Clues for the Clueless

By: Patti Bankson’s Matt Cover tried in vain to get a rational answer from Patrick Leahy (D-VT) about forcing every American to buy health insurance..

( “Where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?”

(Leahy): “We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there is no authority?”

( Chairman Leahy wouldn’t say what part of the Constitution grants Congress the power to force every American to buy health insurance–as the entire health care overhaul does.

( “Where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?”

(Leahy): “Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there’s no question there’s authority. Nobody questions that.”
When Cover again went for the answer to the original “Constitutional” question, before turning and walking away, Leahy compared the mandate to the government’s ability to set speed limits on interstate highways. (Ooops, Patrick!) Prior to 1995, the federal government mandated a speed limit of 55 miles an hour on all four-lane highways. The limit was repealed in 1995 and the authority to set speed limits reverted back to the states.

All versions of the health care bill currently being considered in Congress mandate that individuals buy heatlh insurance. Americans who don’t would be subject to a financial penalty. Attorney David Rivkin Jr., who worked in the Justice Department under two previous Presidents, said that Sen. Leahy’s response about the constitutional authority to mandate the purchase of health insurance is wrong.”

“None of Congress’ enumerated powers support an individual purchase mandate,” said Rivkin. “We have made this case in considerable detail in our recent articles in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Indeed, the Congressional Research Service, an entity that is usually deferential to Congress’ prerogatives and prone to take an expansive view of congressional powers, when asked by the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus about the constitutionality of individual purchase mandates could only say that this is a ‘novel question.’”

“This mandate can only be based upon a view that Congress can exercise general police powers, a view profoundly at odds with the Framers’ vision of the federal government as one of limited and enumerated powers,” he said. “If the federal government can mandate an individual insurance purchase mandate, it can also mandate an unlimited array of other mandates and prescriptions, including the mandate to buy health club memberships or even to purchase a given quantity of fruits and vegetables. This state of affairs would completely warp our constitutional fabric, vitiate any autonomous role for the states and eviscerate individual liberty,” said Rivkin. “It is profoundly un-American.” (

BTW, Nancy Pelosi wasn’t any better. She answered: “Are you serious?”

By their own admission, Congress has done all kinds of things that are unconstitutional, so why expect them to get a conscience now.. why start doing the right thing when illegality and unconstitutionality have kept them in office and in the money… “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?”

All bad enough, but words fail me when I realize that the very people who’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution don’t even know what’s in it. And we wonder why we’re screwed up and bankrupt?

There’s a clue for you.

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© 2009 Patti Bankson

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