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Is ObamaCare Constitutional?

Following are some of the ways in which current health care proposals potentially clash with our nation’s Basic Law:

Enumerated powers. The Constitution grants the federal government about thirty-five specific powers – eighteen in Article I, Section 8, and the rest scattered throughout the document. (The exact number depends on how you count.) None of those powers seems to authorize control of the health care system outside the District of Columbia and the federal territories.

To be sure, since the late 1930s, the Supreme Court has been tolerant of the federal welfare state, usually justifying federal ad hoc programs under specious interpretations of the congressional Commerce Power. But, except in wartime, the Court has never authorized an expansion of the federal scope quite as large as what is being proposed now.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:36 PM on Aug. 21, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Answers (17)
  • The greatest Chief Justice, John Marshall, once wrote that if Congress were to use its legitimate powers as a “pretext” for assuming an unauthorized power, “it would become the painful duty” of the Court “to say that such an act was not the law of the land.” But health care bills such as the Obama-favored HB 3200 do not even offer a pretext. The only reference to the Constitution in HB 3200 is a severability clause that purports to save the remainder of the bill if part is declared unconstitutional. HB 3200 contains no reference to the Commerce Power or to any other enumerated power.
    Excessive Delegation. The Constitution “vests” legislative authority in Congress. Congress is not permitted to delegate that authority to the executive branch. This is another realm in which the modern Supreme Court has been lenient, while affirming that there are limits.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:37 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • Thus, in Schecter Poultry Corp. v. United States (1935), a unanimous court struck down a delegation of authority that looked much like the delegations in some current health care proposals.
    Substantive Due Process. The Substantive Due Process doctrine was not contemplated by the Founders, but the courts have engrafted onto constitutional jurisprudence. The courts employ this doctrine to invalidate laws they think are unacceptably intrusive of personal liberty or privacy. The most famous modern Substantive Due Process case is Roe v. Wade, which struck down state abortion laws that intruded into the doctor-patient relationship. But the intrusion invalidated in Roe was insignificant compared to the massive intervention contemplated by schemes such as HB 3200. “Global budgeting” and “single-payer” plans go even further, and seem clearly to violate the Supreme Court’s Substantive Due Process rules.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:37 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • Since when has our government been above breaking the law? The IRS is un-Constitutional too, but they sure don't have any problem having their hands out for OUR money!

    If BO remains in office, things are just going to get worse and worse!


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:39 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • Tenth Amendment. Technically, the Tenth Amendment is merely a declaration that the federal government has no powers beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. However, the modern Supreme Court has cited the Tenth Amendment in holding that Congress may not “commandeer” state decision making in the service of federal goals.

    Criticize it. Debate it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:42 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • Ironic since Marshall is the idiot responsible for extending those powers far beyond where they were ever intended to go.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:05 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • Duh......NO.

    Since when does the Constitution matter, though? Obama has even less respect for it than Bush ("it's just a god-damned piece of paper") did.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:22 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • Of course not, but if you truly know the Constitution and are "into" politics, you also know that this is not the first, nor will it be the last, thing that is unconstitutional. Sadly, the pp is right, it is only going to get worse! This is what happens when you vote for either a Dem or Rep, you will never see them respect the Constitution!

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:16 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • wow another chickenshit ANONYMOUS RIGHTWING post...

    Answer by yogapantz at 2:34 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • None of those powers seems to authorize control of the health care system outside the District of Columbia and the federal territories

    Where does it prohibit it? Ronald Reagan said the Dept. of Education and the Dept. Of Energy were unconstitutional and he ran on a platform of ELIMINATING them....yet, he didn't. So did he REALLY believe they were and did NOTHING about them? or did he KNOW they weren't unconstitutional but used it for political posturing?

    He also used Medicare as the Boogeyman and made an album about how it would be the downfall of freedom in America...then EXPANDED it while in office even raising taxes to fund it.....It is a party bullet point to claim "unconstitutional"


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 3:34 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

  • * yogapantz
    Wow another big mouth dumb ass who has nothing to contribute to the debate other than insults!

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 4:30 PM on Aug. 21, 2009

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