Did the Supreme Court hear a Constitutional argument over Obama Care?

SAVING REALITY NEWS – The Supreme Court overheard arguments this week regarding the controversial legislation known as Obama-Care. The heart of the opinions questioned the constitutionality of the individual mandate. As goes most prominent media-hyped political issues, this one is nail-biter that could easily go either way. Our current Supreme Court consists of nine justices, of which four are likely to support the law (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan), and four are supposed to oppose it (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito), and one lone maverick (Kennedy) that the media has painted as hard to call.

While the most pompous and boisterous lawyers of our two-party system eloquently parleyed the myriad of talking points on the docket, the simple truth of the matter lay simple and plain – Our two parties seem more interested in winning the hypothetical ideological stand-off, than actually remaining consistent with their own values or upholding the Constitution.

When arguing a case, the first thing that should be analyzed is the burden of proof. In simpler terms, what has to be proven in order to win the case? In this case, the charge is “Obama-Care is unconstitutional”.  This puts the burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove the law unconstitutional.

The main argument from the plaintiff in this case claims that the Federal Government doesn’t have the power to enforce legislation requiring individual citizens to purchase health insurance. After a week of argument, however, they failed to point to any actual verbiage in the Constitution that can be interpreted as damning to the legislation.

The defendant argued that the law was Constitutional under the Commerce Clause, even though that verbiage only addresses the authority to regulate commerce, not mandate it. Letters from George Washington issuing a requirement that soldiers buy an array of supplies were touted as precedence for mandates. State auto-insurance mandates were also supplied as evidence. Neither of these foundational arguments that hinged on this evidence, however, actually addresses the issue of Constitutionality.

All laws are mandates, so don’t be confused by the terminology. The government constantly asks us to pay for things for which we don’t want to pay through different means of taxation. Working citizens already have to pay for Medicaid and Medicare, who in turn pay private companies, so the “there is no precedence” argument has yet to find solid foundation. The actual argument that the government can’t force us to pay for something is silly and it is amazing to hear it introduced to the Supreme Court. We all wish it were true, but we have to be realistic. It happens every day and if a law is truly unpopular, it can easily be overturned through further legislation.

 During the arguments this week, the matter of unconstitutionality was neither proven nor disproven. The obvious arguments were skirted and left for the judges to interpret.  When a bill passes the House and Senate and is signed by the President, it becomes just as valid as any other law. A law is by process constitutional.

Our Constitution sets up a republic, which is said to be fundamentally “ruled by law” and not “ruled by men”. Article I, Section I of the US Constitution states that legislative powers are “vested in the Congress”, meaning they write the law of the land. The Supreme Court only has authority to strike down legislation that specifically violates the Constitution, so if this law is stricken down it appears it will be because of the blinding stubbornness of party pride and not Constitutional integrity.

The funniest part of this whole mess is that the idea of mandating that everyone in the country pay for health insurance was a Republican idea. Newt Gingrich presented the idea of an “individual mandate” as a contrast to “Hillary Care” in 1993 and the idea was a part of Republican talking points through the 2008 McCain campaign. Now that Democrats have taken ownership of it, the same politicians that originated it, now condemn it as socialism.

The basis of the Supreme Court case is to question the law’s constitutionality and nothing else. They can’t rewrite the law, but only strike it (or portions of it) down. They may strike down the individual mandate, but that may strike an even larger debate. Does the US Supreme Court have the authority to strike down a law based on opinion alone, without Constitutional foundation? If so, what precedent are we setting?