The Constitution

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    Sep 17, 2010 3:47 PM GMT
    Cheers to the US Constitution, adopted today in 1787. I'll thank James Madison (my university namesake) for extraordinary work.

    Unfortunately, I fear poor Barney Frank is representative of the US population today in claiming understanding:


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    Sep 17, 2010 3:48 PM GMT
    And just for fun, I bring you School House Rock:



    As a commenter said, these 3-minute songs from the '70s are more ingrained in our collective memories than most of our K-12 education.
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    Sep 18, 2010 4:10 AM GMT
    Did you mean Barney Fife and not Barney Frank?
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    Sep 18, 2010 5:33 PM GMT
    So what have you learned from what you read? And what conclusions have you come to based upon the words in the text? Do you read them all literally? Is it easy to figure out what their literal meanings are?

    Let's start with the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Are laws forcing people to say the pledge of allegiance "respecting an establishment of religion?" How about laws creating currency with "In God We Trust" on them?

    Are laws preventing people from yelling "fire" in a crowded place "abridging the freedom of speech?" How about laws saying one can't burn the American flag? How about laws preventing students from wearing t-shirts which say "kill all the ___________ (insert the name of a group of people in here)?"

    Are laws prohibiting protests in the middle of high-traffic streets "abridging the right of the people to peacably assemble?"
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    Sep 18, 2010 10:18 PM GMT
    You did not answer any of the questions I posed in my last post. I'll make you a deal: Give me a textual argument (meaning write the text of the Constitution here) for why it is NOT within the executive's power to do that, and I'll give you a textual argument for why it is.
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    Sep 18, 2010 11:04 PM GMT
    Among my many interests is classical music. I am in awe of the musical accomplishments of composers born hundreds of years before me, the Bachs, Mozarts, Beethovens and many more. In our modern world of constantly evolving high tech we think nothing much before we ourselves who came onto the scene has any value, and that new is always better than old.

    But through music I've learned that human genius wasn't invented yesterday, that there are accomplishments we still haven't surpassed, even today after many hundreds of years. It may be Mozart, or it may be Shakespeare. And one of those rare glories of human genius is the US Constitution.

    When people wonder what made the US great, as a teacher I was supposed to rattle off facts about abundant natural resources, an inland water system, access to 2 oceans, and all kinds of objective facts. But the subversive answer I also told my students?

    That the true power & strength of the US resides on a mere piece of paper, protected in a vault in the National Archives. Because this piece of paper represents not merely the genius of those who wrote it, but it has unlocked the genius of countless Americans for generations.

    It is the advantage the US has had over other countries for 200 years. Because, after all, who are we Americans? We are English, and German, and Spanish, and African, and Scandinavian, Italian, Russian, Chinese, French, Irish, Dutch, every country on Earth. Yet only the US had such success. Why is that?

    Because people who came here had opportunity, and freedom, that they lacked elsewhere. The genius of the US Constitution was in unlocking the genius of the people. Flawed at first with shameful comprises because of slavery, in order to be passed, it managed to correct itself, later overcoming women's suffrage discrimination, as well. (Though I note with great embarrassment that the UK preceded the US in this with partial suffrage in 1918.)

    But I say "was" because there is a move today among right-wing elements to suppress the US Constitution, even totally rewrite it. As if anyone could rewrite a symphony by Mozart, or a play by Shakespeare. A move to distort and misrepresent it, to make it fit their narrow political and Christian agendas, rather than honor the noble human principles which inspired it.

    And these modern mental midgets want us to believe they can fill the shoes of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin and others. If there is a new Madison or Franklin among them let them step forward and make the claim, so we can ridicule them as they deserve. If not, then leave the US Constitution to the ages, neither rewriting it, misrepresenting it, nor defiling it.
  • Nodak

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    Sep 19, 2010 1:27 AM GMT
    It seems to me that there are members of both parties that are more than willing to trample on the constitution if that action will further their purpose.
  • creature

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    Sep 19, 2010 1:49 AM GMT
    I'm going to have to kinda agree with Southbeach, only with the idea about the government forcing people to buy insurance. I think that was a terrible compromise. I wish they left that out of health reform, while keeping the other parts. I do wish there was a government option though. But since they didn't get enough votes for it, I don't think they should have gone with this poor substitute.
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    Sep 19, 2010 2:55 AM GMT
    "Is it easy to figure out what their literal meanings are?

    Yes, for me, it is fairly easy to understand."


    Apparently not - keep reading....


    "Are laws forcing people to say the pledge of allegiance "respecting an establishment of religion? How about laws creating currency with "In God We Trust" on them?"

    "I find the mention of God to be actually counter to the spirit of the Constitution."


    Fascinating that you would say that since arguments about the "spirt of the Constitution" are not based upon the text, so a strict constructionist would not ordinarily invoke that language.

    "Are laws preventing people from yelling "fire" in a crowded place "abridging the freedom of speech?"

    In my opinion, yes. The "fire in a crowded theater" speech doesn't need to be prohibited. The person doing the yelling (assuming there is no fire) can be punished not for exercising freedom of speech but for any number of existing "attempted" type of laws (attempted _____ fill in the blank).


    You don't get how the Constitution works. You can't say that making such a law is unconstitutional on the one hand, and then say that it can be punished by another law on the other hand. If it is constitutionally protected speech, whatever laws that prohibit that speech would by definition be unconstitutional, unless you believe that there are exceptions to the First Amendment not found in the text of the amendment. If you believe that, then you are not the strict textualist you claim to be.

    How about laws saying one can't burn the American flag?

    Unconstitutional.


    So you agree that conduct can be protected as speech. But the First Amendment only says "speech," not "conduct." I agree with you, but your position is inconsistent with relying on what you claim is the plain language of the text.
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    Sep 19, 2010 5:52 PM GMT
    SBb) The "spirit of the Constitution" as I use it is based on an understanding of the complete document


    Does that include the part about slavery or not?
    http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=10&year=2008&base_name=sarah_palin_believes_the_constThe Constitution's acceptance of slavery, and its valuation of slaves as "three-fifths" of a person, was a fundamental flaw that contradicted the very principles outlined in the Constitution. It was fundamental precisely because it occurred at the moment of the document's creation. But the genius of the Founders was in establishing a political document that could change, if necessary, to extend the freedoms it initially denied. This, as I argued yesterday, reflects the recognition of the Founders themselves that the Constitution could be flawed in some way, for this reason it contains a process for amending it. Among others, our communist Chief Justice John Roberts believes that the amendment process ""did allow some fundamental flaws to be addressed like slavery." Indeed, Roberts notes that these fundamental flaws were serious enough to drag us into a bloody civil war by the 1860s. Creeping Sovietism.


    Did you know we should all go back to coins, since it's not in the Constitution? And dismantle the Air Force, since the Founders only stipulated for an Army and Navy?
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    Sep 19, 2010 6:32 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Do you believe it is within the power of the Federal government to compel citizens to purchase a good or service from a private entity?


    Even Bush had the right idea.
    Let's put it in a different way: in 2007, Bush proposed tax breaks for people who buy health insurance.
    http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/2540/0

    So is that compulsion? After all, Bush is suggesting that the IRS COMPEL us to buy insurance, because otherwise we have to pay that tax (paying tax and not receiving a tax break amount to the same thing).

    So if that's constitutional:
    Obama is doing a similar thing: just imagine that taxes have been raised for everybody to a varying degree, and he's giving a tax break to those who buy health insurance.

    --------------------
    So you wouldn't object if the federal government provided universal coverage, since it wouldn't then be forcing citizens to buy it from a private entity?
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    Sep 19, 2010 7:40 PM GMT
    Oh, and BTW, the government is compelling you to do buy sorts of things with private entities with tax deductions (but I don't do them and pay my tax instead):
    paying mortgage interest (to a bank, no less)
    contribution to a retirement fund (to a brokerage account)
    your conscience (buy it from charities)

    You might even say having children (<17 years old) with a private entity is compelled on you. Why don't you go do it?icon_lol.gif
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    Sep 19, 2010 7:43 PM GMT
    That's why I chose to use the word "understand" versus "interpret." The two words are quite different, especially in the context of this conversation.

    I am dumbfounded by how you can easily understand it but cannot interpret it. So it works in your head but then you can't explain what you're thinking?



    a) I specifically avoided labelling myself a constructionist

    b) The "spirit of the Constitution" as I use it is based on an understanding of the complete document


    My mistake there. I'm glad you clarified that.


    The act of speech can be Constitutionally protected while at the same time the consequences of that speech - what was caused by that speech, may be unlawful.

    Example: The right of citizens to own guns is enshrined in the Constitution. However, if a citizen randomly shoots another citizen, they have committed a crime. The misuse of the Constitutionally protected gun, i.e. violation of a law that is constitutional, is what I was trying to convey to you in answer to that particular question of yours.


    I think that's a poor analogy. You may own a gun without shooting it. (And the Second Amendment is very specific about the purposes for which it may be used). However, speech only occurs when the message is actually put out there. Otherwise, you are really just talking about freedom of thought. So the protection of speech has no meaning at all if it can be banned based upon its consequences. That is the type of justification that tyrannical goverments historically used to punish speech - it's alleged negative consequences.


    Now, I've answered your questions twice already and you haven't yet answered mine:

    Do you believe it is within the power of the Federal government to compel citizens to purchase a good or service from a private entity?


    Fair enough. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution states that Congress has the power "to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Further, the Constitution states: "The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution . . . all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

    I submit that, together, those two parts of the Constitution give the Congress the power to regulate interstate goods and services, including health insurance. I certainly believe that the insurance industry fits within the definition of interstate commerce ("Commerce . . . among the several states"). So, to answer your questions, I do believe that the federal government has the Constitutional power to fine individuals who fail to purchase health insurance.

    What is your argument, based upon your understanding of the whole Constitution (please cite at least some text) for why Congress would not have that power? And what about what q1w2e3 said? Would you agree or disagree that Bush could have constitutionally given tax breaks to people who bought health insurance?
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    Sep 20, 2010 2:32 AM GMT
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzales_v._Raich
    Of all people, I quote Scalia's opinion in the latter:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzales_v._RaichUnlike the power to regulate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce, the power to enact laws enabling effective regulation of interstate commerce can only be exercised in conjunction with congressional regulation of an interstate market, and it extends only to those measures necessary to make the interstate regulation effective. As Lopez itself states, and the Court affirms today, Congress may regulate noneconomic intrastate activities only where the failure to do so “could … undercut” its regulation of interstate commerce. ... This is not a power that threatens to obliterate the line between “what is truly national and what is truly local.”[7]


    Replace marijuana and wheat with health care.

    And you haven't addresses the other argument with tax breaks.
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    Sep 20, 2010 2:52 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Because people who came here had opportunity, and freedom, that they lacked elsewhere. The genius of the US Constitution was in unlocking the genius of the people. Flawed at first with shameful comprises because of slavery, in order to be passed, it managed to correct itself, later overcoming women's suffrage discrimination, as well. (Though I note with great embarrassment that the UK preceded the US in this with partial suffrage in 1918.)

    Great post Art_D; I love a well written and thought out post. I actually prefer the constitution to the Charter that we Canadians have. Yes, I have actually taken the time to read both (though it has been a few years and I should probably do so again.) Two years back when I was travelling I came across an interesting sight. ( I think it was) in southern Utah I ran across a road side tourist information building with the a copy of the constitution written on the wall. I thought it was an interesting idea- and somewhat unexpected given Utah's history.

    I think Canada had allowed women with property to vote for quite a few years prior to allowing all females over 21 to vote. They got the vote in May of 1918. The US had the amendment passed by the house in Jan of 1918 and the Senate in August of 1918. We introduced the legislation later than the US but had it written into law 3 months prior to the US, if I read the dates correctly (not that it really matters overall.)

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    Sep 20, 2010 3:02 AM GMT
    Do these two cases have to do with compelling individuals to buy either locally produced wheat or marijuana over that sourced via interstate channels?
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    Sep 20, 2010 4:00 AM GMT
    http://health.newamerica.net/blogposts/2010/health_reform_the_wheat_grower_and_the_commerce_clause-35287Under the new law, the commercial activity regulated is expressly described as an interstate economic activity and not the more tenuous intrastate activity like growing wheat or marijuana for individual use. In fact, section 1501(a)(2) of the health reform law is entitled, “Effects on the National Economy and Interstate Commerce.” The language directly asserts that health care insurance and health care services are interstate economic activity.
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    Sep 20, 2010 4:22 AM GMT
    Coolmusc1 saidSo what have you learned from what you read? And what conclusions have you come to based upon the words in the text? Do you read them all literally? Is it easy to figure out what their literal meanings are?


    The Constitution is - despite the limitations and the generally evil bent of humanity - is as good a guiding document as ever was to frame a government upon.

    The Founding Fathers were largely familiar with the shortcomings of the human race (to wit, the 3/5 compromise) of its time, as well as anticipating to a limited degree what issues would confront the new Republic, at least into the following generation (the one born in the 1780s-1800s) and possibly the one thereafter (1800s-1820s), which would reach public maturity (that is, the age at which those generations would enter policy-making role in the nation), beginning in the 1820s and reaching forward as far (potentially) as the 1860s).

    This is not to say that they "got everything right", for they too, despite their relative excellence as men in their time, suffered from the same things that afflict us - partisanship, differences in how they thought best the government should be administered (strong Hamiltonian federal centralism vs Jeffersonian loose federalism, i.e. more power vested in the states) among other things.

    Taken literally, the Constitution is for the most part, easy to glean its meaning, when taken as a whole.

    Coolmusc1 saidLet's start with the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Are laws forcing people to say the pledge of allegiance "respecting an establishment of religion?" How about laws creating currency with "In God We Trust" on them?


    1) the Pledge of Allegiance is - as far as I know - not a federally mandated speech that we must make. In fact, the Pledge contained no reference to God or Deity until the 1950s, when through much lobbying by the Catholic service organization, the Knights of Columbus, got the "under God" verbiage added to it. It is noteworthy to add that this occurred during the time of McCarthyism and the Red Scares, when atheism (or rather the lack of acknowledging God) was considered a mark of Marxist and/or Communist sympathies.

    2) If we were following the constitution more faithfully, there would likely be no such abomination as the "federal Reserve" or its worthless paper currency. The Constitution limits the Congress to minting silver dollars and gold eagles (as the proper name for coined gold specie).

    As for putting "in God we trust" on the money (coin or currency) - this could arguably be a violation of the Establishment cause, although a far-fetched one, since the person of God is not clearly established. It could as easily refer to Indra, or Kali, or Allah or Jesus or even Neptune... even if "god" is commonly understood to refer to the Judeo-Christian notion of God.

    Moreover, the motto does not compel anyone to observe any religion in and of itself.

    If the motto on the money said "In Jesus we Trust", or some other named Deity, that would be grounds for a more serious consideration of whether or not this is a violation, and no doubt this was a matter of discussion when the parties involved in passing whatever laws govern putting that motto on the coins.

    Coolmusc1 saidAre laws preventing people from yelling "fire" in a crowded place "abridging the freedom of speech?" How about laws saying one can't burn the American flag? How about laws preventing students from wearing t-shirts which say "kill all the ___________ (insert the name of a group of people in here)?"


    The Constitution does not forbid this speech, but I will agree with the above posters who have said that the while the Constitution doesn't prohibit speech, it doesn't have regard for civil or even criminal penalties against speakers for the effects of that speech (i.e. "fighting words", libel, etc.)

    In other words, to not ban a person from wearing a "kill the rabbit" shirt because some poor lagomorph might be offended, but to perhaps impose a penalty for someone "inciting to riot" when he walks into a crowded bar full of said lagomorphs.

    Coolmusc1 saidAre laws prohibiting protests in the middle of high-traffic streets "abridging the right of the people to peacably assemble?"


    Arguably, blocking traffic in a high-density transit area could be construed to be a non-peacable action.

    And at the same time, there may be a necessary level of discretion that local law enforcement bodies need to exercise, depending upon the nature of the activity and its likely protesters: a G-20 summit is likely to turn up all sorts of anarchists and other rabble-rousers whose intent has been proven to be anything but peaceable, whereas Tea Party protests have been for the most part, very peaceably assembled.

    I do disagree with the notion of "free speech zones" that place areas where protestors may assemble inordinately away from the site of the activity they wish to protest.
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    Sep 20, 2010 4:27 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    http://health.newamerica.net/blogposts/2010/health_reform_the_wheat_grower_and_the_commerce_clause-35287Under the new law, the commercial activity regulated is expressly described as an interstate economic activity and not the more tenuous intrastate activity like growing wheat or marijuana for individual use.

    Maybe I am missing something here, but as I read this, is it saying that health care is not the same sort of intrastate activity as raising wheat for personal consumption...?

    Although I'll admit this is likely a semantics issue; the original track of thought with the wheat farmers was that given enough people growing their own wheat for themselves, it could ultimately disrupt the national wheat supply.

    A dodgy way of grabbing power, if you ask me, and one likely done on behalf of major farming co-ops to bring in the remaining few family farmers who do not distribute across state lines under the federal government's reach.

    In like manner, by co-opting any and all trade that "could disrupt national trade", the federal government has very broad powers to regulate whatever it pleases... to include forcing people to buy insurance.

    Unfortunately, money may very well undercut what should be a clear cut matter of individual and state's rights against compelling people to purchase unwanted goods or services.
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    Sep 21, 2010 12:36 AM GMT
    Incorrect assumption. Congress can certainly regulate businesses engaged in interstate commerce, however the mandate to purchase insurance is on individual citizens. The commerce clause does not apply to individual citizens. Furthermore, the commerce clause can not compel individuals to engage in commerce.

    I disagree. The language of the Commerce Clause does not say "businesses" or "individuals." Instead it covers interstate commerce, which can as easily be conducted among individuals. Under your argument, an individual operating as a S corporation could be covered, but an individual operating the same business to the same extent, but without incorporating, would be not. That distinction would be elevating form way above function, and is very weak. The Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, applies to "employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." That law has been around for a while and has been upheld over and over again by the Supreme Court.

    The law we are discussing is much more like a tax than a compulsion. So, with respect to the part of the insurance law that deals with that narrow issue, I think it will be upheld under the federal government's power to tax. Otherwise, the law could possibly be overbroad for the few people in our country, if any, who could reasonably argue that they do not engage in commerce.

    And.... going along with you a bit... What if I decided to purchase my health insurance from a company that operated solely within my state? There's no interstate commerce going on there at all, therefore, the federal government has no business via the commerce clause to stick their nose in that.

    Deal with that and then we can go on to your other questions.


    Your argument assumes that the company operating solely intrastate has no effect on interstate commerce. In our complex and interconnected economy, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a company or business that is so local that it is truly only intrastate in form and function. If you look at some of the jurisprudence underlying the Fair Labor Standards Act, you will see a myriad of examples of how the individual employees, who are covered, engage in interstate commerce in one way or another.
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    Sep 21, 2010 12:51 AM GMT
    Taken literally, the Constitution is for the most part, easy to glean its meaning, when taken as a whole.

    The reason I posed all of the examples that you cite below is because southbeach150 similarly stated that the Constitution is easy to understand (though somehow much harder to interpret). You say the same thing. All I can say is you are both a lot smarter than the Constitutional scholars who have been arguing over its meaning for so long.

    1) the Pledge of Allegiance is - as far as I know - not a federally mandated speech that we must make. In fact, the Pledge contained no reference to God or Deity until the 1950s, when through much lobbying by the Catholic service organization, the Knights of Columbus, got the "under God" verbiage added to it. It is noteworthy to add that this occurred during the time of McCarthyism and the Red Scares, when atheism (or rather the lack of acknowledging God) was considered a mark of Marxist and/or Communist sympathies.

    I never said there was such a law (though I am fairly confident that there was at some point). Whether there is or was is irrelevant. I provided a scenario, and if the Constitution is really that easy to understand, then it should be easy to explain how that scenario would turn out under the language of the Constitution.

    2) If we were following the constitution more faithfully, there would likely be no such abomination as the "federal Reserve" or its worthless paper currency. The Constitution limits the Congress to minting silver dollars and gold eagles (as the proper name for coined gold specie).

    To be honest, I don't really care about this argument and have never looked into it, so I'm not going to address it.

    As for putting "in God we trust" on the money (coin or currency) - this could arguably be a violation of the Establishment cause, although a far-fetched one, since the person of God is not clearly established. It could as easily refer to Indra, or Kali, or Allah or Jesus or even Neptune... even if "god" is commonly understood to refer to the Judeo-Christian notion of God.

    I think this is a law respecting the establishment of religion. The First Amendment doesn't say that laws respecting the establishment of "a" religion are prohibited, it says that laws respecting the establishment of religion are prohibited. If printing "In God We Trust" is not respecting the establishment of religion (whether it's one or all of the ones you listed), then it is hard to imagine what is.

    Moreover, the motto does not compel anyone to observe any religion in and of itself.

    The Constitution doesn't say that a law has to comple someone to "observe" religion to violate the First Amendment.

    If the motto on the money said "In Jesus we Trust", or some other named Deity, that would be grounds for a more serious consideration of whether or not this is a violation, and no doubt this was a matter of discussion when the parties involved in passing whatever laws govern putting that motto on the coins.

    Again, the language doesn't say that laws respecting the establishment of "a" religion are prohibited (see above).

    The Constitution does not forbid this speech, but I will agree with the above posters who have said that the while the Constitution doesn't prohibit speech, it doesn't have regard for civil or even criminal penalties against speakers for the effects of that speech (i.e. "fighting words", libel, etc.)

    In other words, to not ban a person from wearing a "kill the rabbit" shirt because some poor lagomorph might be offended, but to perhaps impose a penalty for someone "inciting to riot" when he walks into a crowded bar full of said lagomorphs.


    I agree with what you wrote, and it certainly reflects the constitutional jurisprudence pertaining to the First Amendment. I asked those questions just to show that it is not as simple as one might think to understand or interpret the language of the Constitution.

    I do disagree with the notion of "free speech zones" that place areas where protestors may assemble inordinately away from the site of the activity they wish to protest.[/quote]

    I'm confused - you do disagree with them, or you meant to write that you don't disagree with them?
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    Sep 21, 2010 1:31 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidLet's cut to the chase then.

    The Federal government can compel any citizen to purchase anything. If the citizen refuses, the Federal government can inflict punishment in the form of a "tax" on the offender, er, citizen.

    Yes?

    Sure. The Federal government can compel you to go to war and get your ass shot or be punished.

    The government can compel you to pay taxes or be punished.

    Also, states compel people to buy auto insurance or pay the state for coverage.

    These done by elected assemblies per the rules of the state, be it federal or state, and for the good of the whole.
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    Sep 21, 2010 1:55 AM GMT

    As for limits to the Commerce Clause:

    http://www.wneclaw.com/conlaw/commerce%20clause%20outline%202007.htmThe question of whether the activity regulated is economic or not may depend on the scope of the Congressional regulatory scheme. If the scheme generally regulates a commercial activity, the Court may be willing to characterize all of the applications of the statute as the regulation of commercial activity including those that reach activity, which viewed in isolation, might be considered noncommercial (such as the medicinal marijuana grown for personal consumption in Raich which was regulated as part of a comprehensive regulation of the illegal drug market).
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    Sep 21, 2010 1:59 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Caslon15000 said
    Sure. The Federal government can compel you to go to war and get your ass shot or be punished.

    Not what I was talking about here.

    Yes, it is. The principal of the government's ability to compel its citizens.


    Caslon15000 said
    The government can compel you to pay taxes or be punished.

    Absolutely. That's in the Constitution.



    Caslon15000 said
    Also, states compel people to buy auto insurance or pay the state for coverage.

    Here's where we are getting off track a bit. Not everybody has to purchase auto insurance. Only people who wish to drive. In the case of healthcare, every citizen is being forced to purchase health insurance.

    Nay, nay! Everybody has health. And when that health go awry, they will be showing up at some medical facility for care. That care has to be paid for by someone. Right now that bill goes to all the other users of the system in higher fees and premiums. Requiring people to buy health coverage is only making them pay into the system they use. Hell, we have to pay for public schools, even tho we dont have kids that use them.



    Caslon15000 said
    These done by elected assemblies per the rules of the state, be it federal or state, and for the good of the whole.

    OK, let's take that a little further.

    It is for the good of the country that we have a strong, vibrant auto industry. Therefore, all citizens must purchase a General Motors car, or they will be taxed $20,000.

    Is that OK too?

    Is this proposal before a legislature? Call me when it is and we will talk.
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    Sep 21, 2010 2:02 AM GMT
    As I've said before, if and when Apple has Congress in its pockets, Congress may very well legislate a tax on anybody that doesn't buy an Ipod. If and when.

    Also works for a dildo company and its product.

    And you haven't answered my question (which I've asked twice): if there was a public option, would your arguments still hold?