From the sound of conservatives, Thursday was a day that will live in infamy. The Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare unleashed a storm of outrage from critics who made it sound like a combination of Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression and the Black Plague.
“We are now becoming Venezuela and on the way to becoming Castro’s Cuba,” said radio talk show host Michael Savage. My favorite came from a Tea Party organization: “The hideous abomination from hell must be eradicated.”
Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way is for advocates of limited power, individual freedom, and constitutional government to count all the ways in which our side won.
When Congress approved the requirement that everyone have health insurance, it took for granted it could legislate at whim, courtesy of the commerce clause of the Constitution. That provision has consistently been given a broad interpretation—allowing the federal government, for example, to force a farmer to destroy wheat he grew not to sell (commerce) but merely to eat.
When Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett challenged the mandate, legal scholars laughed out loud. He insisted the clause allowed regulation of economic activity, but not of economicinactivity—such as declining to buy health insurance. This step, he said, was literally unprecedented.
CONTINUED at Reason. Written by Steve Chapman.