“The Italians are coming,” Dave (Dennis Christopher) exclaims in the film Breaking Away (1979) as he learns that a professional Italian biking team is coming to Bloomington, Indiana. It turns out that these Italians have little concern for the rules of cycling as Dave finds out in a race with them. Unlike the Italians in Breaking Away, the Italians on the Supreme Court are sticklers for the letter and spirit of the law.
Justice Scalia has been animated in his questioning about the provisions found in the 2700-page Healthcare legislation now before the court. He repeatedly took advocates for the massive law to task for some of their arguments.
Supporters of ObamaCare are hoping that the court will support the totality of the law. No doubt there are justices who would do just that. Justice Stephen Breyer, with his questioning and irritating interjections, looks to be one of them. His commenting that “Congress can create commerce out of nothing” was especially troubling.
If the Obama Administration can’t get everything from the massive bill, they hope to get a good portion of the law sanctioned by our highest court. If President Obama gets re-elected, he may get another chance to nominate another justice, thus, tipping the scales to the liberal side. The reasoning is that something now is better than nothing later.
Justice Scalia does not see the smorgasbord approach to the massive bill to be an option. Picking and choosing what is constitutional and what isn’t out of the 2700 pages is not an approach he wants to follow. We don’t often see the comedic side to lawyer cross examination, but Justice Scalia showed it when it was suggested that the pick-and-choose approach should be taken by the court. “What happened to the Eighth Amendment?,” Justice Scalia asked. “You really want us to go through 2,700 pages?”
For those not familiar with the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, it prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
There’s a good chance that most if not all the members of Congress have not read the monstrous bill that they voted to put into law. That’s OK. Nancy Pelosi was upfront by proclaiming, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
The Constitution of the United States was written on four sheets of parchment. If you count the Preamble and all 27 Amendments (there were originally only ten), it comes out to 20 typed pages. If you don’t count the signatures and amendments, you’ll have a document of 11 typed pages. No single Amendment is a full page. Many are only a single sentence in length. The First Amendment covers a multitude of freedoms: religion, press, assembly, speech, and the right to petition the government. It does it with only 45 words. Those original four sheets, about 4500 words, were good enough to serve as a document to govern a nation.
Can you imagine a 2700-page healthcare care bill with similar interpretive powers for Congress and the Courts? Consider how much damage these two governmental branches have been able to do with just four sheets of parchment. What will they be capable of doing with 2700 pages of a healthcare bill that will enable them to govern every facet of our lives?
Justice Scalia summed up the issue well when he asked if Congress can compel you to buy health insurance because it’s good for your health and the economic health of the nation, can it force you to eat broccoli?