A Federal Government of Limited Powers

Over at Volokh, several commenters have been whining that it’s a violation of precedent for the Supreme Court to reject a government power (such as the individual mandate) just because there’s no “limiting principle” that would accept that power, but deny the Federal Government other powers.  Glenn Reynolds article in the Examiner today effectively rebuts that, with a quote from Lopez (the decision that overturned the “no guns within 1000 feet of a school law):

It was not acceptable, the majority opinion said, to “pile inference upon inference” in order to extend federal power so far beyond its intended limits. “To do so would require us to conclude that the Constitution’s enumeration of powers does not presuppose something not enumerated, and that there never will be a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local. This we are unwilling to do.”

Verrilli didn’t look like an ass because the Court changed the rules on him,Verrilli looked like an ass because the people who wrote ObamaCare decided they could ignore Lopez, and as such they left Verrilli with an indefensible law to try to defend.  Also left looking like the asses they are are all the left-wing “legal commentators” (Linda Greenhouse, etc.) who insisted that the Individual mandate was a Constitutional “slam dunk”, apparently having wiped from their minds that Kennedy voted in the majority on Lopez and in Bond v. United States Kennedy wrote last year:

[Limiting federal power] protects the liberty of all persons within a state by ensuring that laws enacted in excess of delegated governmental power cannot direct or control their actions. By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.

If that doesn’t sound like “just because States can do it, doesn’t mean the Federal Government can”, then you’re not paying attention.  That, BTW, was a 9-0 decision.  Which is what the ruling striking down the Individual Mandate would be, if the four “liberals” on the Court were honest Justices, rather than left-wing hacks.

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