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Florida District Court Judge Rules Obamacare Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Entire Act Void

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U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson today became the second judge to strike down a key element of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ruling the so-called individual mandate, which will require Americans to buy health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty, unconstitutional.

In his decision, Judge Vinson wrote, “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”

Judge Vinson was appointed in 1983 to the bench of the Federal District Court in Pensacola, Florida, by President Reagan. In ruling the mandate unconstitutional, Judge Vinson sided with the plaintiffs: governors and attorneys general (all but one Republicans) from 26 states. Because of the number of plaintiffs in the case being greater than half of the states in the union, this ruling carries more weight than the more than two dozen suits attacking the law which were previously filed in federal courts. It is expected that the case will likely wind up on the Supreme Court’s docket after appeals in lower courts.

Although two other federal judges, both Democrats appointed by President Clinton, have denied challenges to the individual mandate, last month Judge Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond, Virginia also struck down the law, saying the mandate would result in “unbridled exercise of federal police powers.” Both Judge Vinson and Judge Hudson are Republicans. Both judges refused to enjoin the law, ruling that it could remain in place pending appeals.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the insurance requirement is an unprecedented attempt to regulate inactivity, because citizens would be assessed an income tax penalty for failing to purchase a product. They further argued that if the mandate is allowed to stand, there effectively will be no limits on federal authority.

In a swipe at the entire health care act, Judge Vinson wrote in his decision, “The act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker.”

According to The New York Times, “The Pensacola case now likely heads to the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, considered one of the country’s most conservative appellate benches. The Richmond case is already with another conservative court, the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, which has set oral arguments for May.”

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Here is a link to the 78 page decision. Having read it, I think it is legally sound. For the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court to reverse it would require new law to be made.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yeah, who cares that we’re now something like 47th on the list of countries by life expectancy (and almost all those countries with longer life expectancies have SOCIALIZED health care)! Who cares that half our bankruptcies are due to health care costs! Who cares that the top four health insurance companies denied coverage for one-seventh of ALL claims over the past three years! Who cares that we pay nearly twice as much as most other first-world nations and we’ve got a higher birth mortality rate than CUBA!

    NONE OF THAT MATTERS! Why? Because we get to keep more of our Precious Tax Dollars! That’s all that really matters!

  • Dr. Adam Smith

    Fierce Competition in the market place will fix a vast majority of the problems with our healthcare system. Allowing people to buy insurance across state lines and supporting many small insurance companies to offer more options to consumers (like keeping your kids on until age 26) will force the other companies take note and compete. In addition, we need to make insurance a personal, portable, and tax free item that (I like HSA that you purchase individual major plans from) you can take with you from job to job. This will unburden our businesses to create more jobs, while drastically cutting our pre-existing condition problems and escalating the competition to stratospheric levels (relate to car insurance: geico, state farm, progressive, and farmers insurance companies fighting hard for your business).

    Government is the problem, not the solution.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Oh so wise Dr. Smith –

    If government is the problem, then why is it nearly all of the 46 or so nations that have longer national life expectancies than the U.S. have socialized health care and on average pay maybe half what our government already does on health care? I mean, if ‘government-run health care’ is so incredibly bad, then WHY aren’t all those 46-odd countries bankrupt with lower national life expectancies?

    note 1 – ‘government’ is not the problem. ‘poorly run government owned by the corporations’ IS the problem.

    note 2 – ‘Obamacare’ is NOT ‘government-run’ health care. That’s why the pulitzer-prize winning politifact.com called that particular rumor the “Lie of the Year”. ‘Obamacare’ is PRIVATELY-run health care…and the privately-owned companies are now require by law to actually have to play nice with their customers instead of making profits from their customers’ illness and death.

  • pablo

    Glenn 2

    The article that you are commenting on is about jurisprudence, which seems to be lost on you in your zeal to fix all that ails (pun intended) america.

    It seems to me in your zeal you are in accord with what former president bush the younger called the us constitution, “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” As you yourself make no mention of what this article is about, your only interested in results, the results that you want.

    If you were to take the time to read this very well written and thought out opinion from a us district court judge as I have, you might be surprised at what is really at issue here. I suspect however that your not really interested in such things as the commerce clause, due process of law, or for the very first time in our history requiring individuals to reside in the us legally to buy a product from a corporation in this case health insurance. It seems to me Glenn that to you these issues are trivial and of no consequence.
    This is precislely why I find so many of your political arguments as a so called liberal repugnant. You don’t care a whit about such “antiquated” notions of separation of powers, liberty, individual sovereignty, or the 9th and 10th amendments to the us constitution. Ronald Reagan would be proud of you Glenn!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    pablo –

    the very first time in our history requiring individuals to reside in the us legally to buy a product from a corporation in this case health insurance.

    See, that’s what you get when all you listen to is right-wing radio. Read this:

    In July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” authorizing the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandating privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance.

    This legislation also created America’s first payroll tax, as a ship’s owner was required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor’s monthly pay and forward those receipts to the service, which in turn provided injured sailors hospital care. Failure to pay or account properly was discouraged by requiring a law violating owner or ship’s captain to pay a 100 dollar fine.

    This historical fact demolishes claims of “unprecedented” and “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty…”

    Perhaps these somewhat incompetent attorneys general might wish to amend their lawsuits to conform to the 1798 precedent, and demand that the mandate and fines be linked to implementing a federal single payer healthcare insurance plan.

    pablo, what you and most of the rest of the conservatives don’t realize is that you’re not really fighting to protect the Constitution. You’re fighting to stop Obama from doing ANYthing, no matter how good it is for America.

    Why? The last time a Democrat took over after a Republican economic disaster (see FDR), the Democrats held Congress for over forty years. The Republicans know this, and would rather see America crash and burn rather than let that happen again.

  • Clavos

    I mean, if ‘government-run health care’ is so incredibly bad, then WHY aren’t all those 46-odd countries bankrupt with lower national life expectancies?

    How many of them maintain defense machines large enough to post troops al over the world AND conduct two wars simultaneously? How many of them support half the third world every time there is a tsunami or an earthquake? How many of them are presided over by a clueless rookie whose mantra is “spend, spend, spend”? And how many count stillbirths and child deaths under a month or two of age in their death statistics? How many kill as many people on their highways? How many kill as many people with drugs?

    I wish I lived in as simple a society as you do, Glenn, where there are only two kinds of people: the white hat Democrat good guys and the black hat evil Republican sons of bitches, your favorite whipping boys (and girls).

    I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old, that was exactly how I looked at the world, too.

    You’re great at quoting statistics in an apples vs pears configuration, Glenn, and you’re equally adept at drawing illogical conclusions from all your numbers.

    Oh, and by the way, your rookie president has more than tripled the extent of the “Republican economic disaster” in a third of the time it took the Republicans.

    But the people are smarter than you and your rookie friend in DC, Glenn. That’s why they voted the way they did in November and will again in 2012.

    You’re fighting to stop Obama from doing ANYthing, no matter how good it is for America.

    If he ever actually does do something good, they probably won’t oppose him — if.

    Meh.

  • pablo

    Glenn,

    As usual your disengenous. The law in question clearly states:
    “Commentaries and Controversies
    Monday, March 29, 2010
    Paul J. O’Rourke’s history lesson about US federal mandates to purchase health-care insurance
    (To which I was tipped off by Brad DeLong.) Actually, since several of the Founders are involved, the 1798 precedent discussed here may also bear on the question of the “original intent” of those who drafted the US Constitution. This history lesson is both timely and self-explanatory, so I’ll just reproduce it below. –Jeff Weintraub

    =============================
    Paul J. O’Rourke
    March 24, 201o
    News: Pres. Signs H-Care Insurance Mandate-212 Years Ago!

    A Lesson in American History, Healthcare and the Constitution for 14 State Attorneys General

    Let’s begin today’s history lesson with the following news:

    (CNN) — Officials from 14 states have gone to court to block the historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, arguing the law’s requirement that individuals buy health insurance violates the Constitution.

    Thirteen of those officials filed suit in a federal court in Pensacola, Florida, minutes after Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The complaint calls the act an “unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states” and asks a judge to block its enforcement.

    “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage,” the lawsuit states.

    The history lesson

    In July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” authorizing the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandating privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance,

    This legislation also created America’s first payroll tax, as a ship’s owner was required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor’s monthly pay and forward those receipts to the service, which in turn provided injured sailors hospital care. Failure to pay or account properly was discouraged by requiring a law violating owner or ship’s captain to pay a 100 dollar fine.

    The fact that the congress passed a law requiring an employer to cover his employees with health insurance is not even vaguely related to requiring it of an individual. Not even in the same ballpark pal.

    For the record Glenn baby, I am not a conservative, either in theory or practice. I find the following conservatives repugnant as well as yourself. Hannity, Reagan, the Bush’s, william f buckley jr, coulter, and the list goes on and on and on.

    Remember Glenn your the Reagan lover not me. The fact of the matter is Glenn you could give a rat’s ass whats in or not in the constitution as long as they do not conflict with your big brother agenda. You know it, I know it, and any of your readers know it. Which is why your argument are always so lame.

  • Clavos

    As I mentioned in the article, Pablo, it’s actually 26 states which are participating in the suit; the number is important because they are more than half of the states in the union. You should have read the article, Pablo.

    Glenn, I followed your link through to Paul J. O’Rourke’s own site, where I found this trenchant and cogent response to O’Rourke’s misinterpretation (deliberate distortion?) of history. I quote it here in its entirety just for you, Glenn:

    “Sir, I must most respectfully disagree with your premise for the writing of this article. The 1798 Madison insurance rule is not a precedent for nationalized health care, and furthermore, is a terrible example to use if you are wishing to strengthen a point in support of the current health care bill.

    First, I would like to point out that this 1798 rule was later abandoned for a number of reasons, one of the strongest of which was in brought up in 1881, where it was argued that a sailor, (paraphrased, not quoted) with neither ability or right to challenge takings from his wages or ability to challenge the legality of these takings, a sailor was reduced to the status of a ward of the state, and treated no differently than a slave to be held as property of the ship’s captain.

    This “ward of the state” view of sailors was held as a legal point until the early 20th century. A merchant seaman signing onto a ship’s crew literally signed away his rights for the duration of his contract. The mandatory hospital payments taken from his check were only one of many indignities set upon this profession. I cannot fathom where a current citizen of the US would stand for that situation for very long.

    Another reason to not cite this 1798 law in defense of the current passage is that it was very, very different from the current bill. The current states suing against “Obama-Care” are arguing, among many other reasons, that the federal government cannot establish such an overarching expensive ruling and then demand the states pay for it or that private citizens should risk jail time for an inability to carry said insurance .

    In comparison, The Madison case you bring up was made during the Quasi War of 1798 for merchant seaman only. It was created because the sailors were being targeted by French privateers and the shipping insurance rates were skyrocketing due to the very real risk, making merchant sailing too expensive to continue in some cases. Furthermore, Madison’s rule only required only a certain set amount be taken from the paycheck of a very specific profession for the set up of a very specific system of hospitals. These “hospitals” were also extremely basic, and in practice, would only treat a sailor if they were able to return to work for, and were only geared for a profession who found themselves on the front lines of wars, but were not covered under military medical systems already in place.

    This 1798 ruling is not a good comparison to use for a systematic ruling calling for the set up of a nationalized health system in the US as is called for by the Health Care Reform Act.
    Conrad D.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    O’Rourke’s reply:

    Conrad,
    There is nothing about the Quasi War shipping insurance rates that has any relation to whether or not sailors were healthy. That the system was expanded, over the years, down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, where no warships interfered is a good bit of evidence the justification for the act was economic. Further, it also covered sailors on ships that never saw battle, and dealt with commerce along the coast. Had this been strictly about merchant marines injured in battles with warships and pirates, the act could have easily been exclusive to that.

    The 1798 act shows us that, despite the rather constant insistence of the “conservatives” and Libertarians, the Constitution does, obviously, allow for government involvement in healthcare.

    Your 13th amendment challenge is an interesting one, but I doubt it would hold up considering the precedents established by Soc Sec and Medicare rulings. We’re all “wards of the state” under that broad brush description. The very essence of the Constitution includes “coercion” by majority rule, with limits on how much and for what reason it can be applied.

    The Constitution isn’t based on Libertarian philosophy. It is based on the more comprehensive Liberal philosophy.

    Yes, the hospitals were basic, at least in care, as care was also un-advanced and basic. However, this is about principle, not comparative function at that level.

    There is a difference between private and public insurance, and I’m open to arguments involving that aspect. That this 1798 act is an example of a federal single payer system, though, is interesting, considering the misguided pronouncements of “socialism” heard from the political chatterboxes.

    The argument about mandating states to pay is a separate one, and has no relation to this article. The main point here is that insurance mandates aren’t unprecedented in history, and that because the Founders applied them, it makes that point more strongly than, perhaps, the court precedents on SS and Medicare.

    As such it renders specious the “Constitutionalist” posturing of those claiming to wanting to return us to the “Constitutional principles.”

    Thanks for responding.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    See, Clavos, a perfect example of Catch 22. On the one hand, we can presume the intent behind the Constitution was to ward off the possibility of a tyrannical government; on the other, the notion of public good, it is arguable, may require on occasions a rule by decree. Both notions may be said to be equally valid; yet they’re essential unresolvable and stand in direct contradiction one to another in the context of statehood.

    An internal contradiction, I should say.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, this article isn’t about whether the health care bill would be good; it’s about whether it’s constitutional. As someone who at one point swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, would you support a law that you believed to be beneficial but unconstitutional? If you wouldn’t, then the health and cost statistics you allude to are irrelevant.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    As Roger pointed out in #10, there IS precedent.

    We’re trying to do what is best for the American people – to help them live longer, healthier lives – while the Republicans are so wrapped up in “we must stop Obama no matter what” that they can’t allow themselves to join hands with us to actually help the American people.

  • Boeke

    13-Glenn is right.

    We need improved healthcare to improve Americans health and to reduce the overall total cost of healthcare.

    Republican opposition is solely motivated by anti-Obama sentiments. The only alternative is to suggest that reps are doing the bidding of insurance company CEOs.

    I don’t like the mandate, but it looks like it’s legal. So was the draft. So were a lot of the things we did in WW2 in order to win.

  • pablo

    I see clearly that Glenn does not answer in a direct fashion Baronius’ question. It indeed is an answer unto itself. Thanks Glenn.

  • Clavos

    We need improved healthcare to improve Americans health and to reduce the overall total cost of healthcare.

    Indeed we do, but we’re not going to get either with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    Not the way it’s presently set up — all we’ll get is a truly enormous entitlement program that will be inefficient and expensive — just like Medicare.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Here’s my attempted analysis of Judge Vinson’s decision.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    A law professor from UCLA has a different take:

    That Congress lacks the power to require people to buy a product when the national interest demands it would surprise the Founding Fathers. They required people to do just that. In the second Militia Act of 1792, they required individuals to outfit themselves with a military-style firearm and ammunition. This was the first “individual mandate” and one had to obey even if one had to go out and buy a gun. Being passive didn’t put you out of Congress’s reach.

    After years of telling Americans to follow the original intent of the Framers, now the same people want us to ignore what the Framers actually did.

    Funny thing is, I read an article somewhere else today where some Republican state legislator up in South Dakota is proposing a bill to require ownership of firearms by all adults in the state. He said he’s only doing it to ‘mock’ the ACA to show that it’s ‘unconstitutional’. I guess he – like almost all the rest of us – didn’t know that our federal government passed a law requiring exactly that waaaay back in 1792!

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Glen,

    I am sure that lots of different folks have lots of different opinions. Neither the UCLA law professor’s nor mine makes much difference. I think I am right and he doubtless thinks he is right. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the Supreme Court.

    The proposal in South Dakota to require firearm ownership has no relevance to ObamaCare, justified by its supporters on the basis of the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution). The South Dakota legislature does not get legislative power from Article I of the Constitution; it gets whatever such power it may have from the South Dakota Constitution. Not having read it, I have no idea what it says.

    As to the second Militia Act of 1792, I very much doubt that it was attempted to be justified on the basis of the Commerce Clause and that’s what’s involved in Judge Vinson’s decision. Perhaps the Militia Act was justified based on this part of Article I, Section 8: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress. . .

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    That’s why I like discussing matters with you – no overblown pride, no disdain or condescension; just facts, thoughtful opinions, and courteous discourse. Would that we all did the same.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I suppose once SCOTUS reaches its decision on the matter, it will be right, or will you still reserve the right to dispute it? And if so, will there ever be an end to this mind-buggling question as to who in the final analysis is right?

    Just askin’.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Dan –

    Chief Justice John Roberts noted in Free Enterprise Fund et al. v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, “Because ‘[t]he unconstitutionality of a part of an Act does not necessarily defeat or affect the validity of its remaining provisions,’ Champlin Refining Co. v. Corporation Comm’n of Okla. , 286 U. S. 210, 234 (1932) , the ‘normal rule’ is ‘that partial, rather than facial, invalidation is the required course.’”

    How much you wanna bet that Roberts will ‘forget’ this opinion when this case comes before him?

  • Clavos

    Um, Glenn,

    The key words in the Roberts quote you just posted are: not necessarily. Judge Vinson’s ruling clearly states that the lack of severability in the case of the individual mandate does require striking the entire act. He made a very specific point about that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    The same UCLA law professor I referred to above noted how a different conservative judge clearly stated how severability is also applied in many cases where the clause was never included.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Thanks, Glen.

    You might want to skim the part of opinion dealing with severability. That part starts on page 63.

    Parts of statutes are often considered severable unless the part struck down as unconstitutional cannot be severed without rewriting the entire law. Since the mandatory insurance provision was acknowledged by the government to be the keystone of the law, without which many or possibly most other major parts could not stand, since the Congress (apparently recognizing this) deleted a severability clause from an earlier version and did not include one in the final version as passed, I don’t think Judge Vinson had many options. He was not in a position to rewrite the law; that’s a legislative function.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Boeke

    Provides a whole different idea of ‘militia’ and bearing arms, as well as individual mandate.

    The Duty to Bear Arms and Buy Health Insurance

    [edited]

  • pablo

    Glenn Contrarian re posts 12 and 15

    12 – Baronius
    ” As someone who at one point swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, would you support a law that you believed to be beneficial but unconstitutional?”

    15 – pablo
    “I see clearly that Glenn does not answer in a direct fashion Baronius’ question. It indeed is an answer unto itself. Thanks Glenn.”

    Let me rephrase Baronius’ question that thus far you have so conveniently ignored.

    As someone who at one point swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, would you support a law that you believed to be beneficial but unconstitutional?

    Proly better to just ignore this one too eh Glenn?

  • zingzing

    what if he doesn’t think it’s unconstitutional, pablo?

  • zingzing

    and if it’s clearly beneficial, why should anyone defer to the constitution? i mean, really, deep down. why? the constitution has been ignored throughout american history for far greater evils than this. slavery, jim crow, gay rights, various illegal wars, all sorts of things. this one is rather borderline, i would say.

    i’m not entirely sure i like the idea of forcing people to buy insurance either, but someone’s got to pay in the end, either way… might as well be the person who uses it.

    hell, all i’ve got right now is catastrophic, but i’d sure like to go to the dentist right now. and i haven’t had a physical in two years. if i had a better insurance policy, i’d go get one. and it might just fucking save my life. i could, at this very moment, had have cancer for two years and not known it. if by law, i had to have better insurance, i’d get preventative care. the guilt trip doesn’t work for such as i, but a penalty might.

  • pablo

    zing 29
    “what if he doesn’t think it’s unconstitutional, pablo?”

    Uhhh that wasn’t Baronius’ question now was it zing? Let me rephrase it a 3rd time in the interest of dunces.

    “As someone who at one point swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, would you support a law that you believed to be beneficial but unconstitutional?”

    A very straightforward and sincere question from Baronius, that thus far Glenn has chosen to ignore.

    As to your ridiculous question zing as to why anyone should defer to the constitution, we are supposed to be a nation under law, and since all laws under our system must conform to the constitution, uhhhhh thats why zing! Kapeeesh? sheesh.

    I have asked Glenn several times, and I am of the belief that he chooses not to answer because if he did honestly, he does not care what the constitution says, which is my point about his support of tyrannical laws for the so called public good.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So Pablo, if your constitution told you to toss newborn females into a flaming pit, would it be fair to assume you’d just go along with it because, well, sheesh?

    Or is it sometimes right and moral to question the law, especially if it was written centuries by men who had no idea as to the magnitude their peculiar venture would reach?

  • pablo

    As you must know Jordan I love questioning the law. You do seem to miss my point however. My point is as I again state is that Glenno does not choose to answer this question.

    Since Glenno has repeatedly in this thread referenced the law as it pertains to the judge’s recent ruling, I am asking him through Baronius’s question his answer.

    It is not more complicated than that Jordan. Simple, to the point, and direct. Which is precisely why a demagogue such as Glenno refuses to answer it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Pablo, why do you always assume people “miss your point?”

    I know you love questioning the law, that’s why I asked why your laudable thought process seems to stop at the constitution.

    Surely if your concern truly is Glenn’s refusal to answer a question, you’d rather not set a bad example in your own refusal to answer mine.

    Maybe instead of calling people cutesy names, you can stand up for your own politics. What I asked you had to do with your insistence that you were a nation of laws built on the constitution (#31).

    So are you going to answer my question or not?

  • pablo

    ok Jordan comment to follow shortly.

  • pablo

    Jordan,
    Your questions to me were:
    “So Pablo, if your constitution told you to toss newborn females into a flaming pit, would it be fair to assume you’d just go along with it because, well, sheesh?
    Or is it sometimes right and moral to question the law, especially if it was written centuries by men who had no idea as to the magnitude their peculiar venture would reach?”

    So here is what I believe and advocate politically. First to your questions. I have spent the better part of my life not going along with laws, with particular reference to personal freedom issues, such as what I decide to ingest into my own body, contrary to law both state and federal. I have also engaged in numerous civil disobedience engagements. It is always right to question law and authority, and I like to believe that I do that on an ongoing basis.
    I do frequently reference the constitution however not out of blind obedience to it, but because I see so much hypocrisy both in government and of its citizens in flouting it whenever it suits people’s fancy. I do find it more repugnant that the government does it. Since all government officials take an oath do protect and defend it, I find their refusal to do so criminal on its face.

    As to me personally and what I do or do not advocate personally in regards to politics. Itt can be summed up in one sentence that is not mine but I wholeheartedly concur with it.
    No product or service should be provided at the barrel of a gun. Since virtually all governments do just that, I am opposed to them all. I am not going to get into an endless debate on how or why human beings need government to live for a variety of reasons, it is futile. However I would be more than happy to debate and/or discuss the first sentence of this paragraph.
    Government itself is in the business of coercian, and threat of violence or imprisonment if one does not follow its dictates. One can very easily make the argument that in the event of theft, murder, raped, kidnapping etc that it is a good thing that government uses coercian as its tool. However it gets very murky very quickly regarding most other aspects of human life. Hence I am opposed to all governments for precisely the reason above. NO PRODUCT OR SERVICE SHOULD BE PROVIDED AT THE BARREL OF A GUN.
    I am a coinspiracist for one reason Jordan, that is because that is where my research into the power structure on this planet has taken me. It is not because I am or am not paranoid, it is because I have researched in depth who is running the show, and what they are up to.
    I find people such as Glenn repugnant and I make no bones about it, since it is usually reciprocal on this site with folks such as him, I have no problem with that. I can be polite and amicable, and I can be rude and crude. I am not nor will I ever be one to spread the other proverbial cheek. I do not seek friends on this site, nor am I looking for a social club. I simply like to say what is on my mind and do so when I want to. Frankly I could give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of me on here. I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.
    I hope that I answered your question in a direct and forthcoming way Jordan.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Not being a Yank, I don’t have the emotional attachment to the US Constitution that some of you do.

    Personally, as someone who has had a lifelong disrespect for authority and power, I don’t really care about it at all. Documents are written and re-written all the time and some of them are better than others.

    It is stupid to venerate any document too much and excessive rigidity in any society is dangerous, as we are currently seeing being demonstrated in Tunisia, Egypt and probably soon other countries too.

    There is clearly a tidal wave of democracy which is rolling wildly around the planet like a political tsunami, from Portugal and Spain in the 70s, the Soviet Union (as was) to Eastern Europe, South America and now the Middle East.

    I suspect this process is far from finished and wouldn’t be too smug about the fact that it hasn’t hit too many Western nations yet; there is no room for complacency, particularly in such a heavily polarised country as the USA.

    Let’s not forget that a central theme of all these revolutions is asense of inclusion, democracy and freedom for all, such quintessentially American values.

    Perhaps a new American Revolution is called for, one that sweeps away the current fault lines and re-writes the expected future history of the nation? Far stranger things have happened.

    If the US Constitution was preventing the introduction of something beneficial, then it ought to be changed. Not that I am saying that the legislation under discussion here is beneficial or that it isn’t.

    To my mind the important issues are these: the current US health system is clearly not working for the entire population of your country.

    There are simply far too many cases where people either don’t get the treatment they need or are impoverished by the current system.

    I don’t have a view as to what should be done, but it is clear that something has to be done to help certain sectors of US society get the treatment they need.

    Failing that, there is always the New Revolution…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Since all government officials take an oath do protect and defend it, I find their refusal to do so criminal on its face.

    So your contention is that a government official is beholden to the constitution because they swore an oath to it. This unfortunately again leads to my question (that you really didn’t answer, but I’ll take it) as to whether or not you’d throw newborn females into a flaming pit because it said to do so in the constitution or some other such founding document. So should a government official be beholden to the constitution at ANY cost, moral or otherwise, because of the oath he or she swore to took office?

    No product or service should be provided at the barrel of a gun.

    Ah, Mark Stevens’ oft-repeated line. Do you also agree with his contention that there’d be no criminals if there were no laws?

    Stevens’ belief is “that there is no nation.” Do you go that far and, if you do, why would you give one blue shit about the constitution? Shouldn’t you be taking any chance you get to rip it apart in the consideration that there are no nations?

    I mean, it makes sense in a way because Stevens is a sort of voluntaryist and that means that he doesn’t like government but still likes property rights. This is, of course, based on a system of voluntary trade between two benefiting parties. It’s another good idea in theory, but I wonder how it works practically.

    So I guess if I were to answer my questions on your behalf, I’d say:

    if your constitution told you to toss newborn females into a flaming pit, would it be fair to assume you’d just go along with it because, well, sheesh?

    No.

    Or is it sometimes right and moral to question the law, especially if it was written centuries (ago) by men who had no idea as to the magnitude their peculiar venture would reach?

    It’s always right and moral to question the law, especially on the basis that the United States isn’t a nation in the first place.

    Sound about right?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    zing answers the question of why there are so many uninsured in this country right now in his comment 30.

    That’s the argument I’ve been making since the libtards started this shit two years ago. One of the biggest reasons for so many uninsured in this country is because people are either to lazy, cheap or stupid to buy their own insuance and now the govt wants to mandate your ineptness….pathetic!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    And one more thing…

    zing says

    if by law, i had to have better insurance, i’d get preventative care. the guilt trip doesn’t work for such as i, but a penalty might.

    No it won’t, especially when the penalty will be lower than the cost of insurance!!!

    People never appreciate shit they get for free…just look at any public housing project!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @31

    ” …which is my point about his support of tyrannical laws for the so called public good.+ Pablo, speaking of Glenn

    Glad to see, Pablo, you’re adopting, or at least acknowledging, my terms of discourse. Of course, by speaking of “so called public good” you’re also loading the dice in order to predetermine the outcome in favor of the Constitution.

    I perfectly understand, because you can’t live with the contradiction in the event the two horns of the dilemma, in some instances at least, were covalent. But it’s precisely this kind of internal contradiction which keeps on manifesting itself with increasingly greater frequency as the chief characteristic of modern-day statehood. So why not escape the dilemma in its entirety, Pablo, along with a whole host of essentially insoluble problems it brings in its wake, by doing away with the notion of the State altogether?

    It’s time to start thinking outside the box.

  • pablo

    Not bad Jordan.

  • pablo

    Roger,

    I have no problem with doing away with state as it were, the problem is that the state has no plans on going away anytime soon,even if a majority wanted to do away with it. It aint gonna happen.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Pablo, what do you make of Stevens’ views on the state and the constitution? Are they non-entities?

  • Baronius

    The US has a “government of laws, not of men”. We could probably get by with a non-constitutional government; I think the costs would outweigh the benefits, but we could do it. But that’s not the system we have.

    The way I look at it, if you don’t like baseball, don’t play basebell. But don’t complain that the ball should be football-shaped and the players should run down the field with it. And definitely don’t show up in swim trunks and insist on diving off the mound.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    The questions I have for Pablo are much simpler:

    1. Why do you think that to “rephrase” a question means to repeat it verbatim?
    2. What does “on its face” mean?

  • pablo

    I am sure you have heard of sarcasm dread.

  • zingzing

    alright, pablo, then here’s my question… why do you seem so wishy-washy on your constitutional adhesiveness? is it pure politics?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There was an op-ed right before the bill was passed, recommending that there be an opt-out available for the mandate.

    Works like this: If you opt out of the mandate, you would also have to opt out of receiving any government subsidies for health insurance for a given period, say 5 years.

    It could work, and it might well have avoided this whole awful court battle that has been accompanied by so much hyperbolic rhetorical venom.

    I forwarded the idea at the time to my senators and congressman, and to a couple of news outlets. It was a NY Times op-ed, but it never got much traction.

  • pablo

    Jordan 44
    Well in the immortal words of Bill Clinton that depends on what the definition of is is.
    The way that I understand Mark Steven’s belief that the state does not exist rests primarily on the fact that the state has broken its contract with the people, hence it does not have legitimacy.
    Even if the state does not exist, the end of the barrel pointing at your chest from one of its illusory employess most certainly does exist! There can be no question about that.
    I would argue that just as relationships exist countries exist. They may not exist in the way a mountain or a river in nature exist, that is in a concrete tactile fashion, they exist in an ephemeral way.
    I do like Stevens though, particularly his information on law in practice.

    zing, I would be happy to reply to your question if you can state it a little bit more succinctly, so that I can understand it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The way I understood it from the couple of YouTube clips I saw and from reading some of his essays is that the state doesn’t exist because the constitution isn’t a binding contract because it is “unsigned.” It’s not so much that the state “broke its contract with the people” so much as it is the contract never existed in the first place and is, as such, null and void.

    From here:

    “The ‘states’ and the ‘United States’ were allegedly created by pieces of paper and ink called ‘constitutions.’ Being nothing more than paper and ink, ‘constitutions’ are only obligatory on men and women as contracts, agreements or compacts. After all, a ‘body politic’ is supposed to be a ‘voluntary association.’ I recommend reading Lysander Spooner’s No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. As stated therein, the ‘constitution’ is unsigned and as such created nothing. Myth number one is dispelled on that alone (there are other reasons not included herein): there are no “states” and no ‘United States.’ In other words, there is no ‘nation.'”

    I find it an interesting but largely unconvincing account because it makes an awful lot of presumptions and then discards them with a simplistic dismissal. It seems, for lack of a better way of putting it, “a little too easy.”

  • pablo

    Jordan,
    That too, I do not have the quote from what I referred to at this time. I do like Spooner and I am inclined to agree with some of what he said in the paragraph you quoted. However my understanding at this time is that regardless of the “We the people” preamble, the constitution is more of a pact between the states. If there is to be any meaning at all to the phrase “consent of the governed” then alot of what Stevens says I agree with.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @43

    Clever retort, Pablo. Still, can’t help thinking of the denizens of an insane asylum who, in spite of being fully aware of where they’re at and that they’ve all been committed for no good reason, insist on behaving as though it was the most normal place in the world.