Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Feed

EDITORIAL: Obama's constitutional malpractice
Health care plan would make the Founders sick

Americans have grown used to Congress claiming the right to regulate and control everything they do. But by what right can Congress force Americans to purchase health insurance?

This question is at the root of lawsuits filed by 14 states challenging Obamacare's requirement that those without health insurance must obtain it or face fines of $2,085 per household or 2.5 percent of income - whichever is greater.

Defenders of the new law point to the constitutional provision empowering Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The Supreme Court has long interpreted the Commerce Clause to extend well beyond what a common-sense reading would support. In the 1942 case Wickard v. Filburn, the high court ruled that farmer Roscoe Filburn could not grow wheat in excess of limits set by the 1938 Agricultural Adjustment Act. It did not matter that the wheat was grown on his own land for his own use - in this case feeding his chickens. According to the court, "control of total supply ... depends upon the control of individual supply." If enough farmers like Filburn grew their own chicken feed, they would not buy it, and this would have an impact on commerce nationwide.

The Congress that can regulate Roscoe Filburn's chicken feed can regulate anything.

Read the rest here.

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