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Senate Judiciary Chairman Unable to Explain Where Congress Gets Authority to Mandate Insurance
CNSNews.com ^ | October 22, 2009 | Matt Cover

Posted on 10/22/2009 3:41:31 AM PDT by Man50D

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could not explain what part of the Constitution grants Congress the power to force every American to buy health insurance – as all of the health care overhaul bills currently do.

Leahy, whose committee is responsible for vetting Supreme Court nominees, was asked by CNSNews.com where in the Constitution Congress is specifically granted the authority to require every American purchase health insurance. Leahy answered by saying that “nobody questions” Congress’ authority for such an action.

CNSNews.com: Where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?

Sen. Leahy: We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there is no authority?

CNSNews.com: I’m asking –

Sen. Leahy: Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there’s no question there’s authority, nobody questions that.

When CNSNews.com again attempted to ask which provision of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to force Americans to purchase health insurance, Leahy compared the mandate to the government’s ability to set speed limits on interstate highways – before turning and walking away.

CNSNews.com: But, which provision –

Sen. Leahy: Where do we have the authority to set speed limits on an interstate highway? The federal government does that on federal highways.

Prior to 1995, the federal government mandated a speed limit of 55 miles an hour on all four-lane highways. The limit was repealed in 1995 and the authority to set speed limits reverted back to the states.

Technically, the law that established the 55 mile-an-hour limit – the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act of 1974 – withheld federal highway funds from states that did not comply with it. The law rested on Congress’ constitutional authority to dole out federal tax revenue.

The individual health insurance mandate contained in all five health overhaul bills currently being considered in Congress would levy a tax on any American adult who does not have one of three government-defined health insurance policies, purchased either through an employer or individually in government-run exchanges.

This is not the first time Congress has tried to force Americans to buy insurance. An individual mandate was a key component of then-President Bill Clinton’s government-led health care overhaul.

Of that Clinton-era mandate, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said that such a proposal would be “unprecedented,” adding that the government had “never required” Americans to purchase anything. “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action,” CBO found.

CBO also noted that an individual mandate would carry with it something never before done in the history of America: it would impose a legal duty on American citizenship. In other words, all American citizens – and anyone wanting to become one – would be forced by the government to do something, even if they didn’t want to or chose not to.

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States," CBO said at the time.

"An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government."


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I'm not asking you Senator. I'm telling you! Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution does not expressly grant Congress the power to regulate health care. Therefore any version of federal health care is unconstitutional! This is the most important point people need to be making with their politicians. Contact them to tell them they are violating the Constitution!
1 posted on 10/22/2009 3:41:31 AM PDT by Man50D
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To: Man50D
Leahy answered by saying that “nobody questions” Congress’ authority for such an action

I question that, but I guess I'm nobody.

Any other nobodies out there?

2 posted on 10/22/2009 3:43:29 AM PDT by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: Man50D

Never stopped the B******S BEFORE...

Who brought up this question... Michele Bachmann?? she’s the only Republican that DEFinitely NOT A RINO!.. one of the FEW!!


3 posted on 10/22/2009 3:43:36 AM PDT by gwilhelm56 (I will DIE with Israel BY MY SIDE, rather than LIVE with the CHAINS of ISLAM on my Back!)
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To: Man50D

If the citizens of the USA roll over for this, we deserve our chains.


4 posted on 10/22/2009 3:46:11 AM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: GeronL

I’m “nobody” too, and I vote.


5 posted on 10/22/2009 3:49:08 AM PDT by meadsjn
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To: Man50D

Leahy obviously never heard of this thing called a Constitution and doesn’t understand what its for.


6 posted on 10/22/2009 3:50:46 AM PDT by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: Man50D

Somebody better tell this asshat to pick up Liberty and Tyranny and READ IT.

The Supreme Court has already ruled on a mandate to buy “insurance” during the adoption of Social Security. The Justice Department had to present it to the court as a tax, same as the income tax, while FDR was out there selling it as an insurance program.

Even then, with FDR packing the court, they knew it would be an unconstitutional mandate.

meh


7 posted on 10/22/2009 3:53:53 AM PDT by Daisyjane69 (Michael Reagan: "Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time)
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To: kittymyrib
during the townhall here, the local demhole Eric Massa was asked this question. he made a big show about it, pulled out a copy of the Constitution and read the "general welfare clause" and said that gave Congress the authority to do so.

Now he's either ignorant, or a liar (probably an ignorant liar). In the Federalist papers, Madison (or Monroe, can never remember which) specifically and explicitly said this clause does NOT give Congress the authority to do whatever it wants to make life comfy for all.

besides, if these gangsters can make me buy health insurance under the threat of the IRS and jailtime, what's to stop theses criminals from forcing me to buy a car from the UAW or face a fine or jailtime?

8 posted on 10/22/2009 3:54:18 AM PDT by wny
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To: wny

Maybe they will “offer” it as privilege and then drive every other insurer out of business.

I am not a lawyer but wonder if lawyers, constitutional ones, would weigh in.

They force us to pay taxes, to abide by federal rules about employment, etc.


9 posted on 10/22/2009 3:58:07 AM PDT by cajungirl (no)
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To: Man50D

bttt


10 posted on 10/22/2009 4:01:52 AM PDT by EmilyGeiger (The problem with socialism, is eventually you run out of other people's money. Margaret Thatcher)
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To: JohnHuang2

I am nobody!

We are legion!


11 posted on 10/22/2009 4:02:19 AM PDT by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: Man50D

You also CAN buy gasoline without ethanol.Stations are not required to sell the 10% ethanol/gasoline mixture . The problem is trying to find stations that can get it from a distributor .


12 posted on 10/22/2009 4:03:44 AM PDT by Renegade (You go tell my buddies)
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To: Man50D

Many years ago I posted this on my FR profile page....

The only amendment required to return control of our government back to the people.

Amendment XXVIII (28th.)

The government of the people, and by the people, shall not write or allow any law, directive, or regulation that shall cause, or require , any citizen or entity to purchase or utilize the products, methods, or services of any entity or individual.

D.C.H 1998


13 posted on 10/22/2009 4:04:39 AM PDT by DH (The government writes no bill that does not line the pockets of special interests.)
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To: DH

I love that concept. Gee. Our Founding Fathers would have understood that very well.

Being forced to buy tea, for example...

Great. I am going to refer to the 28th Amendment from now on. I can just see the blank stares now. Hell, once you get Americans past the Second Amendment, the only other one they can even cite is the Fifth.

Funny, that.


14 posted on 10/22/2009 4:09:55 AM PDT by rlmorel (Obama, The Flatulence of One Thousand Black Dogs After Eating Boiled Eggs Be Upon Him...)
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To: Man50D

“Sen. Leahy: Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there’s no question there’s authority, nobody questions that.”

The arrogance is beyond words! Senator, I QUESTION THAT! That and many other anti-Constitutional actions taken by the Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive staff over the past 60 years and more.

Like all the others, the Tenth Amendment has the force of law, and the Constitution is still the foundational law of this great republic. Awareness of that fact seem to be missing inside the beltway.

It’s time to take back the country.


15 posted on 10/22/2009 4:15:19 AM PDT by PubliusMM (RKBA; a matter of fact, not opinion. 01-20-2013: Change we can look forward to.)
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To: wny

The problem with “general welfare” business is that bankrupting the country and making most of the population poor does not promote the “general welfare” of the people or the country. These people are so bogus.


16 posted on 10/22/2009 4:18:39 AM PDT by Hattie
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To: Man50D
"nobody questions that" = "everyone knows that" = "it is common knowledge that"

In other words, "I don't know".

17 posted on 10/22/2009 4:21:36 AM PDT by johniegrad
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To: Man50D

Nobody: Senator, when will Congress mandate a “public” option for automobile insurance? Home insurance? Mortgage insurance? Unemployment insurance? Liability insurance?

Senator: As soon as we shut you down.


18 posted on 10/22/2009 4:27:46 AM PDT by MrBambaLaMamba (Send Obama and his Czars to Ekaterinburg)
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To: GeronL
GM has a commercial where people in t-shirts with “THEY” on it are questioning about GM cars.

Need T-Shirts at the next rallies that has “NOBODY” on it.

Mark Levin covered this well yesterday on his show (the part about the Constitution not leaky leahy).

19 posted on 10/22/2009 4:28:02 AM PDT by Caribou ( www.ktok.com Red State Radio free streaming. http://www.theamericanconservatives.org/cms/)
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To: Caribou

We need a 2 million nobody march on Leahy’s house.


20 posted on 10/22/2009 4:29:16 AM PDT by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: Man50D

re: compared the mandate to the government’s ability to set speed limits on interstate highways

Just because government has done it doesn’t mean they have the authority to do so. It’s a habit they fell into well over a hundred years ago. Do something, and if no one can find a way to stop you, then by default you claim to have Constitutional authority to do it.

And over the years they’ve tightened their grip on this folly by making the laws more and more confusing and by making the judicial system to difficult and expensive to use that it practically assures they can get away with their BS.

It’s a vicious cycle and until someone steps in and disrupts it there is no hope of it changing.


21 posted on 10/22/2009 4:31:52 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (God Bless America, and wake us up while you're about it!)
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To: GeronL

"humida humida humida"

22 posted on 10/22/2009 4:34:22 AM PDT by Doogle (USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: Man50D

“Prior to 1995, the federal government mandated a speed limit of 55 miles an hour on all four-lane highways.”

That was a bad idea, too.


23 posted on 10/22/2009 4:37:55 AM PDT by RoadTest ( But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do)
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To: jwparkerjr
-- It’s a habit they fell into well over a hundred years ago. Do something, and if no one can find a way to stop you, then by default you claim to have Constitutional authority to do it. --

Yep. See the Heller case for an example of that. The feds make it difficult to own certain firearms (blunderbuss, automatic-fire weapons), then in 2009 SCOTUS says the test for "constitutional" is "commonly available," which short barrel shotguns and machine guns are not, and they are not on account of roughly being illegal. Bootstrapping of an unconstitutional law, by the lapse of time. Same weapons WERE commonly available before the law was passed in 1934.

24 posted on 10/22/2009 4:50:32 AM PDT by Cboldt
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To: DH

...And the “28th admendment” was introduced when?


25 posted on 10/22/2009 4:51:17 AM PDT by sirchtruth (Gravity Of The Situation...)
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To: Doogle; Lazamataz; JohnHuang2; PJ-Comix

Well your nobody called today, she hung up when I asked her name... uhh


26 posted on 10/22/2009 4:52:05 AM PDT by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com)
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To: Man50D

They wont directly mandate it. What they will do is call it a tax in the Internal Revenue Code. If you have Health Insurance, you will enter a code for the carrier and you will get a “credit” which will be offset by lower exemption rates. If you don’t have it, you wonty get the credit and still have the lower exemption rates. Manipulating the Tax code has been the weapon of circumventing the constitution for decades.


27 posted on 10/22/2009 4:55:11 AM PDT by Old Retired Army Guy (tHE)
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To: Man50D
Contact them to tell them they are violating the Constitution!

And that will matter to them how? Just another day at the office for this crowd.

28 posted on 10/22/2009 5:01:20 AM PDT by Mygirlsmom (First the Affirmative Action Presidency, now Nobel as well)
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To: GeronL

...enough people send an email to Beck...he’ll run with it..*grins*


29 posted on 10/22/2009 5:02:18 AM PDT by Doogle (USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: Old Retired Army Guy
They wont directly mandate it. What they will do is call it a tax in the Internal Revenue Code. If you have Health Insurance, you will enter a code for the carrier and you will get a “credit” which will be offset by lower exemption rates. If you don’t have it, you wonty get the credit and still have the lower exemption rates. Manipulating the Tax code has been the weapon of circumventing the constitution for decades.,

Then it's all the more reason to support passage of The Fair Tax(HR25/S296) that will replace all federal income taxes with a national sales tax and abolish the IRS!
30 posted on 10/22/2009 5:05:31 AM PDT by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: Man50D

Someone ought to pose this question to Mark Levin. Isn’t he a constitutional lawyer?


31 posted on 10/22/2009 5:06:37 AM PDT by 70th Division (I love my country but fear my government!)
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To: jwparkerjr
It’s a vicious cycle and until someone steps in and disrupts it there is no hope of it changing.

That someone is you, me and all the people but it can't happen until everyone puts increasing and unrelenting pressure on their Congress critters!
32 posted on 10/22/2009 5:07:25 AM PDT by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: sirchtruth

It is not an amendment to the Constitution but should be.


33 posted on 10/22/2009 5:07:48 AM PDT by DH (The government writes no bill that does not line the pockets of special interests.)
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To: Man50D

“Fair Tax”. You wont get an argument from me. I have been listening to and agreeing with Boortz on this for years. But, even he knows congress derives all their powers through the tax code. It is the tax code that they use as a weapon to gain campaign donations and favors. Chances of them adopting the Fair Tax is zero. The only way to do this would be a grass roots effort for a constituional convention and that would be a huge undertaking.


34 posted on 10/22/2009 5:10:55 AM PDT by Old Retired Army Guy (tHE)
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To: Mygirlsmom
And that will matter to them how? Just another day at the office for this crowd.

It matters more than they let you know. Why do you think the socialists didn't meet their original deadline to pass socialist health care before the August recess? Why do you think it is in such a mess now? Why do you think they couldn't vote to end cloture yesterday on S1776 that would decrease physicians medicare fees? The reason is people are hammering their politicians constantly. Everyone has to keep up the pressure.
35 posted on 10/22/2009 5:11:01 AM PDT by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: Old Retired Army Guy
Chances of them adopting the Fair Tax is zero.

Hardly. The Fair Tax Act has more cosponsors with each session of Congress. That is directly due to the growing grassroots movement putting increasing pressure on their politicians. It's about to get more intense. Americans For Fair Taxation is about to launch a nationwide Fair Tax ad campaign.

You need to keep in mind the people are in charge, not Congress.
36 posted on 10/22/2009 5:15:09 AM PDT by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: Man50D

I am not sure Congress understands that. They are about to cram down the peoples throat a Health Care Act that the people don’t want. At any rate, good luck with the Fair Tax Effort.


37 posted on 10/22/2009 5:18:41 AM PDT by Old Retired Army Guy (tHE)
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To: Man50D
I am glad someone is finally asking this question. CNSNews also asked Steny Hoyer in this article, Hoyer Says General Welfare Clause Empowers Congress to Order Americans to.....

Not only does this reform demand all citizens buy insurance, but the government is deciding what kind of insurance we must buy.
38 posted on 10/22/2009 5:26:30 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: Daisyjane69
The rat Congress will likely invoke Article III Section 2 and remove Scotus from jurisdiction.

Second, if Congress doesn't and Scotus hears the case, it is but a short intellectual, Leftist walk for Scotus to build on Helvering v. Davis - 1937. Social Security was challenged and found Constitutional in large part based on the General Welfare clause, rejecting Madison and adopting Hamilton.

Writing for the 7-2 majority, Justice Cardozo held that Congress was given the power to spend money for the public good under the General Welfare Clause. Hence, the Social Security Act did not violate the 10th Amendment. The Court would defer to Congress in determining what legislative acts served the general welfare. Congress itself would be the monitor of what Congress would do.

39 posted on 10/22/2009 5:58:42 AM PDT by Jacquerie (Truth to the Left is that which advances their goals. Factuality is irrelevant.)
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To: Man50D

Bumping this so I can find it later. I need to send this article to some more of my friends.


40 posted on 10/22/2009 6:00:21 AM PDT by Roses0508
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To: Man50D

What do these three things have in common?

1. Man-made Global Warning.
2. The constitutionality of mandatory health insurance.
3. Obama’s citizenship.

They are things that “nobody questions.” I wonder why.


41 posted on 10/22/2009 6:05:24 AM PDT by TruthShallSetYouFree (Kenya tell me where Obama was born?)
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To: Jacquerie

I probably didn’t do a very good job of explaining things. Let me try again and see if I do a better job.

Your interpretation of the 7-2 decision is correct. That is because the Justice Department argued that it was a “tax” (which it was, of course) which they claimed found a place under the general welfare clause.

That said, there is NO precedent, nor any avenue in the Constitution for ordering citizens to purchase an insurance product (or any other product, for that matter!). An this is what the mandate before us is. In fact, the CBO has noted at least once in the past (Hillarycare) that such a law would not pass muster. Evidently, the courts have recognized in the past that forcing citizens to purchase something gives rise to citizens being PREVENTED from buying things as well.

Mark Levin’s handle is “ holdonnow “ Give him a yell or call his show.

He’s already laying the bricks for Landmark Legal Foundation to take a whack at this, should it pass.

:)


42 posted on 10/22/2009 6:21:26 AM PDT by Daisyjane69 (Michael Reagan: "Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time)
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To: wny

If you argue with someone and they say the “general welfare clause” gives Congress ANY power at all, point out to them that the clause is not a power, but is a goal. The powers that congress is given to reach that goal are clearly enumerated in the “powers” section of the Constitution.

Of course, the general welfare is a goal, and that goal is best attained for ALL PEOPLE when congress is limited to the powers specifically enumerated in the constitution.


43 posted on 10/22/2009 6:41:22 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: jwparkerjr

The federal government built the roads, so they had the power to set the rules for the roads.

The had the power to build the roads under the interstate commerce act, and also because the roads were deemed important for our national security, to ferry troops and munitions around the country.

But they never tried to require citizens to drive on the roads.

The problem is, they can easily word this in a way that makes it totally like something they’ve done before.

For example, they could simply pass a “medical care tax”, that applies to all Americans. Every person would pay the medical care tax, so it would be “constitutional” in the same way other taxes are constititional.

Then, they could pass a bill giving tax breaks to people who purchase insurance. They give tax breaks for all sorts of stuff — home insulation, child care, hybrid cars, attending college.

In the end, you would buy insurance, or else “pay the tax”, effectively giving the same result, but using widely accepted practices.

So while i totally agree that they have no constitutional authority to do this, We let the cat out of the bag a long time ago when we supported tax breaks for people doing “government favored” activity, like getting married and having children.

This is why I believe they made this a tax. And why Obama, who clearly doesn’t understand the constitution, sounded stupid when he said it wasn’t a tax — he thought they could simply make it a crime not to have health insurnace, but some staff member knew the way to do this we through the tax code.


44 posted on 10/22/2009 6:48:57 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Man50D
flood the server.

http://leahy.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Where does Congress get the power to force people to buy health insurance?

signed, nobody.

45 posted on 10/22/2009 8:24:57 AM PDT by sig226 (My President was President of the week at the Norwegian Slough Academy.)
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To: Man50D
They're doing lots of things they have no right to do.
It will come back to haunt them.
46 posted on 10/22/2009 8:26:36 AM PDT by novemberslady
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To: Man50D
Wait! I think I found the relevant authority Leahy is quoting...!!

Check out Section Twelve of the Party approved 1923 Version. It's all there!


47 posted on 10/22/2009 8:32:50 AM PDT by Gritty (Congress has no right to appropriate any public money to charity-Cong. David Crockett, 1828)
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To: Daisyjane69
I probably didn't do a very good job of explaining things either.

Article III, Section 2. The House included it in HB 3200. I give it a near certainty in any obummercare bill.

If I am wrong, the living and breathing types on Scotus will happily look under a penumbra or emanation to find Congressional power to inflict another tax for “insurance” purposes as they did for Social Security. Moonbat case law these past 70 years has superseded the plain language of our Constitution and if needed, what's a little more moonbattery to promote social justice?

When was the last time Scotus shot down major social legislation?

We live in a Judicial Tyranny, not a republic.

48 posted on 10/22/2009 8:50:14 AM PDT by Jacquerie (We live in a Judicial Tyranny - Mark Levin)
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To: Man50D
CNSNews.com: Where, in your opinion, does the Constitution give specific authority for Congress to give an individual mandate for health insurance?

Sen. Leahy: We have plenty of authority. Are you saying there is no authority?
Sen. Leahy: Why would you say there is no authority? I mean, there’s no question there’s authority, nobody questions that.

Sen. Leahy: Where do we have the authority to set speed limits on an interstate highway? The federal government does that on federal highways.

Senator - and I use that term loosely like you do your lips - You have been in Congress for 35 years now, and based on your answers one can only conclude: it is time for you to retire.

You are apparently suffering from Dementia, Memory Loss, and are Senile, as plenty of people have, "Questioned Your Authority". Those people are the Nine Supreme Court Justices.

Given your mental illness, I realize it's not your fault for not being able to remember 'things', but near the end of the 'Rehnquist Court' era, 'your authority was questioned' quite a few times and The Supreme Court Overturned some 'laws' that you and your club members in Congress passed. They overturned them 'senator' because, 'You DID NOT Have The Authority'.

Don't take my word for it, I wouldn't either (/s). Just ask your colleague Sen. Diane Feinstein. Or as her friends call her, 'Di-Fi'. she's still ticked that her pet 'law', Gun Free School Zones, was overturned and ruled unconstitutional as 'she' overreached with the attempted use of the Commerce Clause.

And Senator, SCOTUS also scolded the senate in general to stop abusing the Commerce Clause. I believe they said, "The Commerce Clause Doesn't Pertain To Everything". Your mental illness apparently made you forget that too.

49 posted on 10/22/2009 9:33:49 AM PDT by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits)
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To: Man50D

That is an easy answer because it doesn’t and IMHO as well as many others mandated health insurace is unconstitutional.


50 posted on 10/22/2009 10:15:57 AM PDT by chris_bdba
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