There Must Be Some Limit to Federal Power


Check out these statements from legal experts on today’s hearings:

Statement from Prof. Randy Barnett, Georgetown Law:

“The government has changed its position from its original claim to be regulating the mental activity of deciding whether to obtain insurance to its new theory that it is regulating the activity of obtaining health care without insurance. This shift shows that the government's case was never as strong as some have claimed and it will be interesting to see how the judges react.”

Statement from Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute:

“[Today], the Fourth Circuit becomes the first appellate court in the nation to enter the Obamacare fray.  It will hear two cases back-to-back, Liberty University’s, in which the government won in the district court, and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s, in which Judge Henry Hudson struck down the individual mandate back in December.  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s legal team has done a wonderful job setting out the reasons why Hudson was correct and why Congress went too far in asserting the unprecedented power to compel people to enter into contracts with private insurance companies.  I was proud to sign Cato’s brief supporting that position and continue to maintain that the federal government cannot require people to buy goods or services under the guise of regulating interstate commerce.  Moreover, the individual mandate is the linchpin of the entire Affordable Care Act (as everyone concedes), so if it falls the rest of the legislation—at least its central provisions—must fall with it.”

Statement from Prof. Stephen Presser, Northwestern Law:

“We have now had two thoughtful District Court decisions (one in Virginia, one in Florida) where two Judges have found that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exceeds Congress's power under the commerce clause because it regulates inaction rather than action.  There have been several other decisions in which federal judges, without careful scrutiny have essentially found that there are no limits to Congressional power over commerce.  If the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which quite clearly marks our federal government as one of limited and enumerated powers, means anything it means that there must be some limit to federal commerce clause power.  Today's hearing before the Federal Court of Appeals in Virginia begins a new stage in the process which will end in the United States Supreme Court, which Court, if it adheres to the original understanding of the 10th Amendment, will declare the Act unconstitutional.”


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