What if the Healthcare Law is Not Repealed?
By: Craig Chamberlain
One of the first thing that the new Congress wants to do is vote to repeal the healthcare law. And, that’s a good idea. If ever a law deserved to be repealed it’s Obamacare. The bill is expensive, confusing, threatening, not to mention unconstitutional. So yes, the law should disappear, and go the way of the Alien and Sedition acts. The problem is that the vote, whether we want to admit it or not, is a symbolic gesture to the voters. The Senate, and the Presidency, are still in the hands of the Democrats. They have put too much into getting this bill passed, and they are not going to stand by and let a bunch of yahoo’s destroy their beautiful work. The optimist will say that there are Democrats who will vote to repeal, and they will be right in making that claim. But most of the House Democrats who voted against Obamacare, were voted out in the midterm election, and there aren’t enough Democratic Senators willing to support repeal to get it through that chamber. Even if, by some miracle, it got through Congress, President Obama would exercise his veto, and there would not be enough votes to override it.
This leaves the conservatives(and the majority of the American people, let’s not forget that most oppose this law) with few options and none of them pleasant. If the House has it’s vote, and after seeing it die in the Senate, shrugs and moves onto other business it will alienate many of the people who just put them into office. Repeated attempts to repeal the law will all be futile as longs as the Democrats have any power in Washington(you think the American people would have learned by now). If they refuse to fund the bill, which is better than nothing, they will be blamed for any chaos in the health care sector, and could face attempts to by Democrats into shutting down the whole government, and with the miserable toadies in the media we all know who will get the blame. Quitting is not an option, but then again there’s no real chance of getting the law repealed either.
We could always put our faith in the Supreme Court. After all, federal judge Henry Hudson ruled that the individual mandate violated the constitution, and that the government could not force a person to purchase something under the commerce clause. But this is a temporary victory. In the end, this case will end up at the Supreme Court where it will be a 5-4 decision. What kind of a 5-4 decision is the question. It’s safe to say that Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas will vote to uphold the lower courts ruling, and be rid of Obamacare. It’s equally likely that Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor, will rule that the commerce clause gives the federal government the right to regulate any economic activity that it wants to, and that there really aren’t any constitutional limitations on government action. The wild card will be Justice Kennedy. If opponents of the bill want to put their faith on Justice Kennedy to do the right thing they are setting themselves up for a serious disappointment. Anything’s possible with the court, but I wouldn’t hold my breath in waiting for the court to come in and save the day.
What options are there, then? There is one option outside of the Congress or the Courts. That would be civil disobedience. The American people can always refuse to obey the law. There is always a limitation to the powers of the government, despite what the government might think. That limit is the consent of the governed to cooperate. When the people refuse to obey or play by the rules the state has lost all power. Let’s remind ourselves of what Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. Governments derive their power from the consent of the governed, and when governments misbehave it is the right of the people to change governments. The voters have done that. We saw a massive shift in the November elections, with the GOP gaining its biggest majority in the House of Representatives since 1946. Clearly, by the votes cast in November, and peoples attitudes towards the health care law, the people have not given their consent. Since we have not given our consent, we are under no obligation to obey this law.
This has happened before in America’s past. In the Compromise of 1850 Congress passed a new fugitive slave law, a law that not only required the return of escaped slaves, but that the people of the north could be conscripted into hunting them down. The law caused such outrage in the north that the people simply refused to abide by it. I am not comparing a stupid healthcare law with slavery, but I am trying to say that the government only has as much power as the people give it. Another example was the Real ID act, that was passed a few years ago. This law required that all voters show ID before they be allowed to cast a ballot. The states, along with civil libertarians, balked and refused to enforce the law. The civil rights movements saw the people disobey the Jim Crow laws in defense of civil rights. Would it be so wrong for Americans to refuse to obey this law in defense of the economic freedoms?
If the government fails to repeal, or strike down, this law then the only last recourse is for the people to refuse it. What’s President Obama going to do? Is he going to jail the millions of Americans who refuse to obey? The American people, for the most part, favor the constitution, and want the government to follow it. Why then should the people obey an unconstitutional law? If this law is still on the books after the 2012 elections then any American who cares about freedom, or the constitution, is morally bound to ignore the law, just as any American would ignore a law that attacked, say, freedom of religion.
Obamacare must go, one way or another. It is an economic disaster, and affront to liberty, and a threat to the constitution. If the bill is still on the books, then the people must disobey the law.