Republican Attorney Generals File Legal Challenges to Health Care Reform

As soon as health care reform passed, just about every single Republican Attorney General said they were going to appeal the bill as unconstitutional and fight it all the way to the Supreme Court of Reactionary Dunces.

They are going to use two different modes of attack.

1. State’s rights. An argument that state’s rights trumps the ability of the federal government to legislate in this area and that in this area, if not in all others, state law trumps federal law.

2. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution.


1. Reactionaries all down through American history, most spectacularly White Southern racists, have rallied behind the phantom of state’s rights. State’s rights is the fetish of the rightwing, typically racist and often Southern Right. That’s it’s now a fetish of the entire Republican Party indicates how neo-Confederatism and the ideology of White Southern racism now frankly define the GOP as a whole.

The states’ rights thing is a red herring. Segregationists brought it up all through the civil rights struggle, and they lost every time. To be honest, this issue was settled with the signing of the Constitution itself, where it was flatly written out that federal law in general trumps state law. This battle is over before it’s started.

2. The Commerce Clause. The problem is that the 9th Amendment, I believe, crucially assigns the Feds the right to regulate interstate commerce. Luckily for Big Statists like me, the Feds have used this legalism endless times to regulate everything under the sun and override state laws.

The crucial battle was fought in the 1830’s under Andrew Jackson. The details elude me, but the Commerce Clause state’s righters went down, and ability of the Feds to regulate interstate commerce with an expansive definition thereof was enshrined forever after. The Right has been bringing up “Commerce Clause!” endlessly ever since, and they get spanked down every time.

So, one battle was lost in 1789 and the other around 1834. This fight looks like a real loser. On the other hand, this Supreme Court is just reactionary nutty enough that I’m a bit worried. They’d be quite willing to toss a century of in stare decisis on its head if they so chose. But something tells me that they won’t.

As an example of how nuts this Republican Party is, I believe that every single Republican legislator, even the most liberal ones on the Northeast, is on record for repeal of this meager health reform bill.

Here in California, the only Republicans who get anywhere are quite liberal. Carly Fiorina and Tom Campbell are two classic California liberal Silicon Valley Republicans. I was shocked to hear that this year both of them were at Tea Party gatherings cheering the loons on, and both screeched the day after Health Care Reform was signed that they were going to repeal it or die trying.

This isn’t your father’s GOP.

Even I grew up under Nixon, Ford and Rockefeller Republicans. There’s something seriously unhinged about the Republican Party, and America, these days. Fully 1/3 Americans say they are Tea Party supporters. For the past 30 years, the GOP has been getting more and more wack with each passing year.

When I was a kid in California in the 1960’s, your everyday, average 2010 Republican was known at that time as a “rightwing nut.” They were the Goldwaterites and the John Birchers. They were treated with a mix of outrage, derision and contempt. Now the Goldwaterites and the Birchers own the party, and everyone else has long gone home. Even worse, 2010 Republicans almost make Barry Goldwater look like a moderate in some ways.

Things are getting really weird.

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5 thoughts on “Republican Attorney Generals File Legal Challenges to Health Care Reform”

  1. The Achilles heel could be the requirement that individuals buy insurance. Some people try to point that individuals are required to buy auto insurance; but that’s not true — you can avoid buying auto insurance by not driving.

    It might be possible to argue that since everyone will get emergency care, that’s it’s fair to charge everyone for it, the way even the most extreme libertarian is still served by the fire department and rescue squad, and hence can be taxed to pay for them.

    I think this will all come down to Kennedy whether requiring insurance is within the taxing power of the government or not.

  2. I might also add that today’s Republican “Tea Party” types are all for state’s rights and no taxation, etc, etc…Except for the trillion dollar war-machine. Then they would be more than happy to give 80% of their paycheck to the federal government, so long as it goes to kill brown people on the other side of the planet.

    Go figure.

  3. Health care reform opposition was necessary to try and unite a party with sagging morale. They needed to latch on to something to energize the conservative base. They needed a boogeyman issue. Then they need someone like Sarah Palin to go around and rally the troops. A woman about as intellectually hollow as a cardboard cutout. What worries me though is that the propaganda seems to be working. Obama’s ratings took a plunge with this health care legislation. Americans will fall for anything.

  4. “Big statists” like you? “Big statism” which in its current operative form, is the enemy of other “big statisms” with which you sympathize.

    Well I admit you’re no more inconsistent than e.g. the small government conservatives, particularly the religious small government conservatives, who nevertheless support the US, whose culture they view as liberally corrupt, when it acts as the Big Government World Policeman warring in the – contrastingly conservative – Mideast.

    The interventions if successful of course, would corrupt the Islamic world with pornography, feminism, Hollywood values, runaway New York capitalist materialism – the very things the American “small government” conservatives hate.

    But for the good of the world, let’s hope the polarization caused by anti-health care forces conflicting with the “big statists” helps bring about a paralysis or worse in the U.S, political system which in turn will help diminish its influence in the Eurasian/Islamic world.

  5. There are so many serious issues that white conservatives ought to be rallying around, yet they choose to throw a fit over a stupid health care bill.

    No wonder nobody takes them seriously. As I’ve said before, whites (especially conservatives) need to pick and choose their battles better.

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