Why Congress May Lawfully Require Citizens to Buy Guns & Ammunition, But Not To Submit To Obamacare
Harvard Law School was embarrassed recently when one of its graduates, the putative President of the United States, demonstrated that he was unaware that the supreme Court has constitutional authority to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional.1
And after reading a recent paper by Harvard law professor Einer Elhauge, one wonders whether the academic standards (or is it the moral standards?) of that once great school have collapsed.
Professor Elhauge says in “If Health Insurance Mandates Are Unconstitutional, Why Did the Founding Fathers Back Them?” (The New Republic, April 13, 2012), that Congress may force us to buy health insurance because in 1792, our Framers required all male citizens to buy guns; and in 1798 required ship owners using U.S. ports (dock-Yards) to pay a fee to the federal government in order to fund hospitals for sick or disabled seamen at the U.S. ports.
Oh! What tangled webs are woven when law professors write about Our Constitution!
I have already proved that Art. I, Sec. 8, next to last clause (which grants to Congress “excusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” over dock-Yards and the other federal enclaves) is what authorizes Congress to assess the fee from ship owners who use the federal dock-yards. See: Merchant Seamen in 1798, Health Care on Federal Enclaves, and Really Silly Journalists.
Now I will show you where the Constitution grants authority to Congress to require adult citizens to get armed!
The Constitution Authorizes Congress To Require Citizens to Buy Guns and Ammunition.
In 1792, Congress passed “An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defense by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States”.2 This Act required all able-bodied male citizens (except for federal officers and employees) between the ages of 18 and under 45 to enroll in their State Militia, get a gun and ammunition, and train.
Does Congress have authority in the Constitution to require this? Yes! Article I, Sec. 8, clause 16 says Congress has the Power:
“To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;” [boldface mine]
That is what authorizes Congress to require adult male citizens to buy guns and ammunition.
As Section 1 of the Militia Act of 1792 reflects, the “Militia” is the citizenry! Our Framers thought it such a fine idea that The People be armed, that they required it by law! See, e.g., the second half of Federalist Paper No. 46 where James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, speaks of how wonderful it is that the American People are armed – and why they need to be. 3
So! In the case of Congress’ requiring adult citizens to buy guns and ammunition, Congress has specific authority under Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.16.
In the case of Congress’ requiring ship owners who use the federal dock-Yards to pay the fees to fund the marine hospitals at the dock-Yards, Congress is granted by Art. I, Sec.8, next to last clause, a general legislative power over the federal enclaves, such as dock-Yards.4
But for the country at large, Congress has no broad grant of legislative powers. There, Congress’ powers are few, limited, and strictly defined. See: Congress’ Enumerated Powers.
Now, let us look at Obamacare.
What Clause in The Constitution Authorizes Congress to Force Us into Obamacare?
Nothing! Over the Country at large (as opposed to the federal enclaves), Congress has only enumerated powers. These enumerated powers are listed in Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 1-16 and in the Amendments addressing civil and voting rights. No enumerated power authorizes the federal government to force us into Obamacare.
So, Professor Elhauge introduces a nasty bit of poison. He says:
“Nevermind that nothing in the text or history of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause indicates that Congress cannot mandate commercial purchases.”
Do you see what he is doing? Surely he knows that Obamacare is not authorized by any enumerated power. So! He asserts that nothing in the commerce clause says Congress can’t force us into Obamacare. He thus seeks to pervert Our Constitution from one of enumerated powers only, to an abomination which says the federal government can do whatever it pleases as long as the commerce clause doesn’t forbid it.
Furthermore, what he says is demonstrably false. The Federalist Papers & Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention show that the purpose of the interstate commerce clause is to prevent the States from imposing tolls & tariffs on articles of merchandize as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling. For actual quotes from Our Framers and irrefutable Proof that this is the purpose of the interstate commerce clause, see: “Does the Interstate Commerce Clause Authorize Congress to Force Us to Buy Health Insurance?”.
Obamacare is unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers granted to Congress by Our Constitution. And it does much more than force us to buy medical insurance. Obamacare turns medical care over to the federal government to control. Bureaucrats in the Department of Health and Human Services will decide who gets medical treatment and what treatment they will get; and who will be denied medical treatment. If you think the federal government is doing a great job feeling up old ladies and little children at airports, wait until they are deciding whether you get medical care or “the painkiller”.
Folks! The Time has come that we must recognize that Social Security and Medicare are also unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers granted to Congress by Our Constitution. We must confess that it is wicked to seek to live at other peoples’ expense! And when a People renounce Personal Responsibility – as we did when we embraced Social Security & Medicare – the federal government takes control.
Social Security and Medicare are fiscally bankrupt. Obamacare, which will prevent old people from getting medical care, is the progressives’ way of dealing with the unfunded liabilities in these programs: Kill off old people by preventing them from getting medical care!
The Piper will be paid. Shall we pay him by killing off old people?
Or, shall we return to Personal Responsibility and dismantle (in an orderly fashion) the wicked, unconstitutional, and fiscally unworkable Social Security and Medicare programs?
1 Our Framers gave us an elegant system of Checks & Balances: Each branch of the federal government has a “check” on the other two branches. This is expressed primarily in the Oath of Office (Art. VI, cl. 3 & Art. II, Sec. 1, last clause) which requires each branch to obey the Constitution and not the other branches! The supreme Court’s check on Congress is to declare their Acts unconstitutional: See (in addition to the Oath) Art. III, Sec. 2, cl. 1; Federalist No. 78 (8th -15th paras); and Marbury v. Madison (1803).
Congress’ check on the judicial branch is to impeach and remove federal judges who usurp power (Federalist No. 81, 8th para).
2 Here is the URL for the Militia Act of 1792: Read it! And note how short it is. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=394
3 In “The Patriot”, Mel Gibson’s character commanded a South Carolina Militia – civilians who took up arms against the British. Everyone knew that “the Militia” was the armed citizenry – farmers, trappers, shopkeepers, clergy, etc. It still is.
4 Attorney Hal Rounds provides fascinating additional information on this issue: “Ships will dump sick sailors wherever they may make landfall, and the locals have the burden of dealing with the victim. Their care then raises the legal right to compensation for their services, which the law of nations allows to be levied against the nation, not just the owners, of the ship.” For Mr. Round’s full comment see the Postscript of April 7, 2012 here. PH
This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.
Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.
- Merchant Seaman In 1798, Health Care On Federal Enclaves, And Really Silly Journalists
- A Progressive Perverts the Commerce Clause; but O’Reilly Gets it Right!
- The Myth About Defense Spending
- Mike Rounds Lies about ObamaCare
- The ‘Taxing Clause’, Five Lawless Judges, and ObamaCare
Subscribe by Email
Sign up to receive the daily American Clarion article digest, with links to articles.
Like us on Facebook
Other Social Media
- Twitter FeedAmerican Clarion Twitter feed
- AC on Google+American Clarion on Google+
- AC RSS FeedAmerican Clarion RSS feed, for your feed reader and/or email subscription
- Email UsEmail American Clarion
- AC on YouTubeAmerican Clarion videos on YouTube
- American Clarion - TumblrAmerican Clarion on Tumblr
Recent American Clarion Articles
- The ‘Magnificent Nine’ Provide a Litmus Test for all the 2016 Presidential Candidates
Only a few Republican presidential candidates have stated they will support an amendment to protect marriage from the tyrants in the Supreme Court. Only one of those has already proposed an amendment: Senator Ted
- Fewer traditional values means more government
It should be clear that the real thought leaders of America are in Hollywood, and that our Supreme Court, save three conservatives, is just a ship that rides the wave of public
- Are Homosexual Unions Valid?
We must understand the Supreme Court is not a law-making body like Congress; they are referees who apply the rules, the law. Just as a referee’s opinion of the rules in a game has no bearing on the rules themselves, so the opinion of 5 Justices on marriage has no bearing on the legal definition
- SOS: Speaking of Seniors – A Pattern of Fraud?
Last week, I noticed a pattern with one significant medical service provider in northwest Indiana and the medical billing firm in Indianapolis that it used. It did not seem like a “mistake” pattern but a “fraud” pattern. Here are some
- Offending Christians OK, Muslims Not So Much
In Germany, a school is warning parents to guard the dress of their daughters to avoid offending nearby
- Faith in Action
In the face of withering evil, the families of Dylann Roof's victims offered forgiveness. To the man whose goal was to elicit violence, they offered a peace that passes all
- What is the Fourth of July All About?
The Fourth of July is a very special day for America. But why is it such a special day? Many of us have forgotten why the Fourth of July is so special. In fact, many Americans do not even know what the Fourth of July really
- Bob Ellis: Very Orwellian! …
- Morry: We all know that everything you've said is false because, sadly, it's all too true. …
- franklinb23: So would you consider Tim Cook (the CEO of Apple) or Ellen Degeneres to be highly dysfunctional and mentally ill ……
- Peter: Superb! …
- DCM7: Important points that are often overlooked in the discussion: (1) Yes, the ability to produce children, and to provide them with ……
- DCM7: "It's like people who vote for abortion merely because they find some pro-life activists obnoxious." People who oppose the legitimization of ……
- DCM7: "a minuscule portion of society which would have suffered NO catastrophic harm were they to be denied" Boy, is THAT a ……
- Thisoldspouse: Yes, the "sexual revolution" is one root with many branches, homosexuality being just one. It's no surprise that the ……
- Thisoldspouse: One critical principle that this Court completely ignored is that of Judicial Restraint. That they could completely throw out ……
- franklinb23: TOS: Not every action in life has to be motivated by a desire to extend a middle finger to the ……