Jim is exactly right regarding the overarching considerations about the role of the Constitution in the debate about the Constitutionality of Obamacare. Yet the cause of the populist outrage over Obamacare is related, at least in part, to factors that aren’t necessarily unique to the Constitution or American political philosophy. Maybe an example besides that of Obamacare would be helpful.
Take Roe v. Wade. Conservatives regard that decision as both grieviously harmful and at odds with a coherent reading of the Constitution — and even many liberal legal scholars share the latter view. Yet, just recently some conservatives drew attention for reiterating their acceptance of that Supreme Court decision as legitimately settled law despite their serious objections to its content. In other words, people who think that unborn babies are deprived of the right to life under current law are nevertheless comitted to changing that policy through the proper legal and legislative channels — they think that the law contradicts the conception of government embedded in the Constitution, but recognize it as the law of the land. Liberal commentators condemend that particular Redstate post for mentioning (in the process of condemning) armed revolt to rectify Roe v. Wade, but the vast majority of pro-life activistism is dedicated to pursuing marginal reforms, right-to-life constitutional amendments, or legal challenges as the proper response to Roe v. Wade.
It’s not a coincidence that the pro-life movement hasn’t promoted something like a right-to-life mandate, requiring that every woman bring any baby she has to term or pay a fine to the IRS. Such a mandate, though, would be analogous to the individual mandate in the Obama health care bill. During the battle over the health care bill, the Democrats refused to consider the individual mandate’s legal status, and mocked those who did. How would they react if Republicans passed a right-to-life mandate while demonizing anyone who suggested it wasn’t Constitutional?
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