By Alan on Mar 27 in Blog tagged cannot sue, comes before, congress, constitution, federal government, federal tax law, health care, Obama Administration, Obamacare, permissable, the power, The Supreme Court, The United States of America, vote, we the people | Comments Off
Rare is the occasion when the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather to hear three days of arguments, and rarer still is when it is for a case like Obamacare — one that cuts to the core of the Constitution and whose outcome could fundamentally alter the role of the federal government and its power over the people. But today the Court will do just that when it open its doors and begins weighing the arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s seminal health care law.
Were the American people to vote on the issue, they would fall decidedly against Obamacare, as recent polls have shown. But for the Court, the decision is not as cut and dried as an up or down vote, but one that involves the interplay of a series of issues raised by those who are challenging Obamacare — more than half the States of the Union and a collection of interested organizations and private parties — and those brought by the Obama Administration, which is defending the law. And they come to the Supreme Court after conflicting appellate court rulings which have left undecided the question of whether Obamacare is permissible under the Constitution.
The central issue before the Court is whether Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause to impose the individual mandate on the American people, forcing them to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. If the Court holds that Congress was outside the bounds of its authority, it can strike down the individual mandate, leaving the justices to then decide whether all or part of Obamacare should fall along with it.
If the Court upholds the mandate, America will be in the same position it finds itself today — facing a law that vests untold power and resources in the hands of the federal government, that transfers health care decision making from individuals to unelected bureaucrats, and that increases costs while decreasing access. In short, America’s health care crisis will get worse, not better, and future generations will be left paying the tab. What’s more, if the Court allows the individual mandate to stand, it will unhook Congress from its Constitutional leash, empowering it to regulate commerce and individual behavior in new ways never before imaginable.
There are other issues, too, besides the individual mandate. Even before the Court reaches that subject, it must broach the issue of the Anti-Injunction Act, a 145-year-old federal tax law which could bar the Court from even hearing a challenge to the individual mandate. Under that law, one cannot sue over a tax until they have paid it. If the penalty for violating Obamacare’s individual mandate is considered a tax under that law, then the challenge could be brought at this time since the penalty has not yet taken effect. Obamacare’s challengers and even the Obama Administration agree that the Anti-Injunction Act shouldn’t prevent the Court from hearing the case, but the issue will still be heard, and some think that the Court could rely on the Act as a way of avoiding having to answer the question of whether the mandate is constitutional.
If the Court finds the Anti-Injunction Act doesn’t apply, it will move on to the individual mandate. Its decision on that issue brings with it a whole other set of problems — namely, if the Court finds that the mandate is unconstitutional, it must next decide the issue of severability — whether Obamacare will operate as Congress intended if it is stripped of the mandate, or whether all or parts of the law must be struck down with the mandate. If the Court finds that the mandate is severable, the Court can strike it down and leave it up to Congress to clean up what’s left, or, as the Obama administration has recommended, it can strike down the mandate and related provisions of the law that depend on it. Finally, if the justices find that the mandate is not severable, then it will throw out all of Obamacare, and it will again be up to Congress to enact real market-based health care reforms that bring down costs while increasing access to care.
There is another issue, too, tied to Obamacare, and that has to do with Congress’s decision to impose new requirements on states forcing them to expand the Medicaid program and abide by the federal government’s conditions, leaving them to shoulder much of the costs while operating Medicaid according to Washington’s whims. If the states don’t comply, they could lose all Medicaid funding, putting them in an untenable position in which both their autonomy and their sovereignty collapse under Obamacare’s weight.
It is up to the Court to decide whether Congress overstepped its bounds.
America waits for the Supreme Court to weigh the facts and the law, to consider the precedents and the policy, and to issue a decision that will have implications far into the future.
Will Congress be limited by the Constitution, or will its authority expand beyond the limits that the Founders intended?
Will Americans’ liberties stand?
Will Obamacare fall?
No matter the outcome of the Court’s ruling in June, Congress can and should act now to repeal Obamacare and rid the land of this intolerable act.
By Alan on Feb 07 in Blog tagged awakens a sleeping giant, Bill Donohue, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, faith denominations, fiolated, first ammendment, jews, lawsuits, meddling in church affairs, Obama Administration, Obamacare, religious freedom, Roman Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Mormons, unite together | Comments Off
Obamacare Awakens A Sleeping Giant
It is a rare moment indeed when faith denominations of all stripes unite together in common cause, and it is rarer still when that cause is a political one, with a sole piece of legislation as its principal target. But when that law eviscerates the very foundation of religious liberty in America as protected under the First Amendment, it should not be surprising that Catholics and Jews, evangelical Christians, and mainline Lutherans alike find common cause in defense of their liberties.
Such is the case with the firestorm of opposition to Obamacare and the Obama Administration’s attack on religious liberty. Under a new Obamacare mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House is mandating that virtually all religious employers, with the exception of churches, provide health care coverage for contraception — including abortion-inducing drugs — thereby trampling upon their constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion. And it is this mandate that has caused a vehement response in churches and synagogues across the country.
Yesterday, the head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, warned that the nation’s 70 million Catholics are ready to go to war with the Administration’s dictates, saying “Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church. This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets.”
Donohue’s remarks follow those of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and at least 153 Catholic bishops opposition, across the country who have weighed in with opposition to the mandate. “We Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees and suffer the penalties for doing so,” wrote Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan. Those penalties include fines imposed by the federal government that could cost larger organizations millions of dollars per year.
The Obama Administration is beginning to feel the pressure. On Sunday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius authored an op-ed in USA Today defending the Obama Administration’s actions, claiming that a very narrow exemption to the mandate is evidence that the White House is “working to strike the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.” That exemption, though, does not apply to institutions like religious schools and hospitals. Sebelius might claim the Administration is offering grace to people of faith, but in fact it is not. In an editorial that ran the same day as Sebelius,’ USA Today agreed with those standing on the side of religious liberty, writing that “in drawing up the rules that will govern health care reform” the Obama Administration “galloped over” the line and violated the “simple proposition that the government should steer away from meddling in church affairs.”
The Obama Administration’s actions, though entirely counter to the freedom of religion, should not be surprising given the nature of the President’s health care law.
Obamacare has given the federal government broad power over one-sixth of the American economy and thereby purports to grant Washington the power to force religious institutions to take actions contrary to their faith.
Addington writes that this kind of concentration of power “has proved to be a drastic and dangerous experiment.” America’s religious leaders and the faithful have awoken to this wolf at their door and are lashing out in defense of their freedoms. Congress, too, should act now by repealing Obamacare and restoring the religious liberty that is so central to our way of life.
First Amendment to U.S. Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Williamsburg Charter, signed on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. The full text of the Williamsburg Charter is available here.