Archive for October, 2010


It’s the $64,000 question

October 17, 2010

I dislike re-posting other people’s blog posts in their entirety. But there are exceptions to every rule and Radley Balko hits the nail squarely on the head in this post from October 7:

Just So I Have This Right…

….a federal judge has just ruled that the federal government can force me to purchase a product from a private company, under the argument that my not purchasing that product affects interstate commerce.

For those of you who support this ruling: Under an interpretation of the Commerce Clause that says the federal government can regulate inactivity, can you name anything at all that the feds wouldn’t have the power to regulate?

And if you can’t (and let’s face it, you can’t), why was the Constitution written in the first place? As I understand it, the whole point was to lay out a defined set of federal powers, divided among the three branches, with the understanding that the powers not specifically enumerated in the document are retained by the states and the people.

But if that set of powers includes everything you do (see Wickard and Raich), and everything you don’t do (what Obamacare proponents are advocating here), what’s the point in having a Constitution at all?

Indeed. Why do we pretend we have a government based on principle when everyone (seemingly) ignores those principles?

Justice Thomas raised this same point in his dissent on the Raich case:

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

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