Two years ago, the legislation known as Obamacare, was written in the dark of night and rammed through Congress using parliamentary tricks so as to avoid debate. It was passed with only Democrat votes (the first time in our history a major piece of legislation didn't have bi-partisan support). Some of those Democrat votes came as a result of bribes (Ben Nelson's cornhusker kickback and Mary Landreu's Louisiana purchase) and some as a result of lies (the administration's assurances to Bart Stupack and other pro-life house Democrats that no Federal money would be used for abortions under the bill). Before the bill was passed, Nancy Pelosi uttered her now famous line that we had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it. A less-famous statement by former Speaker Pelosi, but a more telling one, was when she responded to an inquiry about the constitutionality of the bill by saying, "Are you serious?" No matter how the Supreme Court decided the case regarding the constitutionality of Obamacare, the oral arguments before the court this week sent a resounding, "Yes" to Mrs. Pelosi's question of two years prior.
Listening to the oral arguments presented to the Supreme Court by both sides this week was just slightly more fascinating than listening to the pundits on the left expressing dismay at how badly their ideology holds up under the scrutiny of the Court and constitutional common sense. In typical Liberal fashion there was no self-examination of the folly of their position, after all they can't possibly be wrong. So they blamed everyone from the the Conservative members of the court who decide cases on the basis of the Constitution (what a concept) to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who had to defend the indefensible. That is not to say that Paul Clement, who represented the 26 States who brought the case before the Court, didn't do an excellent job presenting the opposing side. But at the very core of the argument is the individual mandate which is just a door, that once opened, removes any restraint on the Federal government. The foundation of the Constitution, and of our entire system of government, is based on restraint of Federal powers. If the government is able to compel citizens to engage in commerce to purchase health care, then it can compel citizens into any behavior the government deems beneficial. This, my friends, is tyranny at its worst. This case, more than any other in recent memory, is a slam-dunk and without the specter of politics coloring the issue, should be decided 9-0 in favor of striking down Obamacare. But then politics influences even a court whose members are given life time appointments for the express reason that they not be influenced by politics.
The Supreme Court, in addition to deciding weather the individual mandate is constitutional, will also decide the issue of severability. Most legislation is written to include a severability clause which states that it is the intention of Congress that if any part of the law is found unconstitutional, the rest of the law will stand. Nancy Pelosi removed this clause from Obamacare, which means according to the letter of the law, if the Court strikes down the individual mandate the entire law must go. Because without the clause the only conclusion the justices can come to is that it is the intention of Congress that if any part is found unconstitutional, then they would not have passed the rest of the law on its own merits. There is little reason to believe that the letter of law will be followed in this case, and the Court may decide to strike the mandate and leave most of the rest of the law intact. This will still be a victory for liberty because the forces of those who sanction limitless government will have been turned back by those who believe in the constitutional principle of enumerated Federal powers and that freedom can't exist in an environment of unrestrained government. Unfortunately, for someone who believes as former Speaker Pelosi, the Constitution is not to be taken seriously.