Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Note: This article first appeared in Roll Call.

Griffin: Congress Has No Constitutional Authority to Compel Commerce

By Rep. Tim Griffin - Special to Roll Call It won’t surprise readers that I’m opposed to President Barack Obama’s health care law. I’ve voted repeatedly to repeal it and defund it. I believe our health care system is in drastic need of innovative, patient-centered reforms that encourage competition and increase consumer choice, not the bloated bureaucracy, tax increases, rationing and mandates in the president’s government takeover.

The health care law’s individual mandate forces nearly all individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The mandate cannot be severed from the rest of the law because it is the primary mechanism through which the law’s changes are supported. Without the mandate, the law collapses.

The central question that the Supreme Court will decide is whether the mandate is constitutional. The Constitution’s Commerce Clause grants Congress the power “to regulate Commerce ... among the several States” (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). The health care law assumes these words give the federal government the power to force individuals to buy health insurance. In reality, the law is fundamentally different from any legislation that Congress has ever enacted to regulate commerce.

After all, if individuals are considered to be actively engaging in interstate commerce simply because they are not buying a product — and can thus be regulated and ordered to make a purchase — what exactly can’t Congress “regulate” and require? In a Constitution of specific and enumerated powers, what is the limiting principle?

If the Supreme Court fails to strike down the health care law, America will be changed forever. Gone will be the days of “limited government,” when something had to move before government could tax it, keep moving before government could regulate it and stop moving before government could subsidize it. What would freedom look like then?

To read the full story, click here.

Tags: Representative, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, Obamacare, unconstitutional

No comments: