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Seattle Times: Washington Attorney General has solid case to challenge ObamaCare

The Seattle Times is one of the most liberal news outlets in the country, so when it runs an editorial supporting Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna's challenge of ObamaCare's individual mandate, you know the public relations gambit for Obama's most significant piece of legislation is not going so well:

The main challenge here is on one point -- whether the federal government can require people to buy a private product: health insurance.

The argument centers on the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause, which gives Congress the power "to regulate Commerce ... among the several States ... " The lawsuit argues that requiring a citizen to buy insurance goes beyond regulating commerce. It is, says McKenna, "forcing people into the stream of commerce."

The law calls its mandate a tax. But if you comply, your money goes to the insurance company. You pay the government only if you don't comply -- which means, McKenna says, "It's not a tax. It's a fine."

We think McKenna has a good case, and one the progressives who condemn him ought to appreciate.


The Seattle Times editorial board is absolutely right to highlight that last point. Progressives like the idea of a federal mandate right now because a progressive congress and president are issuing it. However, if the federal government has the power to force you to buy health insurance, it has the power to force you to buy anything it chooses. Progressives need to consider how they will feel when that power is in the hands of a conservative congress and president, which just might be the case come January, 2013.

I especially appreciate that the Times criticize progressives for supporting ObamaCare on purely political grounds:

These critics are so often right about the dangers of corporate power, and particularly the rapacity of insurance companies.But if it's federal power, and it's for a social purpose, and Barack Obama is presiding over it, they set their judgment aside. They accept a 2,000-page bill on its label only. They accept its promise, almost surely vacant, of cost savings. They overlook the deals cut with the insurance and pharmaceutical interests. They shrug off the "cornhusker kickback." And to those who invoke the Constitution, they become shrill.

This page supported Obama, and we still like him. But we also support checks and balances on federal power, and review of this law by the Supreme Court.


Indeed.

The Seattle Times is hopefully the first several more liberal news outlet to write honestly about the dangerous precedent ObamaCare's mandate set.

The folks at iOwntheWorld are optimistic that ObamaCare can be overturned in court, and if you look at the law and the Constitution objectively and honestly, the only conclusion you can come to is that the mandate is clearly unconstitutional. The problem the AGs will run into, however, is the make up of the various courts as the case moves through the court system. A progressive judge who supports universal health care will turn himself inside out to find an argument that the Constitution supports the mandate. History bears this out. Take abortion as an example. The Constitution does not say anything about a right to privacy, but Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the opinion for Roe v. Wade, said he found it in the "emanations" and "penumbras" of the Bill of Rights. If you are wondering what emanations and penumbras are, you're not the only one.

Even though the seven justices who ruled for Roe v. Wade could not find specific language in the Constitution supporting the right to abortion, they wanted there to be a right to abortion and that was all that mattered.

Cross posted at KimPriestap


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Comments (13)

As I posted on another thre... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

As I posted on another thread, from NRO:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=Yzg5NmFlNDdiNTljYmQ5MDBhNmE5ODc0ZmYzMmJhZGU

According to a report by Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, the individual mandate in Obamacare lacks any real enforcement mechanism:

The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.

Progressives need ... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:
Progressives need to consider how they will feel when that power is in the hands of a conservative congress and president

I must disagree. First of all, progressives would have to start caring about the consequences of their actions. That ain't gonna happen. Second, conservatives are the ones who use power responsibly. Progressives know this and count on it.

Third and most telling, progressives have no qualms about breaking any law they want. For example, they are in favor of high taxes to increase the power of their government and yet every progressive who can get away with it cheats on his or her taxes.

When Democrats pass a law, Republicans try to change it. When Republicans pass a law, Democrats just ignore it. That is just a consequence of their "the end justifies the means" philosophy.

It's not often that we can ... (Below threshold)

It's not often that we can proud of our gov't here in WA, and even outside of this, McKenna is damn good AG. I have 100% confidence that he would not attach himself to such a suit for political gain, as some people have argued.

The fact that Gov. Chritine Gregorie supports putting a bill in the budget that would prevent McKenna from using public funds (which are minimal at worst), demonstrates just how scared shitless she and her Democratic cohorts are of this lousy, poorly written law of being repealed.

http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=303039

Better still, hundreds turned out in support of McKenna!

http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=303282

And you can support McKenna by simply sending a email to Dave Boze at KTTH here in Seattle (conservative talk radio) and write in the subject line: Go, Rob, go!

http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=194&sid=301619

Let's do this, people! Don't let up! Don't stop fighting!

Repeal and rewrite!!!

Was that an early print of ... (Below threshold)
CDR M:

Was that an early print of the April Fools Edition??

Repeal, erase and recall Ba... (Below threshold)
914:

Repeal, erase and recall Barry.

Hell, why don't we require ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Hell, why don't we require everybody to purchase a GM or Chrysler vehicle? We could hire another 15,000 or so IRS employees to "control the people".

Give it a catchy name like the People's Economic Recovery Act or some such.

And while we're at it, we might as well mandate that every new vehicle be powered by union-made 9 volt rechargeable batteries. Except for Nebraska.

*Sigh*Yet another ... (Below threshold)

*Sigh*

Yet another case of "Why didn't you print this editorial BEFORE the bill was signed!"

I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more editorials like this one and every one of them makes me even more angry. Liberal editorial writers waste no time lambasting Republican legislation during Congressional debates. I want to pound those editorial writers over the head because of their egregious double standard.

Then I realize, fewer and fewer Americans read major newspapers anyway. Much ado about nothing.

Please, oh please, suckers.... (Below threshold)
Anslau:

Please, oh please, suckers. This is the plan. It is not constitutional and they know it now, and knew it last week. It is a Trojan Horse. The Lib's are now pointing it out as well. They are going to scream that it is unconstitutional and unfair to force anyone to pay for anything. Let alone what is their G-d given right!!!!
The bill is now law. If forcing americans to pay for health care is found to be unconstitutional, GUESS WHO PAYS? The Supreme Court can't overturn the health care LAW. But they can rule against forcing people to pay. This is why Weiner and all the rest of them have no idea how or who is going to collect. It's never going to happen.
Welcome to the world of Single Payer.

The Supreme Cou... (Below threshold)
The Supreme Court can't overturn the health care LAW.
Why not?

Even though the individual mandate is the opening into which the crowbar can be inserted to start dismantling this thing, it is not the only weak point.

Hell, McCain-Feingold is cl... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Hell, McCain-Feingold is clearly unconstitutional, and the Supremes have only taken little bites out of it when they had a chance to chop the whole thing down. It's up to We The People to tear this monstrosity down.

SCOTUS didn't overtu... (Below threshold)

SCOTUS didn't overturn McShame-Feingold -- that's not the same as saying they couldn't.

The Seattle Times is still ... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

The Seattle Times is still being published?? Who knew?

OK. So the SCOTUS says that... (Below threshold)
John N Whittaker:

OK. So the SCOTUS says that HCR is constitutional under a certain interpretation of the commerce clause. Would it not follow that the individual could purchase insurance from anyone they wanted? If a company in say, Nevada had the best policy, in my opinion, could I go to that company and purchase my coverage there? Just asking.




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