Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Virginia’s attorney general, who recently won a preliminary round over the Obama administration in his state’s fight over Obamacare, warns if the federal government can order citizens to purchase health insurance, “they can order you to do anything.”
If the insurance mandate is upheld, according to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, it will be the end of the American way of life and government.
“An interesting thing for people to think about is, if this is activity that can be regulated under the Commerce Clause [of the U.S. Constitution], then the federal government can reach anything,” he said in a recent interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.
“This is where you get to the massive expansion of federal power,” he warned. “If they can say that ordering you to do something is economic activity, ordering you into the economy, then they can order you to do anything, and we don’t any longer have a government of limited powers.
“That’s a major concern. We lose this case, it’s the end of federalism,” he said.
Virginia’s lawsuit over Obamacare is one among many challenging the law’s demand that everyone buy government-approved health insurance or pay a special tax penalty. Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled the lawsuit could continue because no court ever has decided whether it’s constitutional to order Americans to buy a product selected by the government.
“While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce,” Hudson said.
The Obama administration argues the Commerce Clause allows it to regulate economic activity, but Virginia’s claim – shared by other cases – is that it is not economic activity when someone decides not to purchase a product.
“Now, you’ve got to imagine the momentum that this … first preliminary ruling is gonna give to other attorneys general and legislative branches,” he said.
The Obama line of reasoning was recently proclaimed by Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who, responding to questions about Obamacare, said the federal government pretty much has no limits on its authority to manage individuals’ lives.
“I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life,” he said, adding, “The federal government, yes, can do most anything in this country.”
Cuccinelli also confirmed that should his state be victorious, the many thousands of pages of rules, regulations, limits, restrictions, taxes, penalties, fees and federal authority under Obamacare will collapse.
“If the individual mandate is found to be unconstitutional, as Virginia says it is, the whole bill falls,” he told Fox. “The whole thing.”
That’s because the law was written without a clause that allows other portions to remain in effect if one part is found to be illegal, officials said.
The Virginia focal point is the federal demand that everyone buy the health insurance mandated by the government.
“Virginia’s position is that ordering the purchase of health insurance is not regulating economic activity,” explained Cuccinelli. “What are you regulating? You’re regulating somebody doing nothing. That’s inactivity. ‘Repose’ is the word he used in the opinion, a state of repose.”
The judge noted the importance of the arguments over the mandatory purchase of insurance.
“In the secretary’s view, without full market participation the financial foundation supporting the health-care system will fail, in effect causing the health-care regime to ‘implode,’” he wrote in his decision.
But he noted that “never before has the Commerce Clause and associated necessary-and-proper clause been extended this far.”
He said while Congress has great authority to tax, the law appears to seek “to compel activity beyond the reach of Congress.”
The plan is a discharge petition offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, which is being supported by a petition drive that urges members of Congress to repeal Obamacare because of several problems:
Under the provisions of the discharge procedures in the House, such a move is required to have the support of 218 members, a majority, of the 435-member chamber before moving forward.
But since it requires a majority, it is virtually assured of approval once it reaches the point of being advanced.
The proposal states: “Pursuant to clause 2 of rule XV, I, Steve King of Iowa, move to discharge the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Education and Labor, the Judiciary, Natural Resources, Rules, House Administration and Appropriations from the consideration of the bill (H.R. 4972) to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was referred to said committees on March 25, 2010, in support of which motion the undersigned Members of the House of Representatives affix their signatures.”
Its target is the $940 billion, or greater, bill adopted by the Democrat-controlled Congress in March.
Advocates say constituents need to call their representatives to tell them to get on board right away so that the petition is positioned to move forward whether or not the GOP becomes the majority in the House after the 2010 fall elections.