Monday, February 7, 2011

Re: We're Off

Egad. I'll try to be brief.

The SCOTUS (being comprised of human beings) can make mistakes. The Gonzales v. Raich (ne: Ashcroft v. Raich) decision is one mistake out of many: Dred Scott, Kelo, etc., easily come to mind. Assuming you are implying such, I certainly agree with the concept that these numerous mistakes can frequently be traced back to using ones position on SCOTUS to provide a 'legal justification' for support of ones personal position (i.e., political viewpoint). Unfortunately, our country's legal history is continually clouded by such actions. In my mind, *THIS* type of judicial ruling - regardless of the position taken and most certainly regardless of whether or not I personally or politically agree with it - is the clear definition of "judicial activism". And it is wrong. Period.

With respect to the Raich case, I side (for the most part) with Justice Thomas. Even though I personally disagree with California's position and actions, they are within their constitutional rights to do so. To my knowledge, there is NO clear constitutional foundation granting such powers to Federal enforcement. However, the majority of Supremes, in their attempt to bolster Federal power, simply grabbed the most convenient (only?) tool available to them - the Commerce Clause. Yet-another mistake, as we are now discovering.

Salient points...

- The Raich case does NOT met the (obvious) criteria for INTERSTATE commerce. It was a local matter, being interfered with by Federal representatives who exceeded their legal authority. Period. Finding a way to 'fix' the SCOTUS decision in Raich (and other) will be extremely difficult. This is what happens when you turn political efforts over to the courts in an attempt to accomplish what are clearly legislative objectives.

- The Affordable Care Act (or whatever it is technically called: 'Obamacare') attempts to ESTABLISH a mechanism which mandates and requires actions attached to interstate commerce where none has previously existed. The regulation of the insurance industry is completely under the guidelines and control of the various state authorities. This is why I cannot buy a policy, as a resident of Georgia, which does not confirm to Georgia law. Different policies in different states have different costs: because of the state level mandates for coverage which occur on a state-by-state basis... Anyway, I do not know of any legal justification to allow - through legislative fiat - a VOLUNTARY transfer of individual rights and obligations (which is the key aspect of *any* contract for services to be provided/rendered). As such, I believe 'Obamacare' is unconstitutional, by attempting to interfere with (and ultimately control) PRIVATE commercial transactions (which would no longer be voluntary).

- Yes, there are numerous other cases - some arguably beneficial - wherein the government interferes in such matters. It's still wrong.

- BTW - the "you've got to buy car insurance" argument is bogus. You can drive a car all you want: on your own property. It is only when you voluntarily enter into a 'contract' to use 'public' roads that you must conform to the public requirement of providing insurance.

- I have a great personal desire to see the Obamacare Act set aside - I just don't think the Act, as written, or by intent, is an appropriate matter for government. That said, I do NOT seek to accomplish that goal "by any means necessary". It must be done properly, and that means (ultimately) legislatively. Unfortunately, there is a belief that using SCOTUS to rule on the constitutional side of the argument is appropriate. It may be. But ultimately, it is a legislative issue. The act was passed as legislation, and it can - MUST - be *removed* (or set aside) by the same process.

- I see the deliberate goal of Obamacare as being founded in the idea that Everyone should have 'equal' access to the same amount of stuff. Hogwash. Who decides?

What I am trying to say, is that "Inequality" and "Freedom" (or "Liberty") mean different things to different people. There is a significant debate on the idea that "Inequality" includes ethical concepts such as the desirability of a particular system of rewards. For example, since there ARE clear differences in income levels, there is inequality, by definition. Whether or not trying to modify that condition is an appropriate function of government - at the expense of Freedom/Liberty - is debatable... but not to me: I place a very high value on Freedom and Liberty. In the Real World, there is an unavoidable inequality between individuals in intelligence, desire, discipline, etc., which is part of the human condition. That inequality CANNOT be successfully manipulated by political fiat, no matter how Good the intention or how wonderful the desired Consequence. Thus:

Free people are not equal. Equal people are not free. And thus it will always be.

That's enough for now...

- Steve

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