Legal versus Political Issues

And here’s my response to a friend who asked if the Florida decision was a “clear case of judicial activism and over-reaching with a political agenda.”

The challenge to the ACA raises serious constitutional law questions.  The results have been politicized, but the issue goes to the heart of the Constitution’s allocation of power among the states, the federal government, and the people.  Legal analysis requires putting aside agreement with the ends of health care reform and asking this question:  if I disagreed with the operation of the law, would I still believe it was within Congress’s power to pass it?  If Congress decided national defense and public safety required every competent non-felon adult in the U.S. to own a handgun, would it be within Congress’s power under the commerce clause? (There may be other constitutional flaws to this hypothetical but I’m making this up on the fly to frame the question.) The courts that have considered these challenges have so far split on partisan lines, but it ignores the legitimacy of the constitutional issues to assume nothing more than party affiliation drives the outcome.

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