03 April 2010

Constitutional Principles

Did you hear about the congressman who said that if there was a criminal out there, we had to lock him up, so that the people would be safe, even if it meant that we would accidentally lock up a bunch of innocent guys? He was challenged on that, and said, "I don't worry too much about the constitution."

Me either, but it is the same set of liberties that are at risk when a congressman says this:

What I find particularly hopeful about the opportunity to overturn the Health care reform that Congress just passed is that even the liberal Seattle Times is troubled by it's constitutional impact.

We think McKenna [the Washington Attorney General who has joined in the suit against the bill] has a good case, and one the progressives who condemn him ought to appreciate. These critics are so often right about the dangers of corporate power, and particularly the rapacity of insurance companies.

But if it's federal power, and it's for a social purpose, and Barack Obama is presiding over it, they set their judgment aside. They accept a 2,000-page bill on its label only. They accept its promise, almost surely vacant, of cost savings. They overlook the deals cut with the insurance and pharmaceutical interests. They shrug off the "cornhusker kickback." And to those who invoke the Constitution, they become shrill.

This page supported Obama, and we still like him. But we also support checks and balances on federal power, and review of this law by the Supreme Court.

If this passes muster with the Supreme Court, the states will lose all power over their own affairs. Under a more conservative congressional regime, Washington and Oregon can say goodbye to death with dignity laws, and a lot of other things.

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