Are the health care bills that the Senate and House of Representatives approved unconstitutional? According to three highly distinguished gentlemen, the answer to that question is no for at least three different reasons.
President Obama’s health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because key provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional. Legally speaking, this legislation creates a target-rich environment. We will focus on three of its more glaring constitutional defects. (continued here)
Who are these gentlemen?
Mr. Hatch, a Republican senator from Utah, is a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Blackwell is a senior fellow with the Family Research Council and a professor at Liberty University School of Law. Mr. Klukowski is a fellow and senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union. (from here)
Unfortunately, unless we the People choose to take part in the process, the constitutionality of the bill may not make any difference. Since the Great Depression, Congress has shown less and less inclination to pay any attention to the constitutional limits on its power. Moreover, the Supreme Court has not enforced the constitutional limits on Congress’ powers. Inexplicably, we Americans have taken it for granted that both Congress and the Supreme Court are right.
If you want to get some perspective on just how audacious Congress has become with the health care bill, then consider this video.
The video shows Senator Jim DeMint questioning provisions in the bill designed to make it almost impossible to overturn the law. If not for the seriousness of the matter, the interchange between Senator DeMint and the Acting President Pro Tempore of the Senate would be comical.
Effectively, the bill would require a two-thirds majority to repeal or change the bill. Various news articles in the new news media (as opposed to the old corporate news media) have described the problem. Here are several examples.
- Video: DeMint objects to supermajority protection in Reid’s ObamaCare bill, at Hot Air.
- President Obama and Harry Reid change the rules in order to pass health care reform bill, at the examiner.com.
- doctor! doctor, at the National Review.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange between DeMint and the Senate president (H/T to RedState, We Are No Longer a Nation of Laws. Senate Sets Up Requirement for Super-Majority to Ever Repeal Obamacare):
DEMINT: But, Mr. President, as the chair has confirmed, Rule 22, paragraph 2, of the standing rules of the Senate, states that on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the senators present and voting. Let me go to the bill before us, because buried deep within the over 2,000 pages of this bill, we find a rather substantial change to the standing rules of the Senate. It is section 3403 and it begins on page 1,000 of the Reid substitute. . . . These provisions not only amend certain rules, they waive certain rules and create entirely new rules out of whole cloth.”
[The Senate President disagreed and said it was a change in procedure, not a change in rules, therefore the Senate precedent that a two-thirds vote is required to change the rules of the Senate does not apply.]
DEMINT: and so the language you see in this bill that specifically refers to a change in a rule is not a rule change, it’s a procedure change?
THE PRESIDING OFFICER: that is correct.
DEMINT: then I guess our rules mean nothing, do they, if they can redefine them. Thank you. and I do yield back.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER: the senate stands adjourned until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.