Skip to comments.Justice Breyer's unhinged Commerce Clause ramblings
Posted on 03/29/2012 10:12:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
I was listening to the tape-delayed Obamacare oral arguments in the car Tuesday when I first heard Justice Breyer's Commerce Clause diatribe, and I meant to post something when I got home. But after making dinner and putting the kids to bed, I forgot.
Until today, that is, when I read Jeffrey Anderson's account of "Breyer's Missteps." I think Jeffrey is far too generous to Breyer. Here is a fuller transcript of Breyer's outburst:
I look back into history, and I think if we look back into history we see sometimes Congress can create commerce out of nothing. That's the national bank, which was created out of nothing to create other commerce out of nothing. I look back into history, and I see it seems pretty clear that if there are substantial effects on interstate commerce, Congress can act.
And I look at the person who's growing marijuana in her house, or I look at the farmer who is growing the wheat for home consumption. This seems to have more substantial effects.
Is this commerce? Well, it seems to me more commerce than marijuana. I mean, is it, in fact, a regulation? Well, why not? If creating a bank is, why isn't this?
And then you say, ah, but one thing here out of all those things is different, and that is you're making somebody do something.
I say, hey, can't Congress make people drive faster than 45 -- 40 miles an hour on a road? Didn't they make that man growing his own wheat go into the market and buy other wheat for his -- for his cows? Didn't they make Mrs. -- if she married somebody who had marijuana in her basement, wouldn't she have to go and get rid of it? Affirmative action?
Breyer alludes to four Supreme Court cases. And he manages to botch the key facts of the case in every single one of them. Let's start at the top:
That's the national bank, which was created out of nothing to create other commerce out of nothing.
This is a reference to McCulloch v. Maryland, in which the Court upheld Congress' ability to create the Second Bank of the United States. But, as Paul Clement pointed out in oral argument, Chief Justice John Marshall found that Congress' power to create the bank came from the Necessary and Proper Clause, not the Commerce Clause as Breyer suggests. Furthermore, Congress did not compel individuals to deposit money in the bank, only that Congress could create it in order to better manage its financial affairs.
Next Breyer says:
I say, hey, can't Congress make people drive faster than 45 -- 40 miles an hour on a road?
No, actually they can't. Or at least no Court precedent says they can. The closest case is South Dakota v. Dole where the Court held that Congress could force states to raise their drinking age to 21. But again, that wasn't even a Commerce Clause case, it was a Spending Clause case (just like Wednesday's argument over the Medicaid expansion). And while Congress has, in the past, forced states to adopt a national speed limit in exchange for highway funds, it has never forced anyone to drive at a minimum speed.
Didn't they make that man growing his own wheat go into the market and buy other wheat for his -- for his cows?
No, they didn't. Breyer is pretty clearly referring to the landmark New Deal case Wickard v Filburn here, a case where the Department of Agriculture fined a farmer for growing more wheat than the government set quota allowed. Again, no one forced the farmer to do anything. He could have chosen not to grow wheat, or not to be a farmer at all. The individual mandate is completely different because Congress is forcing all Americans to buy a specific product as a condition of their existence within the U.S.
Didn't they make Mrs. -- if she married somebody who had marijuana in her basement, wouldn't she have to go and get rid of it?
Again, no. The plaintiff in the Court's recent medical marijuana case, Gonzalez v. Raich, was suing the federal government to stop them from destroying her pot. No one was forcing her to grow pot or go around throwing away other people's pot. Where Breyer came up with this fact pattern is a complete mystery.
Breyer mischaracterized the facts and holdings of every case he alluded to. If this is the quality of argument the liberals on the court are making to Justice Kennedy, the individual mandate is a goner.
Wow. Sounds like the rantings of a lunatic.
He needs to be purged from the court for being an idiot.
For the quick view go to about 2:50 into the video...but the entire 9 part series lays it all out. This isn't a Russian or KGB thing.. It's a COMMUNIST/UTOPIAN/SOCIALIST war against freedom and the United States has been at war since the late 40's. It is a great world wide anti freedom war.
later. at lunch now
Senile dementia. Say, where’s that drawing of Ginsberg asleep on the bench? The Liberal Wing of the Court would be a laughing-stock but for the damage its done.
EXCELLENT analysis and explanation!
This one needs to retire.
What I want to know is, did his outburst wake up Ruth Buzzie Ginsberg? Or did she continue to sleep through it?
Indeed. I'd like to think that someone on the USSC could construct extemporaneously a grammatically correct sentence, never mind a coherent paragraph. This is the kind of stuff you hear from derelict winos. If this is a window to his disordered thinking I'm surprised he could find his way to work. It sounds like Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, briefed with all the talking points, but not able to assemble them into actual English.
My post from another thread related to Kagan:
"Kagan: "'The exact same argument so, so that really reduces to the question of: why is a big gift from the federal government a matter of coercion?
"'In other words, the federal government is here saying: were giving you a boatload of money. There are no, is no matching funds requirement. There are no extraneous conditions attached to it.
"'Its just a boatload of federal money for you to take and spend on poor peoples healthcare. It doesnt sound coercive to me, I have to tell you.'"
This statement tells us everything we need to know about Justice Kagan's concept of "coercive power" versus "individual liberty" and the Constitution's protections for the latter.
America's Founders viewed "government" as "coercive" by nature.
America's Founders understood that "government" creates no money, has no money, and cannot "gift" money without first "taking" it from someone--a "coercive" act in itself.
Besides, this "boatload of money" is not "federal money." It is "the People's" money, and who is naive or uninformed enough to believe that "taking" it from the people, sending it to Washington, and then doling it out to the States is an efficient way to provide "poor people's health care"????
Oh, how far we have come from the genius and wisdom which gave birth to America's Constitution, America's liberty for all, and America's prosperity and greatness!!!
I hope that these members of the Supreme Court will understand that future generations of Americans and individuals all over the world, given the new technologies which enable them to study the Founders' ideas, will judge them by the Framers' standards, not by the standards of the so-called "progressive" politicians in this Administration.
"Ideas have Consequences" (Weaver). America's Founders' ideas produced freedom, opportunity, prosperity and plenty for hundreds of millions of oppressed people.
The "progressives'" ideas of redistribution (socialism) have produced approaching tyranny and oppression, mediocrity, and want, in every society where they have been tried.
:: he’s a liberal. “facts” don’t matter. ::
The only thing that matters is how the liberal interprets the “facts” at that very time and moment if it furthers the neo-communist cause.
So, Kagan and Sotomayor are idiot plants, Breyer and Ginsberg are withering, potted, idiot plants.
And the Senate put them there, making the Senate nothing but weeds masquerading as ‘plants.’
We need to win enough seats in the house and senate (60%?) to impeach and remove at least one justice just to get the courts attention.
Kagan would be the easiest after not recusing herself, but I would be happy with one or more of the liberal “make laws up as we go” justices.
That said, Bryer is definitely a Liberal, who will vote to retain Obamacare, regardless of logical arguments against it.
These hearings and the Supreme Court's opinions, both majority and minority, provide a great "teaching moment" for every individual who truly wishes to preserve (conserve) the Founders' ideas of what their Constitution meant.
Any of us who know a high school or college student who may be being propagandized by so-called "progressive" educators might do well to provide them with the Founders' own words on the nature of liberty and the nature of political and government tyranny. Else, how will they distinguish between the competing ideas?
We may be certain that, if they are in the so-called "public" schools, they likely are being propagandized by ideas which are foreign to America's Constitutional foundations.
A copy of Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny," or a Bicentennial (1987, now reprinted) volume entitled "Our Ageless Constitution," might help them to sort the wheat from the chaff of redistributionism.
Levin's work speaks for itself.
The older volume, which celebrated 200 years under the Constitution, is an easy-to-read, beautifully-illustrated 292-page hard-cover book utilizing the Founders' own words to describe the essential principles underlying the Declaration of Independence and Constitution's protections. In Part V, constitutional scholars in 1987 traced the methods by which America had been led away from those principles over the 200 years. It is available here. A click on the "endorsements" tab will show 1987 reaction to the volume, including words from President Reagan.
November 2012 provides young people an opportunity to participate in a decision which is critical to liberty. To be informed is to retain a possibility for their children's children to be free.