Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Obamacare: The Individual Mandate

The Cato Institute filed its last Amici brief with the Supreme Court this week in advance of the upcoming oral arguments.    Here are some snippets:

We believe that “the Court either should stop saying that there is a meaningful limit on Congress’s power or prove that it is so.”
“The Constitution does not permit Congress to conscript citizens into economic transactions to remedy the admitted shortcomings—which the government usually terms “necessities”—of a hastily assembled piece of legislation.”
“Nor has Congress ever before imposed on everyone a civil penalty for declining to participate in the market.”
“Even in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), the federal government claimed “merely” the power to regulate what farmers grew, not to mandate that people become farmers, much less to force people to purchase farm products.4 Even if not purchasing health insurance is considered an “economic activity”—which of course would mean that every aspect of human life is economic activity—there is no constitutional warrant for Congress to force Americans to enter the market-place to buy a particular good or service.”
“Conversely, non-economic activity (or, as in this case, inactivity) cannot be regulated merely because it affects interstate commerce through a “causal chain,” or has, in the aggregate, “substantial effects on employment, production, transit, or consumption.”

Nine robed men and women will soon decide whether or not our elected representatives can force us into purchasing a private good.  No other case is more important to our liberty or fundamental to our natural and God-given right to decide when to engage in trade.  For if the masses can be conscripted into economic commerce, this power knows no limit.

You can read the whole brief here.

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