Mitt Romney’s unfitness has never been more clear.
In an editorial this morning, the Wall Street Journal examines the “reasoning” behind last week’s lower court ruling on Obamacare. The ruling’s reasoning is so flawed that it shouldn’t be and hopefully won’t be taken seriously when the appeal gets to the Supreme Court. But if it is, Mitt Romney and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will get the lion’s share of the blame for ending the freedom Americans currently have to spend and not spend their disposable income as they see fit.
It’s critical that freedom-loving Americans, especially those who are at this point supporting Mitt Romney’s candidacy to become President of the United States, understand that the Sixth Circuit panel’s ruling uses their candidate’s state-imposed individual mandate as a partial justification for Obamacare’s (bolds are mine; italics are the Journal’s):
Judge Sutton’s Imaginary Mandate
A flawed ObamaCare legal opinion that shouldn’t guide the Supreme Court.
… This is an idiosyncratic and flawed opinion, and we trust the Supreme Court, however it rules, will hold itself to a higher standard of jurisprudential reasoning.
… The controlling legal opinion, because it was more narrow than the conventionally liberal option of Judge Boyce Martin, was the concurrence of Judge Jeffrey Sutton, who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia and was nominated to the bench by George W. Bush.
… No one denies that Congress can regulate the sale of interstate insurance, whatever the wisdom of those regulations. Normally, it would regulate what kind of products insurers can sell. It could also say that insurers could sell any kind of product, but that you are only allowed to buy a certain type of insurance or else pay a penalty.
So why—Judge Sutton asks—can’t Congress pass a regulation that says insurance, once voluntarily bought, must be maintained for life? This might be called the “Hotel California” school of regulation: You can check in, but you can never leave.
The problem is that this isn’t the mandate that is now law and was drafted by Congress. This mandate doesn’t include the qualifiers of Judge Sutton’s thought example. It doesn’t control the stream of commerce so much as it compels everyone to enter the stream of commerce and creates commerce. Even if Judge Sutton’s imaginary mandate is constitutional, which is questionable, it isn’t the one that Congress wrote, and facial challenges succeed or fail on the basis of statutory language. And what about people who never buy insurance in the first place?
Judge Sutton also suggests that the individual mandate “is constitutional as applied to individuals living in states with mandates”—currently, only Massachusetts, and justified for states under general police powers—which he says undermines “the notion the mandate is unconstitutional in all of its applications.” But under the federalist system, certain powers are reserved to the federal government and others to the states. One state imposing a mandate doesn’t give Congress the license to impose one on all states.
Read that last paragraph again, Mitt Romney defenders. In its disagreement, the Journal is arguing against the court ruling’s assertion that “one state imposing a mandate” does “give Congress the license to impose one on all states,” because RomneyCare’s very existence undermines “the notion the mandate is unconstitutional in all of its applications.”
Anyone who goes to Page 46 of the lower court’s ruling will find that the Journal’s reading of that ruling is correct.
The final paragraph of the editorial boils it all down to liberty vs. tyranny:
Given the strangeness and circularity of the Sixth Circuit’s logic, and these new constitutional frontiers, we doubt the Supreme Court will adopt its view. But Judge Sutton does at least put his finger on the legal moment: The Supreme Court “either should stop saying that a meaningful limit on Congress’s commerce powers exists or prove that it is so.”
If the government can compel its citizens to purchase health insurance against their will, it can compel them to buy any number of things — really anything, as long as the justification is “clever” enough. If the government can dictate how you spend your money, the best-case scenario is that elections will become referenda on which group’s compelled spending mandates are superior — in other words, it will be about whose version of tyranny will rule. In the worst case scenario, elections will become meaningless exercises in a world where untouchable, unaccountable regulators will micromanage how citizens, now transformed into serfs, will spend their money.
This would not be the America our Founders gave us. What Massachusetts did under Mitt Romney has moved us closer — much closer — to an unprecedentedly perilous point. Yet Romney, who has not backed off one inch from RomneyCare, especially its individual mandate (at one point calling it “the ultimate conservative plan“), is supposedly leading the pack of 2012 GOP presidential contenders. This is madness.
It cannot be emphasized enough: The passage and implementation of the individual mandate to buy health insurance in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, passed under the “leadership” of Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney, has placed the fundamental liberties of all Americans in grave jeopardy.