THE SUPREME COURT’S MOMENTOUS TEST
NEW YORK TIMES
The insurance mandate is nothing like requiring people to buy broccoli — a comparison Justice Antonin Scalia suggested in his exasperated questioning. … Congress has indisputable authority to regulate national markets and provide for the general welfare through its broad power to tax. Nothing about the mandate falls outside those clearly delineated powers. … If the Supreme Court hews to established law, the only question it must answer in this case is modest: Did Congress have a rational basis for concluding that the economic effects of a broken health care system warranted a national solution? The answer is incontrovertibly yes.
ELEPHANTS DOWN UNDER
BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
Looking at America from [New Zealand], makes me feel as though we have the worst of all worlds right now. The days when there were liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, who nudged the two parties together, appear over. We don’t have compulsory voting. Special interest money is out of control, and we lack any credible Third Party that could capture enough of the center to force both Democrats and Republicans to compete for votes there. So we’ve lost our ability to do big, hard things together. Yet everything we have to do — tax reform, fiscal reform, health care reform, energy policy — is big and hard and can only be done together.
Twenty-six states have challenged the expansion as a coercive use of the federal purse. Although Medicaid remains voluntary, the 26 states argue that they are being forced to acquiesce to the expansion with the threat of losing not only additional federal funds to cover new enrollees but also the billions of Medicaid dollars they already receive. “Congress’ assumption that States would have no choice but to accept its new terms is unconstitutional, but not unrealistic,” the states argue in court documents. This argument — that the federal government’s generosity in subsidizing Medicaid amounts to coercion — falls flat. States are under no legal obligation to take the money. They might face a political backlash if they refused, but that’s hardly a constitutional problem.
OBAMACARE IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE
BY KATHLEEN PARKER
The health-care mandate forces business and individuals to buy something against their will. The mandate facilitates access to health care the same way being pushed off a diving board facilitates swimming. It may prove effective — or not — but it shouldn’t be confused with civil rights. … Civil rights activists who were beaten, bloodied and killed in the struggle to have a voice were nothing like the bureaucrats and politicians who insist that the ACA is a comparable victory. … Well-intentioned though it may be — and serviceable though it could become with proper tweaking — the ACA is not about human freedom. It is, in fact, quite the opposite.
A CONSTITUTIONAL AWAKENING
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Court has always balanced federal and state power by distinguishing between pressure and coercion. ObamaCare crosses that line. The conditions of new Medicaid conscript the states into involuntary servitude to the federal government’s policy goals, in this case national health care. They would no longer be independent and autonomous units within the federalist system but agents of Washington. Judicial liberals have responded to the Medicaid challenge with the legal equivalent of rolling their eyes, much as they did with the individual mandate and the Commerce Clause. On the evidence of Tuesday’s oral arguments, that may turn out to be a mistake as well.
THE TRAYVON MARTIN TRAGEDIES
BY JUAN WILLIAMS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders. … The Orlando Sentinel has reported that 17-year-old Martin was recently suspended from his high school. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office, in the 2006-07 school year, 22% of all black and Hispanic K-12 students were suspended at least once (as compared to 5% of whites). … The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America?