The Spectacle Blog

Watching the Supreme Court on Obamacare

By on 3.22.12 | 4:28PM

This morning Judicial Watch hosted an interesting panel discussion on the likelihood of Obamacare being overturned by the Supreme Court. Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, and attorney Lee Casey ably explained the constitutional issues at hand, the flaws and problems wit the new law as a matter of policy, how those problems intersected with the legal questions, and substantial federal power grab the health care law represents.

McCaughey began with an animated speech questioning the Obama adminstration's key premises. She noted studies that showed at least 50 percent of the population annually spends almost nothing on health care, suggesting that health care isn't really universal commerce. She held up the unwieldy bill for display repeatedly. McCaughey questioned the silence of women's groups on the privacy issues Obamacare raises, saying that if a woman has the right to choose an abortion surely she can choose to have a hip replacement.

Both McCaughey and McCollum, who spearheaded Florida's legal challenge to Obamacare before the ink was dry, cited teh 11th Circuit Cour of APpeals ruling that concluded "the individual mandate is breathtaking in its scope.... It is over inclusive in when it regulates: it conflates those who presently consume health care with those who will not consume health care for many years into the future."

McCollum argued that the states do have standing to file a federal lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, calling the law an unprecedented assault on state sovereignty. Lee Casey echoed many of these concerns, emphasizing that the Constitution does not confer upon the federal government a general police power. Neither the commerce clause nor the necessary and proper clause, he maintained, could be read apart from the federal government's limited, enumerated powers.

Casey felt Justice Anthony Kennedy's past jurisprudence in federalism cases gives reasons for optimism in this case, though he quipped that one shouldn't "count their Supreme Court justices before they vote." McCollum said he couldn't be sure of the outcome, but felt that the merits of the anti-Obamacare argument were very strong. McCaughey said hopefully, "Freedom will prevail."

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