By Douglas V. Gibbs
While the Democrats call their actions a sign of desperation, Republicans are challenging the Constitutionality of the Senate version of health care legislation. Senator John Ensign, R-Nevada, is calling on the mandate in the bill that requires Americans to purchase health insurance under threat of a fine or jail to be examined in regards to its constitutionality. Senator Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, is raising concerns over the constitutionality of a section of the health care bill that disallows repeals or changes in the future.
Ensign and DeMint are not alone in their challenges however. An additional challenge is being launched by Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who is asking for a legal review of the Democrats giving states special treatment over others with their bribes, such as the pay off of Senator Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, who received concessions for his state as a condition for his support of the health care bill.
Part of the argument being used by the Democrats in defense of the constitutionality of health care legislation is that the Constitution allows Congress to tax, borrow, spend, declare war, raise an army and regulate commerce, among other things. Specifically, the supporters of the insurance mandate point to the Commerce Clause as being the authority for Congress to require health insurance and dismiss such potential legal challenges.
The Commerce Clause, using the language of the time period, expects Congress to "make regular" interstate Congress, not restrict it, or take control of the industry. Following the Commerce Clause would be better achieved by Congress opening up the allowance of selling insurance across state lines. By such a move, competition among the different companies would increase, and invariably push down the prices of health insurance.
One of the arguments in support of the health care mandate compares it to the laws requiring drivers to obtain auto insurance. However, in the case of auto insurance, if one does not own a car, one does not have to have the insurance. What Congress is trying to do with compelling people to buy health insurance under the penalty of law is like expecting people that have no car to also own auto insurance. Also, auto insurance allows the drive to pick the policy. Health insurance regulations by the government do not allow the insurance companies to create policies more in line with what the consumers desire. Besides, there is no constitutional authority for the federal government to get into the health care business, much less to destroy the private insurance industry.
Some Conservatives are seeing the challenges as a moot point, since the Democrats will simply use their majorities to shoot down the challenges. However, I believe the challenges are significant because they not only show that the Republicans are willing to stand up against the proposed fascism, but there will be a public record of their opposition, and their opinion that the legislation is unconstitutional.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
Health Care Bill Could Face String of Legal Challenges - Fox News