Individual Mandate – Legal Considerations
|Heritage Foundation just released a landmark legal analysis of the constitutional issues around an individual mandate. Written by Randy Barnett, Nathaniel Stewart and Todd Gaziano, the analysis argues that a personal mandate is both “unprecedented and inconstitutional.”
The paper argues that Congress has never – ever – tried to do something like this. Not even in times of war when national survival was a stake did it force farmers to grow food for the troops or workers to build tanks. “And what Congress cannot do during wartime, with national survival at stake, it cannot do in peacetime simply to avoid the political cost of raising taxes to pay for desired government programs.”
It accuses members of Congress of a breach in their duty “to determine the constitutionality of legislation independently of how the Supreme Court has ruled or may rule in the future.” It is not enough to pass laws willy-nilly just because they think it would be a swell idea. This is still a government of limited and enumerated powers, and forcing people to buy something they don’t wish to buy ain’t one of those powers.
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