Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Other Constitutional Expert from Illinois

We're all familiar with the constitutional sage, former law professor, and current president from the law-abiding State of Illinois. But we must never forget that the former state attorney general and current junior Senator from Illinois is also a constitutional genius. Both subscribe to the "living Constitution," and both have occasional flights of fancy that fill in words that the Founding Fathers apparently simply neglected to write into the venerable document.

Recently, Senator Roland Burris (D-Friends of Barack) explained to those of us who don't properly understand the Constitution that Obamacare (as set forth in Pelosicare) is specifically authorized by the Constitution.

Naturally, having no knowledge of the Constitution myself, I am listening very carefully to Burris's explications. They are indeed both fascinating and creative. When queried by a reporter about which specific provision of the Constitution permits or authorizes the federal government to mandate that every American purchase health insurance, the lofty lawyer from the land of Lincoln replied: "It's the Section which authorizes the government to provide for the health, welfare and the defense of the country." Well, that explains it. All the legal treatises I have lying around the house, along with my Cato Institute handy pocket-size version have churlishly failed to print that portion of the Constitution.

Now I'm just a hick lawyer from California who has never been elected either attorney general of my state, or Senator from it, so I was sure that Burris must be right. But the reporter was unrelenting. Exasperated with the reporter's ignorance, Burris carefully explained: "Well, that's under the laws of the--protect the health, welfare of the country. That's under the Constitution. We're not even dealing with any constitutionality here. Should we move in that direction? What does the Constitution say? To provide for the health, welfare and the defense of the country." Well said, Senator. I assume you and legal scholar Obama studied law under the same professors.

Burris's communications director later told the reporter that although the word "health" does not appear anywhere in the Constitution, the senator was referring to the Preamble of the Constitution (which also doesn't include the word "health"). "The Senator's comment indicates his belief that the term 'general welfare' can be interpreted to include the health and well-being of American citizens, and health care in general." At this point, the reporter and I are both beginning to scratch our heads.

Later, Burris was pressed further by the reporter on the same issue. "Do you support Congress mandating the public, the American public to get health insurance?" Wide-eyed at the revelation contained within the question, Burris replied: "The Congress mandating the public to get health insurance?" The reporter kindly suggested that the senator read the Baucus Bill and then to notice that both the Senate and House versions have exactly such a mandate.

Burris then replied with: "We're dealing with those persons who are either not able to get employment--insurance through their employer--or who can't get insurance through, or if they're small business, they can get insurance through their small business through an option arrangement. But there wouldn't be any type of a--well, in terms of a requirement for individuals, we're hoping that everyone within--will receive insurance." Now that you've made that crystal clear, could you explain the difference between "provide for" and "mandate?"

Always the spoilsport, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) later said "I think there's a real constitutional issue there. You know, the illustration they give all the time is: Well, states require people to buy auto insurance. If they want to drive. But here would be the first time where our federal government would demand that people buy something that they may or may not want." Maybe the federal government could simply mandate that nobody without insurance is allowed to get sick.

Not to be treated so cavalierly by a fellow senator, Burris said in response: "Under state law, we have everyone required to have automobile insurance. Now, think about that. And so, under this here we're providing in the legislation where everyone would be able to acquire health insurance. If they don't get it, that would--certainly they're trying to provide some type of a provision for them in case they're sick so that they will be covered and they won't be a burden on the system. So, that's the same thing proportionally to automobile insurance. I mean, it's comparable."

So, that means that states requiring automobile insurance for everyone who owns a car, or drives one is the same as requiring everyone who exists to buy health insurance whether they want to or not, and whether they are using health care services or not, or are using health care services and paying for it out of their own pockets. Now I get it. Take that, Senator Hatch!

12 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Interesting post, Hawk. If nothing else, Burris is creative. He would almost be kind of cuddly if he weren't so dishonest and, for want of a better term, stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

Wow, idiots. They usually come up with something lame but plausible. But this "explanation" doesn't even do that! This seems to lie on a magical catchall that no one knew about until today.

If he was the State's Attorney General, I'm starting to see why Illinois is so crime ridden.

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: Agreed. And "stupid" is perfectly apt.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Do you know if they have a state bar exam in Illinois? If so is it given in writing, or in pictures? Given the current crop of "lawyers" from Illinois, I have my doubts about either. LOL (and by the way, my family left Chicago when I was a mere slip of a child, so I don't count myself as being from Illinois).

I'm used to leftist lawyers justifying tossing the Constitution in the fire, but most of the ones I've dealt with are articulate in their horse manure. Burris sounds like a character out of a comedy routine parodying pixilated politicians.

BevfromNYC said...

Not to repeat, but this guy was a State Attorney General?? It makes me feel better about Elliot Spitzer. At least he wasn't Burris.

That health thing must be in the same clause with that freedom of expression I keep hearing about, but have never actually read in the Constitution.

LL said...

I'm positive that Burris took his Bar exam in Chicago where a few C-notes (Benjamins) and a bottle of good Scotch means you don't have to do more than sign your name to assure yourself of a good score.

If the dead can rise and vote, what's to keep Burris from passing the Bar?

StanH said...

I can see Barry and Burris collaborating with Rev. Wright, Jesse Jackson, you know the Illinois posse on who can look the dumbest in public. It blows my mind to think that we have allowed this ilk to get anywhere near the reins of power in this country, just wow! Hopefully it will be instructive in future elections on what not to do, and the next time a Chicago thug comes forward and wants to be president, America will just point and laugh.

Writer X said...

I'm dumbfounded, too. I didn't know this guy was an attorney. Did he get his degree online?

I'm glad you wrote about this LawHawk because I've been hearing a lot of snippets betweeen reporters and politicians (Pelosi, Hoyer, that a** in Florida with the flipchart stating that Republicans wanted everyone to die). I wish the reporters would press this issue harder. The fact that it's now so late in the game is probably another story.

As an aside, it was nauseating this morning to listen to the bloviating at Capitol Hill concerning the Healthcare Bill. As usual, the Democrats couldn't stop congratulating themselves and Obama stopped off before he hit the links. Another day in bizarro-land.

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: Yep. This monument to clear thinking, legal analysis, and coherent verbal argument was indeed the Attorney General of the State of Illinois.

The health clause of the Constitution comes right after the wall of separation between church and state clause.

LawHawkSF said...

LL: It had to be something like that. This guy couldn't pass a legitimate high school proficiency test.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: Let's hope you're right. I'm convinced it will never happen in Illinois. The Republicans are as crooked as the Democrats. They've been vying with each other for years for who can rack up the most criminal indictments.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: The reporters probably know the Constitution better than Burris. The problem there is that the reporters for the mainstream are better liars.

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