Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Government has a Right to Regulate Your Mental Activity

A must read on the recent decision in a Washington DC District that has upheld the constitutionality of Obama Care.  Before you read the analysis, it might be a good idea for you to read Judge Keesler’s decision paper.  This will arm you with the knowledge necessary to fully understand the analysis.

The analysis at the link provided above does a decent job of cutting to basics and also outlining a couple in interesting points.  The one that jumped out at me when I read the analysis was the point on mental activity.

When I read through the decision the first time, I was a little floored that a judge was basically saying that the federal government had a right to regulate your decision-making process. I am not a lawyer so I don’t always understand the intricacies of the law, but I can read. To me, the Commerce Clause in the Constitution is quite clear. The government can regulate activity, but now this judge is saying the government can regulate inactivity, which in her mind is actually activity because your mental process (thinking) is actually making a decision, which is an activity and subject to federal laws and regulations.

Another argument made in the decision was an argument made by the plaintiffs about the government making a law requiring the purchase of automobiles.

The second aspect of the ACA from Plaintiffs’ hypothetical scenario in which Congress enacts a law requiring individuals to purchase automobiles in an attempt to regulate the transportation market.  Even assuming that all individuals require transportation in the same sense that all individuals require medical services, automobile manufacturers are not required by law to give cars to people who show up at their door in need of transportation but without the money to pay for it.

I’d like to point out that until 1986 hospitals were not required to provide care to anyone who did not have the ability to pay.  The federal government already has a hand in regulating what kinds of vehicles we can purchase.  From the mileage standards to the requirements for certain types of braking systems, seat belt usage, to speeds driven on the roads (all in the name of “it’s for your own good”), the government does have a very large say in the transportation industry. It is true that there are no laws on the books requiring that folks buy a car, but we are certainly limited as to what kinds of cars we can buy. When you the requirements surrounding Obama Care and those that deal with automobiles, there is very little difference with the exception of the free car give-away.  And when you consider some of the organizations that back Obama, don’t think for a minute that didn’t cross some of their minds when Obama took over GM.

So basically what the judge is saying is that we have given you this free service for so many years, now you owe us payback.

Two things about the current legal battles with respect to Obama Care should be crystal clear to everyone. First, the decisions in the courts are being made along ideological lines. The two judges who have ruled it unconstitutional are Republican appointments and the three who have said it is constitutional are democrat appointments. It should be obvious to any of my readers which side of the justice scales I reside on.  Secondly, the whole question about Obama Care is going to be settled in the SCOTUS, and the decision will be split along party lines, of this I have no doubt. Fortunately, there are enough Justices who read the Constitution as it is written and most likely won’t feel that your decision to be inactive is really inactivity and not activity just because your brain was working to make a decision.

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