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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

One more tool for the tools

"Eyes on the ball, folks: SCOTUS has ruled Congress can make us buy stuff":

Understand this:  it doesn’t matter if ObamaCare is repealed next year.  Repeat as necessary until understood.  The SCOTUS ruling is on the books.  Congress can make you buy anything, as long as it fines you if you don’t.  The concept of constitutional limits on the power of government has been effectively removed from our guiding idea of law and jurisprudence.

I don't think that has begun to sink in, especially for the "surprising number of conservative commentators" who have "come out cheering the ObamaCare decision because it ruled that the Commerce clause in the Constitution – Congress’s power to regulate commerce across the 50 states – doesn’t empower our legislators to force us to buy things (in this case, health insurance)." Early on, I was one of those so reacting. Maybe this ruling is awful in giving Washinton so much power, but at least in the long run the overuse of the Commerce Clause will cease.

But will it? Will something so useful for the expansion of federal power be abandoned just because of a few remarks made by the chief justice in a 190-page decision? It is that decision that will reverberate through the years, no matter what does or does not happen with Obamacare. In addition to all the other tools Congress has had with which to wield extraordinary power, it has now been handed one more.

Here's the heart of it:

The biggest question we have to answer for ourselves is whether we really believe in limited government. 

I don't know how many of is still do -- I really don't -- but if there is any hope of all of reviving the concept, we certainly have our work cut out for us.