Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Likely To Overturn ObamaCare As Unconstitutional After Hearings

(IBD) After three days of listening to the government make its case for ObamaCare, one thing is clear: The individual mandate has no constitutional basis or justification, and the entire law should be struck down.

We almost felt sorry for Donald Verrilli, the solicitor general who had to defend the constitutionally indefensible. Over three days of intense interrogation by nine Supreme Court justices, Verrilli failed to muster a single coherent, reasonable argument in support of the ObamaCare law's constitutionality.

Instead, his shambling, unfocused talking points left the government case in disarray — underscoring what a poorly conceived, badly designed law this was in the first place, and why it must be overturned.

In Verrilli's defense, we don't think even Clarence Darrow could have defended a law that runs so afoul of the Constitution's clear limits on government power.

From the very start on Monday, things went badly for the defense. Justices actually laughed at Verrilli as he tried to argue that penalties imposed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act weren't taxes — but rather something new called a "tax penalty."

If it's not a tax, it could be subject to the Anti-Injunction Act, which could delay or even invalidate parts of the health care law. If it is a tax, it blows away all pretense of ObamaCare preserving private insurance.

"General Verrilli, today you are arguing that the penalty is not a tax," joked Justice Samuel Alito. "Tomorrow you are going to be back, and you will be arguing that the penalty is a tax." Even liberal justices laughed.

Tuesday went no better. The government asserted the Constitution's Commerce Clause lets it regulate or control virtually anything, including health care — especially if it has a broad economic impact. Thus, a first-ever individual mandate to buy health care is acceptable.

But sharp questioning by justices on both sides of the political spectrum splintered that argument. At one point, Chief Justice John Roberts wondered aloud, if the government can make you buy health care insurance, can't it also make you buy a cellphone?

By Wednesday, the government's case was in tatters. A Los Angeles Times headline said bluntly: "Justices Poised To Strike Down Entire Healthcare Law."

Indeed, the justices spent 91 minutes Wednesday considering what to do if the 2,700-page law was struck down in its entirety. Based on comments, at least five justices now appear to support doing that.

And they should. Contrary to White House assertions, our Constitution strictly limits government power over us. It's the great genius of our system.

But for over a century, American progressives such as President Obama have worked to undermine those constitutional limits — opting instead for a "living," ever-malleable Constitution that lets an omnipotent government define individual rights.

Overturning ObamaCare would be a big step toward reclaiming sovereignty over our own lives and restoring the rule of law in America.