The Affordable Care Act & The Constitution

The stage is set for the Supreme Court to become involved, whether they wish to or not, in the decision of whether or not forcing citizens of Main Street USA to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

While there certainly is debate centered around other portions of the incredibly massive piece of porked-out legislation, the rulings of two Federal judges that Congress has overstepped its authority by relying upon the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution (while two others ruled the opposite) all but guarantees the highest court’s involvement.

Simply put, the Commerce Clause (Article I) grants Congress the power to “…regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

Throughout the decades the Supreme Court has used that particular clause very very broadly, including rulings on Depression-era farm quotas as well as bans on racial discrimination in the 1960s.

This Main Streeter finds it extremely difficult to fathom exactly how racial discrimination fits into the Commerce Clause. Whether one is Democrat, Republican or Independent, how could it be that human beings are considered as commerce?

In reality, the court used this clause because a company that was discriminating earned a majority of it’s revenue through interstate commerce. That still seems a stretch when, in fact, the country was founded in the belief that all people are created equal. Consider that the 14th Amendement (1868) guarantees equal protection under the law and racial discrimination would quality as something which is not equal. It seems, therefore, that the 14th Amendment offers a quite superior legal standing to ban racial discrimination.

In an attempt to determine what may or may not have been included in the thoughts and intentions of our Founding Fathers regarding the Commerce Clause, the reference used was the American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828.

It was thought that perhaps by using a dictionary from that time period there could be some light shed on the issue at hand today (and perhaps even some of those earlier court decisions that do not quite seem to fit).

The definition of Commerce is: “In a general sense, an interchange or mutual change of goods, wares, productions, or property of any kind, between nations or individuals, either by barter, or by purchase and sale; trade; traffick.” It further defines inland commerce as: “…the trade of commodities between citizens of the same nation.”

Turning a page, the definition of Commodity is: “…anything that is useful, but particularly in commerce, including everything movable that is bought and sold, goods, wares, merchandise, produce of land and manufactures. Unless perhaps animals may be excepted, the word includes all the movables which are objects of commerce.”

Based upon the above definitions, which were used by those responsible for writing and implementing the Constitution it seems clear that mandating that a citizen of the United States purchase health insurance through the vehicle known as the Affordable Care Act is, indeed, unconstitutional.

It really is not even debatable.

That, coupled with the actual wording of the Article in question (“regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”), indicates that Article I gives absolutely NO power to Congress to force citizens (i.e., individuals) to purchase anything.

Undoubtedly someone will be called upon, when all is said and done and attorneys for both sides have voiced their last convincing words, to write a decision. And that document will more than likely be scores and scores of pages, when, in fact, it boils down to just a couple.

And, as a last thought, allowing Capitol Hill to mandate what an individual must purchase opens the door for future edicts by those elected representatives who are supposed to be serving the interests of Americans, not dictating them.

Over For Now.

Main Street One