Sunday, April 04, 2010

Well, they sure did it before...

...didn't they?

“The courts are not supposed to overturn the will of the elected representatives of people; that is something that's generally anathema to conservatives,” said Paul Rothstein, a law professor at Georgetown University. “Conservatives may not like the health care plan, but they don't want to be put in a position of judicial activism, overturning what the people's elected representatives put in place.”
The Washington, D.C. gun ban overturned with the decision in Heller v. District of Columbia was put in place by that city's elected representatives too. So it would appear that Mr (Dr.?) Rothstein was wrong in at least one instance. One could very well say that his comments were another illustration of how useless the liberal vs. conservative scale is, because it's arguable that neither a conservative nor a liberal would argue the legitimacy or (lack thereof) of a certain action based on its approval or disapproval by the people's elected representatives, but on how it furthers said liberal's or conservative's political agenda.

The story goes on to say, "Critics of the lawsuit say the U.S. health care system is national in scope, transcending state lines, and that extending benefits to the uninsured is an economic activity that requires the participation of all in the insurance pool." Well, from what I understand, here's where we get to throw the health plan out on that 10th Amendment technicality, because again, from what I understand insurance companies aren't allowed to sell insurance across state lines -- which makes it a state matter, which means that the feds would appear to be overstepping their boundaries, just as the Supreme Court ruled they did in the case that struck down the Gun-Free Zones Act of 1990. Beyond that, it'd be quite interesting indeed to find out to what extent certain tort laws (such as caps on punitive damages and restrictions on venue shopping) have on each state's health insurance premiums. Would the federal government override those laws, too? Could the government attorneys argue that's regulating interstate commerce? Sure seems that way to me, if they're going to argue the same of the universal insurance requirement. After all, it's arguable tort laws have just as much to do with economic activity as whether or not people have health insurance. Where does that line of reasoning stop? It'll be interesting to see how far the Supreme Court lets it go.