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Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Liberals need to take the Constitution seriously

By Jennifer Rubin

Ruth Marcus objects to conservatives dominating the constitutional debate on health care and the rest:

It's my constitution as much as it is Michele Bachmann's. She and I may disagree about its meaning, but I am just as committed to its enduring importance.

The folks on my side of the political spectrum ought to be saying so. Through their silence, they risk being portrayed as the anti-constitutionalists.

Ruth is right, but this is a problem of the left's own making. From the liberal lawmakers who sneered at the reading of the Constitution to the left-wing law professors spouting the mantra of critical legal studies (which, like deconstruction in literature, asserts there is no objective truth in judging, merely the assertion of judicial whim) to bloggers who treat judges like political hacks, the left has done much to convince the public that only one party -- not theirs -- is concerned about the structure and meaning of the Constitution.

It wasn't always so. Not to o long ago there were liberal legal giants who took seriously their role to educate the public about what courts actually do. I still recall the gripping PBS series in the mid-1980's, The Constitution: That Delicate Balance hosted by Fred Friendly and starring Harvard Law's Arthur Miller and two other colleagues. Center stage, the law professors would spin a law school-type hypothetical and then take an array of participants (judges, lawyer, politicians, reporters) through the case, pressing their assumptions and grilling them on their constitutional reasoning. It was enthralling. More important, however, it taught viewers that the judiciary is fundamentally different from other branches.

In the courts, "I had 60 votes" or "the Republicans don't have a cheaper alternative" are irrelevant. The Justices don't care a fig about CBO scoring. As Charles Lane puts it:

Fairly stated, this is the conservative constitutional argument: Health care for all is a good cause. But if, in the name of that noble goal, you construe Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce so broadly as to encompass individual choices that have never previously been thought of as commercial, much less interstate, there would be nothing left of the commerce clause's restraints on Congress's power. And then, the argument goes, Congress would be free to impose far more intrusive mandates.

Since most liberals never imagined the courts would prevent Congress from doing whatever it wanted to bring the decades-old liberal dream to fruition, they in effect ceded the battlefield of legal argument to the right.

So, it's not surprising that conservatives, who believe you really can divine the meaning of the Constitution, have dominated the debate. Liberals can't really make credible arguments for a more expansive reading of the Constitution (e.g. more powers for Congress, more rights without a textual basis for citizens) unless they begin to, yes, revere the Constitution. And that reverence begins with the understanding that just because you like a law doesn't mean it's constitutional.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 4, 2011; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  law  
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Comments

The Crits?
That's your argument for liberals hating the Constitution? A disorganized and largely ignored strain of socio-legal analysis that had a brief vogue in the 80s?
Just about anything that comes to mind is grist for you folks, isn't it?
Since Beck staked out Woodrow Wilson & the Progressives, maybe you can blame everything on LaFollette & the Wobblies, rather than a scant few law profs.
Folks may have heard of them.

Posted by: adelaide1 | February 4, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Ruth Marcus - and every Liberal that I've read opining on the constitutionality of Obamacare - thinks the Constitution is written on a roll that hangs next to the toilet. Maybe there once were "liberal legal giants" but in this era of practically brainless, emotion-based liberal religiosity, all that remains is just a bunch of cookie-cutter hacks.

Posted by: jafco | February 4, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'll try again,but it seems that the constitutional experts blogging here are in agreement with the following:
OC could easily be considered unconstitutional,however,our current system of requiring PRIVATE healthcare providers to pay for the care of indigents is equally unconstitutional. Because the cost of that indigent care by PRIVATE hospitals and providers requires coericed spending by individuals to susidize the forced spending by the hospitals. This is accomplished by "cost shifting,higher hospital fees etc etc", to cover the outlay for the indigent.
In other words,the effects of the current system are the same as OCare,because we are currently forced to pay for the poor.
When an indigent enters a private hospital,and exits that private hospital having incurred $100000 expense,who pays the 100 grand,obviously,this will be paid by ongoing users of the healthcare system in terms of higher healthcare costs&higher insurance premiums. It is obviously unconstitutional to "force" this expense on us. Therfore the "Free Market" in healthcare is the only way out of this constitutional mishap.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane's cited argument falls down with the second word, "But IF ..."

However, before that, Ms Rubin disparages "bloggers who treat judges like political hacks." Such as a judge opposed to Obamacare who owns part of pro-Republican consulting firms, or who has investments in oil supply firms while considering drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere should continue essentially unregulated, or a Supreme Court justice who characteristically decides for business and against consumers and whose wife pull in close to a million dollars from pro-business anti-consumer lobbyists.

Even though they insisted on the bowdlerized version, I personally am glad that the Tea Totalitarians wanted the Constitution read out loud. From the pronouncements many of them made before the election, clearly this was the first time that many of them had been exposed to even a Cliff Notes version. And from the pronouncements many of them have been making since taking the Oath of Office, many of them weren't paying a lot of attention during the reading.

Posted by: edallan | February 4, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Worthless. No matter what Democrats did with the reading of the Constitution people like Ms. Rubin would have claimed they were snearing at the Constitution. Then proceeded to bootstrap up an argument how "liberals" want to overturn it the Constitution.

As an argument the entire article + the links are worthless.

Posted by: kchses1 | February 4, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

this argument is specious, at best:
"OC could easily be considered unconstitutional,however,our current system of requiring PRIVATE healthcare providers to pay for the care of indigents is equally unconstitutional. Because the cost of that indigent care by PRIVATE hospitals and providers requires coericed spending by individuals to susidize the forced spending by the hospitals. This is accomplished by "cost shifting,higher hospital fees etc etc", to cover the outlay for the indigent."

Private hospitals are, in the overwhelming majority, organized as community not for profits. That is they exist to provide a benefit to the community they serve, not to render a profit for owners or shareholders.

Recent changes in IRS form 990 filing requirements are designed to force not for profits to numerically measure, and publically disclose, the amount of charitable care they provide. Bottom line: we already pay these costs. What we don't pay for is another huge batch of useless federal bureaux and agencies that must be staffed by political appointees and Obama's union cronies.

next, every time rcaruth or any other liberal raises this deeply foolish argument, kindly remind them that we also are forced to pay the cost of shoplifting every time we make a retail purchase. Is it rcaruth's intention that the Federal government also intrude in that arena? Is so, how long must we wait for soviet style bread lines?

Oh, and whence this "co ercion" is the administrator of my community hospital having people arrested for failure to donate to his organization? Use of the word "coercion" is simply inappropriate here.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Skippy/you missed the elephant in the room,and that is that the present sytem requires private healthcare providers to pay for the poor. As for what happens with those "charitible expenses" there are 8 million stories. What is your argument for justifying that the poor should not be turned away,but paid for,unvoluntarily. And please mention the attitude of the Propriatary hospitals towards these requirements.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Touche, skipsailing28, now youze have a contention. The column has served its purpose by reminding us of that great series, as well as sending us for DVDs of The Hospital with George C. Scott and The Carey Treatment with James Coburn and the highly talented Jennifer O'Neill, and let's get Summer of '42 while we're at it for the score.

Posted by: aardunza | February 4, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, aren't you embarassed at least a little by constantly using the term liberal as a perjorative? You yourself are quite liberal on some social issues, so why pander to the Beck/Limbaugh crowd?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Skipper/Private hospitals are, in the overwhelming majority, organized as community not for profits. That is they exist to provide a benefit to the community they serve, not to render a profit for owners or shareholders

Are you saying that community not for profits,when they pay for charity health ALWAYS eat the costs of that charity,and never pass it those costs "on" LOL

And what happened to the Conservative ideals of pay as you go/free market solutions for healthcare? It seems you're satisfied with a system that incentivizes poor folks to take advantage of those Emergency Rooms.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Hard to argue a conservative devotion to the Constitution when so many these days seem to think the 14th Amendment doesn't exist.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 4, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

First this one, then the other:
==========
Skippy/you missed the elephant in the room,and that is that the present sytem requires private healthcare providers to pay for the poor. As for what happens with those "charitible expenses" there are 8 million stories. What is your argument for justifying that the poor should not be turned away,but paid for,unvoluntarily. And please mention the attitude of the Propriatary hospitals towards these requirements.

==============

Yes, of course the private health care providers "pay" the cost of the charitable care they render to those who cannot pay.

Why do you think so many of the hospitals in America are named after saints or philanthropists?

the largest single provider of inpatient acute care in America today is the Catholic Church. They provide charity care because they are compelled to by their faith, not because some cabal of socialists wrote regulations mandating it. Look at the founding documents for the vast majority of hospitals it is the same story: provide care to the community.

We were taking care of each other long before Medicare and Medicaid. Why? Because we are basically good people.

that is the fundamental disconnect here. We don't need some overpaid, over educated idiots in Washington to tell us how to take care of ourselves, or how to take care of each other. That is just what good people do.

So yes, I recognize that a portion of my monthly insurance premium goes to cover the cost of uncompensated care. I don't have a problem with that. Apparently you do. My suspicion is that this arrangement cuts out the government and you can't understand how that works without the bureaucrats, politicians, cronies and union members getting their cut.

Is that just too complex to understand? What am I missing here?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

now this one:
===================
Skipper/Private hospitals are, in the overwhelming majority, organized as community not for profits. That is they exist to provide a benefit to the community they serve, not to render a profit for owners or shareholders

Are you saying that community not for profits,when they pay for charity health ALWAYS eat the costs of that charity,and never pass it those costs "on" LOL

And what happened to the Conservative ideals of pay as you go/free market solutions for healthcare? It seems you're satisfied with a system that incentivizes poor folks to take advantage of those Emergency Rooms.
==============================

Of course they "pass the cost on". the question is, to whom. Let me help you a bit with some good old fashioned facts.

Hospitals, and I will limit this to those providers as they are by far the largest element in the cost picture, live with a fairly complex reimbursement system:

Medicare pays them based on DRG's. DRGs set a fixed payment per case based on the diagnosis being treated and other co morbid conditions that may be present. Since it is FIXED by government fiat, the hospital must live with that.

Medicaid varies state to state. Most states are migrating to an HMO model. Arizona held out from Medicaid until it could get an all HMO model.

Managed care/HMO's pay hospitals, generally, via a fixed rate method. Either Per Diem or per case. For commericial HMO's the rate is set by negotiation. Medicaid HMO's may have some variation on that but they are generally at the negotiating table too.

There is a simple rule in hospital finance: nobody pays retail.

so the ability to pass on "charity" is limited to the ability to negotiate effectively. Medicare doesn't care about the cost, and HMO's set prices based on the market, the desirability of the provider and other business considerations.

But hospitals, as I've said, are run as charitable organizations, so if the charity care costs are high, that is net revenue is down, they don't go buying that new pet scanner because they can't afford it.

again, the workings of this may be arcane, but the fact remains, we in the community are already paying for charity care

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This awesomeness of this article just made my head explode.

I consider myself right of center but even so sometimes I found that conservative's endless endearment of the Constitution a bit tiresome...until lately, in large part for many of the reasons that Rubin gave here.

Posted by: Fitz157 | February 4, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What am I missing here?

The issues that make OCare "unconstitutional"/That people are forced to purchase insurance to cover the cost of uncompensated care.
"So yes, I recognize that a portion of my monthly insurance premium goes to cover the cost of uncompensated care. I don't have a problem with that."
So what makes OCare unconstititional?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The only treatment private hospitals are required to give is to save the life and stabilize a patient and then have them transferred to a public hospital. Just try to get into a for profit hospital without health insurance and get back to me with how it went for you.

For all you Darwinian Republicans, emergency room treatment is not free. You can't walk in, get treatment, and ignore the bill without consequences which include collection agencies, civil judgments, and garnisheed wages. The working poor have to put it on a credit card which they can't afford to pay, which gets them upped to higher usurous rates and exorbitant penalties. Many companies fire employees whose wages are garnisheed so a hard working family can be financially and emotionally ruined because their child had an accident requiring hospitalization. Let's screw the working poor is a Good old American Constitutional "promote the general welfare" attitude, it is.

The Commerce Clause was corrupted back in the 60's for a good purpose when the Supreme Court used it as justification for applying the Civil Rights laws in the South. They held that the clause applied to a restaurant that didn't want to serve blacks even though the business proved that every thing it offered was produced in state. The court held that the travelers who might stop to eat constituted interstate commerce. Some times good things come back to bite.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 4, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What am I missing here?

The issues that make OCare "unconstitutional"/That people are forced to purchase insurance to cover the cost of uncompensated care.
"So yes, I recognize that a portion of my monthly insurance premium goes to cover the cost of uncompensated care. I don't have a problem with that."
So what makes OCare unconstititional?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Finally, I'll address the mischaraterization of the conservative view point on healthcare.

Let me begin by saying that healthcare is NOT a right. It is a privledge. There is no right that I enjoy that automatically places a duty to perform on others. By saying that healthcare is a right, you are also saying that you have the right to demand goods and services from others at no cost to you. Sorry, that just ain't the way it is.

So am I content that the uninsured use ER's? Of course I am. Since the original COBRA law ERs in America are required to triage patients to determine if an emergency exists, before seeking payment for service. The smart ERs I know then shunt patients that aren't emergencies to "urgent care clinics". Often these share the same waiting room.

With Medicaid FFS payments spiraling down, most patients with that "coverage" can't find a doc anyway. So the ER is the natural choice. Funny how the great society failed and yet liberals continue to demand more, more, more.

I am reminded of the old joke: What will happen if the Soviets take over Egypt? Nothing for ten years and then there will be a shortage of sand. Collectivism fails when it is writ large.

That's just the way it is rcaruth.

Simply put: since healthcare is a privledge and not a right Americans rightly expect that more money equals more care. If somepays a hospital 100K they will have expectations that are vastly different from the person in the ER who needs some antibiotics and doesn't have a dime.

That's just the way it is. I have no doubt that a big Mercedes Benz is a vastly safer car than my wife's 15 year old Camry. Are you going to make Uncle give me one?

And what problem do you see that demands any "solution". It is my opinion that Obamacare is just another instance of the liberal three step: Create a "crisis" where no exists. Demand government action. Then raise taxes and higher cronies and union members.

Tell me what the problem is, then we can talk about how the free market can help.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The only treatment private hospitals are required to give is to save the life and stabilize a patient and then have them transferred to a public hospital. Just try to get into a for profit hospital without health insurance and get back to me with how it went for you.

For all you Darwinian Republicans, emergency room treatment is not free. You can't walk in, get treatment, and ignore the bill without consequences which include collection agencies, civil judgments, and garnisheed wages. The working poor have to put it on a credit card which they can't afford to pay, which gets them upped to higher usurous rates and exorbitant penalties. Many companies fire employees whose wages are garnisheed so a hard working family can be financially and emotionally ruined because their child had an accident requiring hospitalization. Let's screw the working poor is a Good old American Constitutional "promote the general welfare" attitude, it is.

The Commerce Clause was corrupted back in the 60's for a good purpose when the Supreme Court used it as justification for applying the Civil Rights laws in the South. They held that the clause applied to a restaurant that didn't want to serve blacks even though the business proved that every thing it offered was produced in state. The court held that the travelers who might stop to eat constituted interstate commerce. Some times good things come back to bite.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 4, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

this is a blatant attempt to change the subject:
==============
The only treatment private hospitals are required to give is to save the life and stabilize a patient and then have them transferred to a public hospital. Just try to get into a for profit hospital without health insurance and get back to me with how it went for you.

=====================

Two huge problems here. First what a hospital is required to do is different from what a hospital is willing to do.

Next, I didn't mention "for profit" now did I pal? No, I didn't. You can't refute my point so you'll change the subject. Not even a nice try.

And now to blather about hospital finance. yes there is a cost associated with any care any provider renders. Just Duh boy.

Hospitals, like all other community organizations, have a duty to act in a fiscally prudent manner. That means, gasp, attempting to collect bills. As I've noted the bills NOT paid by the patient are paid by the rest of us. Limiting that via effective but ethical collection practices means that my community can have a decent hospital, provide care to the members of my community who cannot necessarily afford it and still have enough to stay current in advancing technology.

Lazarus my man, there is a simple rule of thumb: the bills that cannot be paid by patients are called "charity" The bills that patients can pay but chose not to are called "Bad Debt" both eat the bottom line and threaten the finances of the community's asset. Collections is an establish way to discern the two.

Instead of hurling insults (a standard approach from the angry lefties these days) why not make a sound argument? Apparently you can't, because if you could you would.

And I love how blithely Lazarus rationalizes the subversion of the constitution. I don't see any language in its text that says "Oh, by the way, you can violate this document if you want something you think is really, really important or you just think that the law you have in mind would be nice."

Sorry pal, but if this is all you've got, you've got nothing.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Tell me what the problem is:

The deeper problem is that you believe your beliefs are facts:
(1)Let me begin by saying that healthcare is NOT a right. It is a privledge/Opinion
(2) There is no right that I enjoy that automatically places a duty to perform on others/Opinion
(3)By saying that healthcare is a right, you are also saying that you have the right to demand goods and services from others at no cost to you. Sorry, that just ain't the way it is./Opinion
(4) Funny how the great society failed and yet liberals continue to demand more, more, more./opinion
(5)Collectivism fails when it is writ large.
That's just the way it is rcaruth./Opinion

Not only do you express your opinions as factual,your tone is sanctimonious,and you picked a good spot to impart your wisdom,Jennifer has a similiar style,opinionated and sanctimonious.
And none of your diatribe answered the question how is OCARE any more unconstitutional than our current system?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hate to disagree with you but if your position is that healthcare is a right, you must, by definition also believe that others should give it to you free of charge. So I stand by my analysis. It is not opinion. It is logic.

I have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What charge upon you is levied when I excersize this? NONE. I hope you see the important distinction.

Why is OC unconstitutional? Sorry you can't ferret this out for yourself. It seems to me that you really want it to be OK.

Let's look at the mandate. I freely stipulate that a portion of my insurance premium goes to cover the cost of uncompensated care. But I am under no compulsion from the Federal government to buy such insurance. NONE.

This is a huge test. And I don't think that those who oppose this march toward socialism will accept a judicial fiat that limits our liberty. I just don't.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What charge upon you is levied when I excersize this? NONE. I hope you see the important distinction.

It's very difficult for me to discern how LLPH has any meaning if one is seriously ill and without means to treat it. If I have an operable brain tumour that has taken away my sight,powers of speech,and ability to walk,what LLPH do I have unless the tumour is removed?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 4, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Skipsailing

Charity? Lifesaving health care is a right.....a human right. It's what civilized people recognize as a community responsibility. If you want to live in the animal kingdom, be my guest.

Where do you personally get the right to be defended from an enemy? Police protection? The list is endless, you want to pick an choose based on your personal situation. Protection from a robber is your right but treatment for the robber's stab wound can be charity, right?

One of the disgraces of our system, the one Obamacare tries to repair, is the fact that hard working people from rural areas, small towns, and often big cities who work every day in miserable jobs and send their sons to war far beyond their proportion of the population, yet aren't fortunate enough to work for a company that provides health insurance by the luck of the draw or other reasons, can be and are wiped out and have their futures destroyed because people like you believe they get to choose, for everyone, from among obvious societal obligations which benefits them only.

P.S. Providing health care should not be the responsibility of any business.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 4, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice how reverence for the Constitution seems to go hand in hand with being the party out of power?

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 4, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Lazarus40 –
You need to do some research on the American experiment and the notion that men can rule themselves. Our founding documents are based on natural law’s inherent rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Note that these individual rights impose no cost on others. Note too the implications of these basic rights: the right to believe what one wants (freedom of religion), freedom of speech, the right to self-defense, and so forth. None impose costs on others.

Any right to healthcare would impose costs on others, the healthcare providers. Would not such a right limit their freedom? It certainly would, just as a right to an income -- a job -- would impose costs and limit the freedom of others.

The US Constitution puts few obligations on the federal government, the primary being national defense. The first ten amendments, created to assure passage of the basic constitution, act to limit the reach of the federal government through use of phrases like “Congress shall make no law.”

Providing healthcare to others generally has to be a voluntary act; as such, it could well be a matter of charity. Understand too that states are sovereign and therefore do not necessarily face the same restrictions that the federal government does. They could, depending on their constitutions, require that their residents pay a tax directed toward healthcare for those who could not otherwise afford it. That would be a state matter, generally beyond the purview of the federal government, but there are exceptions to that too, thanks to the 14th amendment.

Your passion is evident and objectives praiseworthy, however the US system as conceived by our founders does not accommodate them.

Posted by: SCMike1 | February 4, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Your "argument" -- and that is using the term loosely -- that liberals never thought the courts would act to derail progressive legislation is laughably wanting in even a basic understanding of US history.

Have you honestly never heard of the right wing activist Supreme Court of the early 1900s that repeatedly invalidated, on supposed constitutional grounds, progressive federal and state statutes that sought to regulate working conditions, including those that tried to ameloriate the exploitation of women and children? Are you actually unaware that those decisions are now regarded legal dinosaurs, not merely quaint, but ludicrous in their specious reasoning?

Liberals are quite aware of the destructive power of the current right wing activist Court -- most notoriously exhibited in the preposterous Citizen's United decision. We expect this Court can and will do its worst. At the same time, we are quite certain the future, rational jurists will in the course of time rectify each and all of the disasters this Court visits on USA, including its attack on health care legislation.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 5, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Your "argument" -- and that is using the term loosely -- that liberals never thought the courts would act to derail progressive legislation is laughably wanting in even a basic understanding of US history.

Have you honestly never heard of the right wing activist Supreme Court of the early 1900s that repeatedly invalidated, on supposed constitutional grounds, progressive federal and state statutes that sought to regulate working conditions, including those that tried to ameloriate the exploitation of women and children? Are you actually unaware that those decisions are now regarded legal dinosaurs, not merely quaint, but ludicrous in their specious reasoning?

Liberals are quite aware of the destructive power of the current right wing activist Court -- most notoriously exhibited in the preposterous Citizen's United decision. We expect this Court can and will do its worst. At the same time, we are quite certain the future, rational jurists will in the course of time rectify each and all of the disasters this Court visits on USA, including its attack on health care legislation.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 5, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

And just because you don't like a law, Jennifer, doesn't mean that it's not constitutional.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 5, 2011 1:15 AM | Report abuse

SCMike1

"Our founding documents are based on natural law’s inherent rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Note that these individual rights impose no cost on others."

None of those impose a cost on others? Tell that to my dead cousin, a POW uncle, and the millions of dead and maimed GIs who paid no cost for our liberty.

Read the Constitution. You will find a clause right after "provide for the common defense" (the Constitution doesn't end there.) and you will find that it continues "and promote the general welfare......" Darwinian Republicans' brains can't decipher the words after "defense."

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 5, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

JohnMarshall,

Jen is not using liberal as perjorative, but I hear liberals make that claim all the time about anyone who uses the word. They don't like "liberal." They REALLY don't like "socialist." For the moment they are okay with "progressive," but they avoid using it in political campaigns, because it gives away who they are. They will never use the REAL word, which is "utopians." The perjorative is not in the word; it is in the belief system. It doesn't matter what you call it; if people understand what it means, they won't like it. Personally, I'll just stick with "leftists."

The leftists whine that they are seen as anti-Constitution for the same reason they whine that they are seen as anti-religion - it makes them look bad. But in each case, it is a fair generalization, as generalizations go. The Constitution sets limits on government power. Leftists HATE limits on government power. Government is their God and their providence. Nobody likes the idea of a crippled God. A document that proclaims that God is not ominipotent is heresy.

Posted by: Larry3435 | February 5, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Of course they "pass the cost on". ----
again, the workings of this may be arcane, but the fact remains, we in the community are already paying for charity care
Posted by: skipsailing28

It's not Charity if they pass the costs on,it's only charity when it's an expense,without reimbursement.
If I give $50 to the Red Cross,and I tack on $50 to a bill I send to my client,this is not Charity,it's business as usual.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

SCMike1
"Our founding documents are based on natural law’s inherent rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Note that these individual rights impose no cost on others."

The following is an opinion,not a fact:
There is no Natural Law,it's a legal fiction,or a fairy tale. The problem is that the current batch of Conservatives are using their understanding of Natural Law to protect their LLPH at the expense of their fellow citizens. It's all about the money,disgusting.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The leftists whine that they are seen as anti-Constitution for the same reason they whine that they are seen as anti-religion - it makes them look bad. But in each case, it is a fair generalization, as generalizations go. The Constitution sets limits on government power. Leftists HATE limits on government power. Government is their God and their providence. Nobody likes the idea of a crippled God. A document that proclaims that God is not ominipotent is heresy.
Posted by: Larry3435

Here's the difference between Government and God:
Government is Real/FACT
God is not real./OPINION

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I agree that liberals and progressives have been spooked by the success of sociopaths and psychopaths like Lee Atwater and his disciples, Rupert Murdoch and his minions, Bah Humbug and his acolytes, in demonizing the term "liberal."

Unlike some of the posters on this site, the neo-cons, the Tea Totalitarians who "want to take this country back" (to where? to when?), and others who reject the clear meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance which they insist everyone should recite, I'll endorse the principles of the first W, George Washington, rather than the expediency of the latest and hopefully last W:

"The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation."

Yes, there have been some changes in meaning since Washington's time, a reality that judicial activist Antonin Scalia refuses to accept unless it suits his predetermined biases. But the meaning of "liberal" has not changed THAT much.

Posted by: edallan | February 5, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Memo to Larry3435:

I personally love applying the terms "liberal" and "socialist" to myself, among other reasons, because I know it makes right wingers gasp in horror. They pretty much have no idea what the words actually mean to those conversant in the English language. By far the best US Senator currently serving is Bernie Sanders, the renowned "socialist" from Vermont. Barbara Boxer, the renowned "liberal" from California is a close second.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 5, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"But the meaning of "liberal" has not changed THAT much."

This assertion could not be more wrong. Classical liberalism, of Washington's time, embodied the concepts of limited government - which is diametrically opposed to present day liberalism.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Actually CONSERVATIVES need to become tough on crime, now being solicitous of good opinions of ARTIFICIAL persons who commit acts that would be felonies were they committed by REAL persons. A preliminary step: when an artificial person commits an act that would result in jail for a real person, one year in the pokey would result in issuance of stock to the government equivalent to current ownership, 25% of which would be sold on the market every three months. Each year in the pokey is another quantity of stock equal to pre-conviction value. This would not cost anyone their job and would ensure those controlling ARTIFICIAL persons make them law abiding. Orrin Hatch was one of those "tough on crime" fellows. Ask him to do this.

Posted by: Martial | February 5, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Read the Constitution. You will find a clause right after "provide for the common defense" (the Constitution doesn't end there.) and you will find that it continues "and promote the general welfare......" Darwinian Republicans' brains can't decipher the words after "defense."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I love the way people cite a passage of the Constitution totally without context in order to support some argument. It's laughable. After this preamble of general goals and principles, the Founders proceeded to enumerate the powers authorized to Congress in order to achieve those aims. Among them is the authority "To raise and support Armies." Nowhere in the enumerated powers do I see "fund and establish a national healthcare plan." If I missed it, please let me know.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

Horror is not quite right. It's more like morbid fascination. Sort of like watching someone eat their own hand while they tell you how delicious it is. True horror only happens when the leftists actually get control of a country. Ask anyone who has lived in such a place.

Posted by: Larry3435 | February 5, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"There is no Natural Law,it's a legal fiction,or a fairy tale."

@SCMike1 - Well, if that's what you believe, I guess you have no problem with the institution of slavery or any other system of oppression that violates the natural law of freedom and liberty.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Previous post - meant to address to rcaruth, not scmike1. My bad.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

There is no Natural Law,it's a legal fiction,or a fairy tale."
- Well, if that's what you believe, I guess you have no problem with the institution of slavery or any other system of oppression that violates the natural law of freedom and liberty.
Posted by: alexandria6351

It a human problem,not generated by gigantic forces of nature or a humongous diety,Sartre was an atheist,and he fought* against the nazis. What have you as a believer in the"Natural Laws of Freedom and Liberty" ever fought against,poor people needing food,shelter,and healthcare.
Read Martin Luther,"Here I Stand" to see what taking risks with your life is all about.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

After this preamble of general goals and principles, the Founders proceeded to enumerate the powers authorized to Congress in order to achieve those aims.

*****************************************
Yes they did and they didn't include raising armies:

"Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

And there is the Commerce Clause.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 5, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

After this preamble of general goals and principles, the Founders proceeded to enumerate the powers authorized to Congress in order to achieve those aims.

*****************************************
Yes they did and they didn't include raising armies:

"Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

And there is the Commerce Clause.

Posted by: Lazarus40 |
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From Article 1, Section 8

"To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;"

Sure is tough to discuss the Constitution with someone who has obviously never read it or lacks the reading comprehension to understand it. So, whatever you say, Chief.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It a human problem,not generated by gigantic forces of nature or a humongous diety,Sartre was an atheist,and he fought* against the nazis. What have you as a believer in the"Natural Laws of Freedom and Liberty" ever fought against,poor people needing food,shelter,and healthcare.
Read Martin Luther,"Here I Stand" to see what taking risks with your life is all about.
Posted by: rcaruth
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I don't believe I have, as you put it, "ever fought against,poor people needing food,shelter,and healthcare." Destructive liberal policies already do more than enough of that.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe I have, as you put it, "ever fought against,poor people needing food,shelter,and healthcare." Destructive liberal policies already do more than enough of that.
Posted by: alexandria6351

If you were destitute & you children were Ill,would you rather be Swedish or American? Let's see if we get an honest answer.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"Yes they did and they didn't include raising armies:"

Should have read: "Yes they did and they didn't ONLY include raising armies."

The point being that the constitution refers to the Congress raising armies but it doesn't state that the Congress must build or is excluded from building nuclear submarines. That is a detail commensurate with providing for the common defense.

Likewise, the constitution refers to the Congress being responsible for and promoting "the general welfare" but it doesn't include nor exclude providing health care for all citizens. That is a detail commensurate with promoting the general welfare.

Get it?

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 5, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

BB posts: "And just because you don't like a law, Jennifer, doesn't mean that it's not constitutional."

That's true. Only liberals get to declare laws unconstitutional just because they don't like them. Conservatives have to actually find their reasons in the text of the Constitution.


Posted by: Larry3435 | February 5, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Get it?

Posted by: Lazarus40 |
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I get it that all you are capable of is brainlessly lifting passages out of context and ascribing a meaning that is not there. You are citing a preamble which does not constitute any of Congress' enumerated powers, like establishing a Navy, under which Congress has the authority to levy taxes to build a nuclear sub. Your analogy of that with healthcare is inane. What Congress is empowered to do in pursuit of defense and welfare is ENUMERATED below the passage you cite. Madison in his own words.

"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

If it was otherwise, Congress would effectively have no limit to it's power. That was clearly not intended or envisioned by the Founders. GET IT?

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Larry3435 wrote: Only liberals get to declare laws unconstitutional just because they don't like them. Conservatives have to actually find their reasons in the text of the Constitution.

You confuse the two. No liberal believes that, as used in the 5th and 14th Amendments, "person" can be understood to mean "corporation." Nor did any right wing member of the Court reference the text of the Constitution in concocting the fairy tale that it can.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 5, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Get it?

Posted by: Lazarus40 |
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I get it that all you are capable of is brainlessly lifting passages out of context and ascribing a meaning that is not there. You are citing a preamble which does not constitute any of Congress' enumerated powers, like establishing a Navy, under which Congress has the authority to levy taxes to build a nuclear sub. Your analogy of that with healthcare is inane. What Congress is empowered to do in pursuit of defense and welfare is ENUMERATED below the passage you cite. Madison in his own words.

"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

If it was otherwise, Congress would effectively have no limit to it's power. That was clearly not intended or envisioned by the Founders. GET IT?

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

If you were destitute & you children were Ill,would you rather be Swedish or American? Let's see if we get an honest answer.
Posted by: rcaruth
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If your premise (which I do not buy)is that I could get no help here and I could in Sweden, then I'd rather be Swedish in the narrow context of your question. However, just because something makes you feel good or it leads to some good, it does not necessarily make it constitutional - which is what I thought this thread was about. I am actually in favor of providing for those who cannot (I differentiate from choose not to) provide healthcare for themselves, only not at the federal level, especially since I believe it to be unconstitutional and anathema to the founding principles of the country.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

If your premise (which I do not buy)is that I could get no help here and I could in Sweden, then I'd rather be Swedish in the narrow context of your question. However, just because something makes you feel good or it leads to some good, it does not necessarily make it constitutional - which is what I thought this thread was about. I am actually in favor of providing for those who cannot (I differentiate from choose not to) provide healthcare for themselves, only not at the federal level, especially since I believe it to be unconstitutional and anathema to the founding principles of the country.
Posted by: alexandria6351

(1)My premise was that you are destitute/and your children are ill,
my question was,in that condition,which country would you prefer to be situated? It's not a tough question,it has no agenda,it's really a test of someone's intellectual integrity,simply because everbody knows that Sweden is much more of a welfare state than we are.
There was no aspect of Constitutionality in the question.
If you are,and I take your word for it,for providing healthcare to the indigent,to put it on the states would put an unfair burden on certain blue states because they would attract the medical indigents to their borders.
Regarding your opinion on the Federal Constitutionality of Healthcare benefits,I know of no opinions that have judged either Medicare or Medicaid unconstitutional. If OCARE is struck down as UC,then,at some future time.Medicare will need to be rolled out for all citizens.
BTW,are you a fan of FDR,please check out FDR's 2ND Bill of Rights.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

BTW,are you a fan of FDR,please check out FDR's 2ND Bill of Rights
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I'm familiar with it. They are laudable policy objectives but to caste them as rights is erroneous and misguided in my opinion - and rather Utopian in a country of 300 million. I don't believe socialism to be the best and most efficient way to allocate resources, it is in fact terrible. Government can and should foster conditions whereby the individual can pursue these "rights" as unfettered as possible and in a free market and on a level playing field -.
admittedly an impossible dream with a bought and paid for government.
As to FDR, I admire his wartime leadership but not his economic performance and policies. It's my opinion that his policies prolonged the depression.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | February 5, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

These pieces on FDR's Economic performance were found at NRO

(1)Conrad Black* defends FDR and attacks Amity Shales
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243474/fdr-yes-obama-no-conrad-black

(2)Shlaes fights back
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243500/fdr-shlaes-annotates-black-amity-shlaes

(3)Black fights Back
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/227085/truth-about-fdr/conrad-black

Black is a well known expert on FDR,as is Shlaes.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 5, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

alexandria6351 wrote: What Congress is empowered to do in pursuit of defense and welfare is ENUMERATED below the passage you cite. * * * If it was otherwise, Congress would effectively have no limit to it's power. That was clearly not intended or envisioned by the Founders. GET IT?
_________________

Your argument in patently specious. You argue, in effect, that the Constitution grants limited power to Congress, therefore Congress does not have power that it does not have. This circular proposition is as useless as it is sophomoric.

If the question is whether Congress had to power to enact the Affordable Health Care Act, the answer is that it's not even a close question. It is difficult to image anything that would fall more squarely within the Commerce Clause (Art. I, Sec 8), not to mention the Necessary and Proper Clause. (Ibid.)

Posted by: J_B_A | February 5, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

There's no crookey like Insurance crookey, there's no crookey I know.
Even when you get the treatment, they'll shaft you.
Try to get your surgery and then you're blue.
Nothing ever changes them because they own
Mitch McConnell the crook.

Posted by: Martial | February 5, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

When someone robs you, the cops arrest them, unless they are health care insurers, in which case they go free!!!

Posted by: Martial | February 5, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Do consider what happens should YOU, a REAL person, rob one of the felons, an insurance company, an ARTIFICIAL person. Here's Texas law:

The offense has its own chapter: CHAPTER 35. INSURANCE FRAUD

Sec. 35.02. INSURANCE FRAUD. (a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to defraud or deceive an insurer, the person, in support of a claim for payment under an insurance policy:
(1) prepares or causes to be prepared a statement that:
(A) the person knows contains false or misleading material information; and
(B) is presented to an insurer; or
(2) presents or causes to be presented to an insurer a statement that the person knows contains false or misleading material information.
(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person, with intent to defraud or deceive an insurer and in support of an application for an insurance policy:
(1) prepares or causes to be prepared a statement that:
(A) the person knows contains false or misleading material information; and
(B) is presented to an insurer; or
(2) presents or causes to be presented to an insurer a statement that the person knows contains false or misleading material information.
(b) A person commits an offense if, with intent to defraud or deceive an insurer, the person solicits, offers, pays, or receives a benefit in connection with the furnishing of goods or services for which a claim for payment is submitted under an insurance policy.
(c) An offense under Subsection (a) or (b) is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the claim is less than $50;
(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the claim is $50 or more but less than $500;
(3) a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the claim is $500 or more but less than $1,500;
(4) a state jail felony if the value of the claim is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;
(5) a felony of the third degree if the value of the claim is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;
(6) a felony of the second degree if the value of the claim is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or
(7) a felony of the first degree if:
(A) the value of the claim is $200,000 or more; or
(B) an act committed in connection with the commission of the offense places a person at risk of death or serious bodily injury.

______

Of course if the insurance company robs you, committing THEFT BY DECEPTION to deny you payment for YOUR claim, you do not have the benefit of the State using its mighty power against them. No, you have to sue a corporation worth billions in civil court.

The saying is "you can't fight city hall". If that be true, how on earth can you fight mammoths more powerful than entire countries? Of course, you can't expect crooks like Senator McConnell to do a blasted thing because they really represent the felons who are now permitted to rob us blind.

Posted by: Martial | February 5, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The worst slime extant is Senator Hatch. The hypocrite brazenly calls this excessive federal influence on the rights of states when he and Representative Hyde wrote a letter attempting to interfere with Oregon's assisted suicide law.

Thus, while the government should not be permitted to prevent you from dieing, you should not be permitted to end agony. Only someone who believes almost all but himself and a few others are doomed to suffer eternal damnation would want to put into place situations thus resembling Hell on earth.

Posted by: Martial | February 5, 2011 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Rubin is an embarrassment. Given an extremely high profile place in which to write her tripe, she supports her argument that "liberal lawmakers...sneered at the reading of the Constitution" by linking to a halfwit. Said halfwit finds one, single liberal lawmaker who points out, rightly, that conservatives were reading the document as a PR stunt. Then the halfwit claims Obama "suggested that the Constitution was 'flawed' in that it limited the power of government." When you see a conservative quote a single word like that, you usually expect to find it's been taken out of context, especially when said conservative adds on his own context which you know would never possibly have been said by any serious politician. On the other hand, the halfwit in question links to a site which doesn't even offer the quoted word inside any Obama quotes. That's such good stuff, this guy may have graduated to being a quarterwit.

Yet, to Rubin, he's a linkable, trustworthy character who supports her view that liberals don't love the Constitution. Then she goes on to argue that the true test of our nation is admitting that we can "divine the meaning of the Constitution." Weird, since that's what the Judiciary has been doing since Marbury v. Madison and, since about 1954, Republicans have been saying such divination is verboten and only what a sixth grader can get from the Constitution should count.

Having someone on their side whose logic and judgment are as poor as Rubin's must make smart people on the right very sad.

Posted by: nitpicker | February 6, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Really? Really?

Generally speaking, an argument, should, oh, I don't know, have some facts or examples regarding the point that is being made.

What on earth are you talking about? I've really been disappointed, Ms. Rubin, by your work since you've become the Post's "to the right" blogger.

I enjoy reading work by people who are serious about their conservative thinking, as I am able to test my assumptions by understanding how someone who is approaching an issue from a different perspective feels.

In general, most of your "(w)righting" for the Post has simply consisted of disagreeing with those that you consider "leftist", no matter how substanitive an argument exists for a particular position.

This particular piece of writing, unfortunately, bolsters my opinion regarding how you see your role, or maybe how the Post sees it. (And if it is the Post, shame on them)

I was bemused by the reading of the Constitution at the start of this session of congress for no other reason that it was grandstanding.

The Republican leadership's advocacy of a rule that any legislation needs to be verified as being "constitutional" before it is a voted on is really even worse, because it's a rule advocated by people that don't know what they are talking about, but boy it sure sounds good.

Just to maybe, jump start an intelligent discussion on that, let's begin by understanding that our constitution is NOT a list of things that are allowed and things that are not allowed.

(I had assumed that since many of our representatives were, in fact, lawyers that some of them might have picked up on this. Apparently, saying something that sounds good is much more important than knowing what you are talking about, at least to some folks in this country.}

Yes, certain parts of our constitution are fairly clear and specific, and most of those things are in the bill of rights.

The reason, however, that we have a Supreme Court is essentially to determine how the constitution should be applied to the various actions of both the states and the federal government.

Depending on case law and precedence, and yes, even popular opinion, our Supreme Court interpets our Constitution.

That's kind of their job.

It's OK, Ms Rubin, to disagree on occasion, with the Republican Party. Just as Democrats don't have all of the answers, neither do Republicans.

Either the current leaders of the Republican party are appallingly ignorant of just how laws are made in this country, or they presume that the general populace is ignorant.

I'm not sure which is worse.


Posted by: JohnDinHouston | February 8, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

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