted to impress Joe Stalin with their new toy. That was a war crime! It was bad enough that all those GI's tortured Japanese soldiers--that's where Bush and Cheney got the idea of waterboarding. Totally wrong--you never hear of any Japanese soldiers doing all that stuff, because unlike us Americans, they respected the Geneva Convention.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 310
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 7:00:16 PM
Hmmm ... I'm not sure what purpose this sort of mischaracterization of the multiculturalist position serves, except to make the choir on the right feel righteous.
 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 311
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 7:02:05 PM
Thirty-some years of indoctrinating kids in public schools to believe this country's so wicked it's barely worth defending had to take its toll eventually. Having studied their U.S. history out of texts like the late Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the U.S."




Some of us were not lucky enough to have lived during historical moments like the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I bet you were there and have the t-shirt to prove it.

 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 312
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 9:19:33 PM
Can anyone give me an example of something else equal to this that the government does?


Unfortunately health problems/emergencies are never planned. In my opinion, every citizen should have health insurance. The idea is protection, not infringement.

Here are a few examples of reforms in the past:

The landmark Sheppard-Towner legislation of 1921 gave the federal government a leadership role in providing services for individual citizens, reversing the longstanding Pierce doctrine of laissez-faire.

Sheppard-Towner established federal matching grants to states in support of maternal and child health. At a time when many states lacked state health departments or even a system for issuing birth certificates, Sheppard-Towner clinics staffed by public health nurses gave young mothers access to professional advice about their babies' health and nutrition.

The Children's Bureau, a federal agency established in 1912, proclaimed the principle that all children had a right to health care, including dental care.



John
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 313
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/25/2010 10:56:12 PM

The Children's Bureau, a federal agency established in 1912, proclaimed the principle that all children had a right to health care, including dental care.


So what? My cat proclaims his right to dinner, too, by making lots of noise. Nothing an agency staffed by unelected bureaucrats "proclaims" is worth a bowl of hot spit as legal authority.

I have no idea what the 1921 Act you cited has to do with this health care bill. Congress's power to spend would have given it clear authority to provide matching grants to states to help them pay for medical services for women and children. Nothing remarkable about that.

But no court in this country has ever held that the Constitution authorizes Congress to force anyone to buy anything. If it really does have that authority, it means there's no limit at all to what we can be forced by federal law to buy or prohibited from buying, under the threat of criminal penalties. Our clothes, our food--anything. That is tyranny. Anyone who thinks I'm overstating the case is welcome to tell me what would limit Congress' power to do what I describe.


The idea is protection, not infringement.


It doesn't matter what the purpose of this legislation was, or whether it's good public policy for citizens to have medical insurance. This isn't Cuba or North Korea. Here, our national government has no authority to decide what's good for *anyone.* That's OUR call. But even the people can't violate the Constitution. Say most Americans got sick of the time and expense of serving on juries and lobbied their congressmen to make a federal law eliminating jury trials in criminal cases. Every single member of both Houses of Congress voted for it, and the President signed it. It would still be nothing but so much paper, because it would violate the Sixth Amendment.

The Supreme Court doesn't uphold laws because they think they're a good idea, or because the legislators who enacted them had good intentions, flossed daily, or helped old ladies across the street. It doesn't matter if a law has the finest, noblest purpose imaginable, if it violates the U.S. constitution. That's why this is a nation of laws, and not a nation of slaves, where everyone's life is governed by the whims or opinions of some crooked pimp of a dictator.

The only issue that counts here is whether anything in that Constitution authorizes Congress to force citizens to enter in contracts to purchase goods or services--which is what anyone buying a medical insurance policy would be doing. Without some constitutional authority, it is not law. If and when anyone finds that authority, please let me know what it is. The "It's Good for You Clause" is as good a suggestion as any I've seen.
 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 314
Health Care
Posted: 3/26/2010 12:02:34 AM
I have no idea what the 1921 Act you cited has to do with this health care bill. Congress's power to spend would have given it clear authority to provide matching grants to states to help them pay for medical services for women and children. Nothing remarkable about that.


The 1921 Act cited is an example of our government taking action to improve public health. Until well into the 19th century, parents—rich and poor—were helpless to prevent or combat fatal infections and diseases that took away many of their children.
The death rate among black slave infants was exceptionally high, probably due to poor nutrition, crib death, and poor prenatal and postnatal care among other factors.

At a time when many states lacked state health departments or even a system for issuing birth certificates, Sheppard-Towner clinics staffed by public health nurses gave young mothers access to professional advice about their babies' health and nutrition. This was very remarkable for its time.

Similar to the current health bill, many opposed against this action. There were folks who felt government had no business raising babies, etc, etc.

Other government mandates regarding public health:

1897 mandating children be vaccinated against small pox.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 315
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/26/2010 12:32:42 AM

Can anyone give me an example of something else equal to this that the government does?


No, Beth, I can't. Nor can anyone else, because no court's ever held that a federal law could do that. There are a few problems with looking to the Court to resolve this.

First, the Court's somewhat political, it's an election year, and there's a lot of speculation that the Republicans may pick up some seats in Congress. So it could be reluctant to intrude into the political process before it's had a chance to work.

Also, courts presume that laws are valid, meaning that anyone who challenges this law will have the burden of proving it's unconstitutional.

Then, too, the Justices all know the administration has staked everything on this law. So it would be a much bigger deal than just striking down a run-of-the-mill federal law. That tends to make the Court think twice. I hope enough of the Justices have enough integrity not to duck this, if it should come to that. But at the same time, they tend to take the view the Framers took--that we get the government we deserve. So if people were too apathetic to defend their rights politically--through protests, demonstrations, or whatever, the Court probably wouldn't be inclined to do their work for them.

It's pretty likely that whoever has to defend the "You must buy" requirement will point to Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce as the source of its authority. The Commerce Clause is what Congress has relied on to extend the reach of federal law to things like wage standards, environmental quality, highway safety, state-owned businesses, discrimination in housing, restaurants, and hotels--even control of medical marijuana use within a state (California.) In other words, almost every activity except holding a bake sale.

And that's what's raised concerns about the Commerce Clause--since 1937, it's been used to extend federal authority much further into our everyday lives than ever before that. That was the year FDR's court-packing scheme intimidated the Court--which had resisted the New Deal during his first term--into starting to roll over for almost every expansion of federal power he proposed. And for the next fifty years or more, the Court, in case after case, upheld federal laws that relied on the Commerce Clause as authority.

This law extends the Commerce Clause farther than the Court's ever authorized in any of its dozens of Commerce Clause decisions. The case that's sometimes cited as the farthest reach of Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce the Court's ever upheld is Wickard v. Filburn--from about 1942? The Court held that a federal law prevented a wheat farmer from withholding part of his crop from the market. The reason was that even though the amount he'd withheld didn't have a significant effect on the interstate wheat market, the *cumulative* effect of farmers withholding some of their wheat *would.*

But even in Wickard, the Court didn't say anyone had to buy any wheat. That's a whole other thing, because if the government can force us to buy something, it can also prohibit us from buying things. At that point, what's left of anyone's basic freedoms to enter into a contract, or not, to acquire property, or not, and so on? Unfortunately, from what I've seen here (and from Mr. Obama) all this is dismissed as scare tactics. Obama is well aware of the issues I mentioned, and yet he jokingly dismisses concerns about them. That tells me he doesn't want people to realize how drastic and unprecedented this law actually is. And that in itself is a red flag to me.
 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 316
Health Care
Posted: 3/26/2010 10:21:55 AM
The following is a write up by Dean Cherminsky

Dean Chemerinsky is the founding dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals. Dean Chemerinsky also regularly serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, appellate litigation.

Would a federally-imposed individual mandate to require health insurance be constitutional?

There is no constitutional problem with Congress requiring that individuals purchase health care or pay a penalty. There is much to debate over health care reform and how to achieve it, but I have no doubt that the proposals would be constitutional.

The constitutional objection that I have heard most often is that Congress lacks the authority under Article I of the Constitution to do this. But such a mandate clearly falls within the scope of Congress's authority to regulate commerce among the states.
Over many cases, the Supreme Court has held that Congress can regulate economic activities that taken cumulatively across the country have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Purchasing health insurance is an economic transaction. Taken cumulatively those who do this, or who don't do it, have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

In 2007, healthcare expenditures amounted to $2.2 trillion, or $7,421 a person, and accounted for 16.2% of the gross domestic product. These statistics leave no doubt that regulating health insurance is regulating interstate commerce.

Those who argue that this is unconstitutional maintain that those not purchasing health insurance, by definition, are not part of interstate commerce. There are numerous flaws with this argument. First, Congress can regulate activities that themselves are not part of interstate commerce if they have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. For example, in Wickard v. Filburn, the Supreme Court held that Congress could regulate wheat that farmers grew for their own home consumption. More recently in Gonzales v. Raich, the Court ruled that Congress could prohibit cultivating and possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal medicinal use. Even though the individuals were not personally engaged in commerce, the matter still fit within the commerce power.

Second, not engaging in economic transactions is a form of commercial behavior that Congress can regulate. The Supreme Court held that Congress could require that hotels and restaurants provide services to African-Americans. Their refusal to engage in commerce still was deemed to be within the scope of Congress's commerce clause power.

Third, the likelihood is that everyone will require medical care at some point. An uninsured person in an automobile accident will be taken to the emergency room for treatment. An uninsured person with a communicable disease will be treated. Congress can ensure that there is an adequate fund to pay for everyone's medical needs.

In other words, the health care system is part of interstate commerce. Providing care for all unquestionably has a substantial economic effect. Congress, then, can use its authority under the necessary and proper clause to make sure that the system that it is creating is viable and capable of providing health care for all.
Nor is there any individual right violated by a mandate for purchasing health care. There is no constitutionally protected freedom to be able to refuse to be insured or to avoid paying for the benefits provided.

There are many close constitutional questions. But this is not among them. Congress clearly has the legal authority to require individuals to have health insurance.
 213history
Joined: 9/26/2009
Msg: 317
Health Care
Posted: 3/26/2010 11:19:05 AM
Mr K,

Why am I not surprised to see you attack the individual instead of the argument? In my opinion, Mr. Cherminsky is far more qualified than Mr. Light or anyone else on these forums to interpret our Constitution, this is evident by his credentials, title, and experience.

UCI did not have difficulty filling their classes. Only 4% of students were accepted, while Chapman has a 29% acceptance rate . There are other significant differences between UCI and Chapaman. For example, Chaman Law is also a private institution.

John
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 318
view profile
History
Health Care
Posted: 3/26/2010 12:49:34 PM
Besides, only the Supreme Court can declare something Consititutional or un-consititutional.


You're right. In the end, the only opinions that count are those of five Justices. I've met Erwin Chemerinsky a couple times, and he's a very nice guy. He taught the con law part of my review course for the bar exam. He spoke for two hours on the legal principles in a hundred or more cases, all without any notes. If I ever felt low, one sure way to make myself laugh would be to imagine my knowledge of constitutional law was even in the same ballpark as his. But what's relevant is that many other lawyers who *do* know it as well as Chemerinsky don't agree with him, and I'm sure they're also writing about this.

I do know the cases he cited. The restaurant case is Katzenbach v. McClung (the "Ollie's Barbecue Case") and the hotel case is Heart of Atlanta Motel. They're both from the mid-'60's. One point Chemerinsky doesn't mention is that--except for Gonzales, the marijuana case--these decisions are extreme. They're often cited as examples of just how broadly the Court was willing to read the Commerce Clause during FDR's presidency, and later, to prohibit race discrimination.

I don't think this is anything like the open-and-shut constitutional question he makes it out to be. I think he's writing more as an advocate than as an analyst--he's making the case for upholding this law. I know Wickard says you can look at the cumulative effects of an individual action to determine its effect on interstate commerce. And the Court said a long time ago, and said it again in Gonzales, that Congress can regulate even economic activities that occur entirely within a state, if they have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

But it's misleading to say any of these decisions supports Congress's power to regulate the "refusal to engage in commerce." In Wickard, the Court said Congress could prohibit the farmer by law from keeping part of what he grew off the market for his own use. The law involved didn't force him to buy or sell even one kernel of wheat. He could have plowed everything under and sold the land, if he'd wanted. Wouldn't that be refusing to engage in commerce?

Ollie's had been around a long time, and it had always served blacks at its take-out window, but not inside at the tables. Like the motel in the companion case, it wasn't far from main highways. The Court discussed how not being able to predict they could find attractive places to eat or stay could discourage blacks from traveling between states. It also mentioned evidence, from hearings on the federal civil rights law the cases involved, that discrimination restrained commerce by discouraging blacks from going to restaurants, movies, etc. as much as they might.

But the Court never said that local blacks *must* eat at Ollie's or stay at the Heart of Atlanta motel, or pay a tax penalty. Nor did it say that either business *must* serve a certain number of customers, of whatever race. Either one was free to "refuse to engage in commerce"--its owners could at any time have decided they wanted to spend more time fishing, gone out of business, and served no one at all. And no one would have made them pay a fine or go to federal prison for it.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 319
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History
Health Care
Posted: 3/27/2010 10:06:57 AM
This is from Justice Thomas' dissenting opinion in Gonzales v. Raich, the 2005 California marijuana case:



[T]he majority defines economic activity in the broadest possible terms as the “the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities." This carves out a vast swath of activities that are subject to federal regulation. If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance . . . that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined,” while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.” The Federalist No. 45, at 313.

[E]ven a Court interested more in the modern than the original understanding of the Constitution ought to resolve cases based on the meaning of words that are actually in the document. Congress is authorized to regulate “Commerce,” and respondents’ conduct does not qualify under any definition of that term. The majority’s opinion only illustrates the steady drift away from the text of the Commerce Clause . . . The majority is not interpreting the Commerce Clause, but rewriting it.

[T]he interconnectedness of economic activity is not a modern phenomenon unfamiliar to the Framers. Moreover, the Framers understood what the majority does not appear to fully appreciate: There is a danger to concentrating too much, as well as too little, power in the Federal Government. This Court has carefully avoided stripping Congress of its ability to regulate *interstate* commerce, but it has casually allowed the Federal Government to strip States of their ability to regulate *intrastate* commerce [and] a host of local activities . . . that are not commercial.

One searches the Court’s opinion in vain for any hint of what aspect of American life is reserved to the States . . . [T]oday’s decision will add no measure of stability to our Commerce Clause jurisprudence: This Court is willing neither to enforce limits on federal power, nor to declare the Tenth Amendment a dead letter . . . Congress may regulate interstate commerce–not things that affect it, even when summed together, unless truly “necessary and proper” to regulating interstate commerce.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 320
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History
Health Care
Posted: 4/2/2010 1:22:16 PM
Congress can't just pass whatever bill they want to.


Legislation isn't automatically constitutional just because Congress enacts it. Between 1904 and 1937, during what's usually called the "substantive due process era," the Supreme Court invalidated more than *two hundred* federal laws as unconstitutional.

But the people can change things themselves, without waiting and hoping the Court will do it for them. Elections--and impeachment--are also part of "how democracy works." No one knows how the November elections will turn out, but if Republicans should win control of the House, I can't see what would stop them from impeaching this President. A simple majority vote is enough. Mr. Obama's chosen to take the gloves off, and he shouldn't be surprised if his opponents do the same.

Congress's power to make laws is obvious--I haven't heard anyone question that. The justification for this law (although the people who drafted it haven't said what it is) seems to be Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. But the Court has never said that includes a power to force people to buy anything, or pay a tax penalty instead.

I've read Erwin Chemerinsky's argument that a 1942 decision and two from 1964 support that power. With all due respect to him--and I have a lot--I know those cases very well, and that is a misleading interpretation of what the Court said in them. More important, other constitutional law experts just as eminent as he is flatly disagree with him on this.

If the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives Congress power to force individual Americans to buy something, it can also prohibit them from buying things. Should everyone have to buy a new GM car, now that the government owns the company? What about our clothes, our toothbrushes--our toilet paper--all of which travel in interstate commerce? I don't see why a federal law couldn't force us to buy only certain government-approved versions of these things, the plants in our yards, our furniture, the materials in our houses, or anything else.

Certain foods tend to make people fat. That obviously increases the burden people who eat them place on a national health care system. Why wouldn't that justify a federal law to promote public health by prohibiting the sale or distribution of candy, ice cream, pastries, french fries, and so on, throughout all fifty states? If the same percentage of the population supported a bill to do that as supported this one--35 to 45%, according to various opinion polls--why couldn't Congress pass it? And for the majority that didn't like it, too bad.

If there's *nothing* we do (or don't do) that federal law can't control under the guise of regulating interstate commerce, the 9th and 10th Amendments, which are part of the Bill of Rights, mean nothing at all. And our right to privacy, which the Court has said is "fundamental," no longer exists.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 321
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Health Care
Posted: 4/2/2010 3:10:50 PM

don't be naive to believe the government will tell you what kind of car to buy or what clothes to buy.


So you say. But I notice you did *not* say what would prevent that. If Congress has the power to do what it does in this health care law, it also has the power to do any of the things I mentioned.

Just five years ago, the Supreme Court upheld Congress' power to outlaw six marijuana plants a sick California woman's friend was growing locally for her to use as medicine. The Court said growing and using these few plants was "commercial activity" which affected interstate commerce enough that a federal drug law could make it a crime. As Justice Thomas said, by the Court's logic federal law can control every clothing drive, bake sale, and potluck supper anywhere in the U.S.

It's probably true that the majority of Americans wanted reform of health care. But that doesn't mean they wanted this law--to repeat, the polls show only 35 to 45% approve of it. The Republican members voted unanimously against it, but far more than half the House is now Democrats. That means dozens of them must have voted contrary to what a majority of the people who elected them wanted.

If anyone wonders what happens to representatives who ignore the majority of their constituents on a major issue that directly affects them, that question will be answered in November.
 DeliveryRN
Joined: 8/26/2007
Msg: 322
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Health Care
Posted: 4/2/2010 5:34:33 PM
I am a Registered Nurse. I can not even begin to debate politics with you guys. But the things I see on a day to day basis would blow most of your minds. The incredible waste of healthcare resources, the stupidity and corruption would make your heads spin.
Do you know that the California Prison System only dispenses name brand drugs? No generics for criminals in California. I and everyone I know gets generics, as that is all our insurance will pay for. Do you have any idea how much money would be saved if they used generic drugs?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go in to the number of surgeries we do for removal of foreign abjects, from rectums and penises (self inflicted) but that might throw some of you over the edge.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 323
Health Care
Posted: 4/2/2010 6:01:42 PM
Hmmm ... The name brand drugs bother me a lot more than the surgeries for self-inflicted wounds. Caged dolphins get self-destructive after a while, and there are cutters on the outside.

I once read that in China prisoners are expected to better themselves while inside. Nothing cruel or unusual about requiring people to get an education and learn a skill if they want early release.
 DeliveryRN
Joined: 8/26/2007
Msg: 324
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Health Care
Posted: 4/2/2010 6:31:28 PM
Their intention is usually not to injure themselves....and it only cost the state around 20,000 each time. Remember you have to pay round the clock for the 2 guards per each prisoner in the hospital and it is 2 car transport from the prison to the hospital. One non armed van, followed by an armed car.
I paid 1,600 for my daughter's root canal last week. She was laid off and now has no insurance. Dental care is free in the prison system.
20,000 would buy a lot of education, but making someone improve themselves is a civil rights violation.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 325
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Health Care
Posted: 4/2/2010 7:20:34 PM
Not to go farther off topic, but since the subject of prisoners has come up, why not put the ones who want some fresh air on work gangs? The Constitution specifically authorizes involuntary servitude for convicts in the 13th Am., so no one could sue. All they wear today is a nylon cuff on the leg, and I think some have transmitters. A tethered balloon with videocameras on it would let a couple armed guards watch quite a few prisoners. In a few states, prisoners harvest crops on state--owned farms. Part of the crops goes toward feeding them. The rest is sold at market prices, and the net proceeds go toward running the prison system.

Also, there are always roadsides that need cleaning, manure that needs shoveling, brush that needs clearing, trails and fire roads that need repairing, sandbags that need filling, and so on. I think if prisoners' health is so precious that we don't dare risk giving them those awful, dangerous generic drugs, it goes without saying we shouldn't let them have tobacco. Same goes for tattoos. I think Sheriff Arpaio has it right--the conditions in jails and prisoners aren't supposed to be pleasant and comfortable. If you don't like the ambience, then don't do things that may land you there.
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