- The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation - http://blog.heritage.org -

Constitutional Questions are Serious Questions

Posted By Julia Shaw On November 2, 2009 @ 12:18 pm In First Principles | Comments Disabled

When CNS News reporter asked Nancy Pelosi “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?,” her response was “Are you serious? Are you serious?” [1]

Is Pelosi serious? Did the Speaker Pelosi really say that asking “is this Constitutional” is a trivial question? Could her statement be a gaffe?

Nope. It’s no gaffe. Pelosi’s press spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, clarified for the record that asking the speaker of the House to articulate the Constitutional authority for the health care mandate “is not a serious question.”

Frequent readers of the Foundry will recall that we have asked is the Individual Mandate Constitutional [2] and is National Health Insurance Constitutional [3]? We argued in August that the healthcare legislation is unconstitutional: specifically, neither the necessary and proper clause, the general welfare clause, nor the commerce clause of the Constitution give Congress the authority to mandate a national health care.

But Heritage is not alone in defending the Constitution against a massive increase in government’s power. Nor are we alone in taking the Constitution seriously. Many intelligent legal scholars have grappled with constitutional questions that the health care legislation provokes. David Rivkin and Lee Casey have published several op-eds questioning the Constitutionality of health care [4]. Reputable law professors from some of the best law schools in the country have had a robust conversation over at The Volokh Conspiracy [5] not only about the Constitutionality of Obamacare but also about Constitutional interpretation and what it means for laws to be “Constitutional.”

Contrast this with Speaker Pelosi’s response to CNS News and her health care “mythbuster” (which feebly defends the individual mandate as constitutional without actually quoting the text of the Constitution [6]). Speaker Pelosi’s comments once again demonstrate that progressive advocates of national health insurance are unconcerned whether the Constitution authorizes such legislation and are instead satisfied with pseudo-constitutional reasoning to reach their desired result.

For the record Madame Speaker, it is a “serious question” to ask whether pending legislation violates the Constitution, America’s highest law. In fact, it is serious people who ask the question “Is this Constitutional.”


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/11/02/constitutional-questions-are-serious-questions/

URLs in this post:

[1] “Are you serious? Are you serious?” : http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/55971

[2] is the Individual Mandate Constitutional: http://www.foundry.org/2009/08/24/is-the-individual-mandate-constitutional/

[3] is National Health Insurance Constitutional: http://www.foundry.org/2009/08/20/is-national-health-insurance-constitutional/

[4] op-eds questioning the Constitutionality of health care: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204518504574416623109362480.html

[5] a robust conversation over at The Volokh Conspiracy: http://volokh.com/posts/chain_1250981450.shtml

[6] which feebly defends the individual mandate as constitutional without actually quoting the text of the Constitution: http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/factcheck?id=0107

Copyright © 2011 The Heritage Foundation. All rights reserved.