Monday, January 31, 2011

Quote of the day

From page 42 of today's ruling by Judge Vinson striking down Obamacare:
If [government] has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting --- as was done in the Act --- that compelling the actual transaction is itself “commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce” [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Update: More highlights from the ruling here.


Ben said...

Except the interstate commerce hook here at issue does not arise from the compulsion but the effect of the uninsured visiting ERs when they are sick.

Colin said...

Well, if that is the logic you want to employ, then as Judge Vinson also stated, "There is quite literally no decision that, in the natural course of events, does not have an economic impact of some sort."

Basically, almost every action or inaction has some economic consequence, and if you really buy into this thinking then really the federal government's powers are unlimited because everything is related to commerce in some form or another.

But just to stick with your example -- how is visiting one's local ER an exercise in interstate commerce given that for the vast majority of people this probably does not involve crossing state lines?