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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act

I am not an expert on Constitution law, so my opinion is of limited value but as you might have guessed, I will give an opinion anyway.  Yesterday’s decision on the Affordable Care Act is of course now constitutional law but it is not the decision I would have preferred.  The Constitution was written to limit governmental powers and the decision expands it by permitting the government to fine individuals through taxation for not buying health care.  As Richard Epstein, a professor of law at New York University, writes in “A Confused Opinion

Chief Justice Roberts has ignored this fundamental principle: If direct regulation is beyond the scope of the Commerce Clause (as he held), then taxation as an indirect route to the same regulation should be off limits as well (as he failed to hold). This is a baby that should not be split. His attempt to do so undermines his ruling, the court and the Constitution.

The Court has been swift to protect political rights but slow to protect economic rights.  The two are intertwined and both deserve protection. 

1 comment:

  1. The fact that the Supreme Court could come out and say that 'penalties' are not 'penalties' but taxes isn't right but I think Justice Roberts was torn between his moral values and his charge as a Supreme Court Justice which is to interpret the Constitution to the best of his ability. I think this his decision here was an example of him doing what he thought the Constitution said over what I think he and I both believe is a terrible Bill/Law