Editorial of The New York Sun | June 28, 2012
The decision of the Supreme Court sustaining Obamacare is one of those moments in our country’s history when all can catch the glint of American bedrock. The dross of politics is swept aside, and there the bedrock sparkles. All over the country, farmers, teachers, lawyers, businessmen, builders — all kinds of people — are marveling at it. They are reasoning out what the court said and why it said it. Some will be thrilled, others disappointed, and nearly all respectful. Once the court’s reasoning is digested, Americans will adjust their politics accordingly.
What stands out for us in the ruling today is that the Court rejected the notion that Congress can force someone to purchase health insurance because of the clause that grants to Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states. Obamacare is sustained under only the taxing power. Taxing is clearly an enumerated power; it is always going to be the Democrats’ favorite among the enumerated powers. But it’s no small thing that the Democrats turned out to be wrong when they claimed Obamacare could be passed under the commerce clause.
Let us savor the moment. When Obamacare came up for a vote in the Senate, after all, a constitutional point of order was raised by the Republicans. Senators Ensign and DeMint demanded to know under what power the Senate would be acting. Answering for the Democrats, Senator Baucus asserted that the Congress had the power under the general welfare clause and the commerce clause. The states have won a big victory today in the court’s ruling that, in fact, that commerce clause does not give the Congress the power to do what it was doing.