State legislatures revolt against ObamaCare mandates

February 2, 2010

Interesting:

Although President Barack Obama’s push for a health care overhaul has stalled, conservative lawmakers in more than two-thirds of the states are forging ahead with constitutional amendments to ban government health insurance mandates.

The proposals would assert a state-based right for people to pay medical bills from their own pocketbooks and prohibit penalties against those who refuse to carry health insurance.

In many states, the proposals began as a backlash to Democratic health care plans pending in Congress. But instead of backing away after a Massachusetts election gave Senate Republicans the filibuster power to halt the health care legislation, many state lawmakers are ramping up their efforts with new enthusiasm.

The moves reflect the continued political potency of the issue for conservatives, who have used it extensively for fundraising and attracting new supporters. The legal impact of any state measures may be questionable because courts generally have held that federal laws trump those in states.

Lawmakers in 35 states have filed or proposed amendments to their state constitutions or statutes rejecting health insurance mandates, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit group that promotes limited government that is helping coordinate the efforts. Many of those proposals are targeted for the November ballot, assuring that health care remains a hot topic as hundreds of federal and state lawmakers face re-election.

Legislative committees in Idaho and Virginia endorsed their measures this past week. Supporters held a rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol. And hearings on the proposed constitutional amendments were held in Georgia and Missouri. The Missouri hearing drew overflow crowds the day after Obama urged federal lawmakers during his State of the Union address to keep pressing to pass a health care bill. The Nebraska Legislature plans a hearing on a measure this coming week.

Supporters of the state measures portray them as a way of defending individual rights and state sovereignty, asserting that the federal government has no authority to tell states and their citizens to buy health insurance.

There’s an argument to be made that requiring private citizens to buy a product as a matter of law violates both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. The Ninth protects “unenumerated rights,” that is, those not specifically mentioned in the Constitution but still derived from natural law, while the Tenth specifies that powers not explicitly granted to the Federal government under the Constitution are retained by the states and the people. The argument over how to interpret these amendments and the proper balance of the roles of the federal and state governments is one of the oldest in American political history, going back to the Constitutional Convention itself.

I’m not an expert, but my guess is that an argument under the Ninth would be that the freedom to decide which products to purchase, if any, falls under the right of the individual to be sovereign over his property, including his money and his own person. Under the Tenth, it could be argued that, since the commerce in health insurance does not cross state borders*, Congress has no power under the Constitution to regulate it, and that state laws barring an individual mandate are therefore valid. Also, since no power to command the purchases of the people was granted, Congress has no authority.

*(I wonder if the Right is opening a can of worms by calling for interstate commerce in health insurance, since then Congress could regulate it under the Commerce Clause…)

I think an argument under the Tenth is probably correct; I have no idea about the Ninth, which, as I understand it, is rarely invoked in US law. Regardless, since I vehemently oppose socialized medicine and, in particular, ObamaCare, I hope these acts by state legislatures withstand constitutional scrutiny.

On the other hand, they do remind me uncomfortably of the Nullification Crisis

RELATED: A very good book on the Bill of Rights, with a chapter on the Ninth amendment.

UPDATE: I should point out that the Virginia Senate, which is dominated by Democrats, is one of the bodies voting to tell the Fed to stuff it.

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More climate-change fraud revealed

February 2, 2010

The hits keep coming. At this rate, it’s becoming safer to assume that the opposite of whatever the IPCC says is true. First, from China:

Climategate intensifies: Jones and Wang apparently hid Chinese station data issues

The “climategate” controversy intensified last night when the senior British scientist at its centre, Professor Phil Jones, faced fresh accusations that he attempted to withhold data that could cast doubt on evidence for rising world temperatures.
But the new allegations go beyond refusing FOI requests and concern data that Professor Jones and other scientists have used to support a record of recent world temperatures that shows an upward trend.
Climate sceptics have suggested that some of the higher readings may be due not to a warmer atmosphere, but to the so-called “urban heat island effect”, where cities become reservoirs of heat and are warmer than the surrounding countryside, especially during the night hours.
Phil Jones is the “scientist” who, until the recent leaking of the damning emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, was one of the Chief Priests of the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  Now the allegations of fraud extend back at least 20 years and involves hiding evidence of a) how urban areas skew temperature readings and b) the terrible track that’s been kept of these stations, some of which don’t even exist anymore.
And we’re to take this man seriously why?
Meanwhile, following up on a story I covered a few months ago, a major New Zealand research unit has been forced to admit it cannot explain how it came up with the temperature data it has, because it destroyed the raw data:
With great embarrassment the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand has been forced to release it’s raw temperature data, but they have no record of why and when any adjustments were made to this data. Yet again, it appears climate scientists are re-writing the temperature history of the world.
In other words, the adjusted results are crap because no one can test the raw data to verify them. We just have to take them on faith.
How fitting for a cult.
Oh, and the Man Behind the Kiwi Curtain is Jim Salinger, who has collaborated with noted AGW alarmist (and ClimateGate principal) Michael Mann of Penn State… who also happens to be under investigation.
Is this science or a remake of Ocean’s 11?