Gimme My Rights!

Well, a lot of people are talking about Congressman Pete Stark’s (D-Arkham Asylum) answer when challenged about the constitutionality of ObamaCare — his answer is that the federal government essentially has no restraints, and can do whatever the hell it wants.

Plenty of others have dissected Stark’s admission of tyranny, so I’m going to look at the actual points the questioner raised — and that Ed Morrissey expanded upon.

If “health care” is a right, then those two worthies are absolutely correct — it trumps several parts of the Constitution.

“Health care” is a commodity — a good or service. As such, it requires a provider. A provider that lacks the right to refuse service, and is therefore a slave under the 13th Amendment. And, as Ed notes, it also violates the 5th Amendment ban on the confiscation of private property, as well as Article I, Section 8.

But let’s get past that. Let’s presume, for the sake of argument, that the liberals’ argument is valid — that a “right” that one cannot afford to exercise is no right whatsoever, and the government should intervene to guarantee “fair access” to those Constitutional rights, regardless of social, economic, or other circumstances. We’ve already heard it, when the subject of abortion comes up.

And let’s run with that — right through the whole Bill of Rights.

Oops, a slight problem — the Bill of Rights has two modes: “the people can” and “the federal government can’t.” So, in the interest of completion, I’ll be letting Congressman Stark address the latter rights.

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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.

Want to start a new religion? The government will subsidize you. If you want to speak out, the government will give you a megaphone and buy you a printing press. If you want to get a group together, the government will pick up the tab for your fliers, newsletters, and other publicity expenses. And if you’re ticked off at the government, they’ll pay for your lawyer.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I don’t own a gun (I never have), but I’ll be calling Senator Shaheen, as well as Congress Members Hodes and Shea-Porter, to get their assistance in obtaining a firearm.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

“Poppycock! The next time we consider defense cuts, let’s get rid of on-base housing. The troops can just shack up in the homes of generous, patriotic citizens who live nearby.”

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

“Says who? If the federal government believes it has reason to do any of those things, then who the hell are you to say no?”

No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

“Oh, hogwash! We are in the midst of a crisis, people! In fact, several crises! We’re making omelets here — we don’t have time to hear the whinings of some stupid eggs.”

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

“Well, that’s OK — unless the federal government has a really, really good reason to say no.”

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

“What is this gobbledygook? Twenty bucks? Get this outta here — we got bigger fish to fry!”

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

“That’s right. Any other rights the people might want or need, we’ll give ’em to them.”

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

“Oh, that’s just a load of crap. If the federal government wants to do something, then it just will. We’ll figure out how to justify it later — if we feel like it. And if you don’t like it, tough.”

The Stark silliness aside, I think I would like to explore this new, expansive definition of “rights.” It could be quite profitable.

So, who do I see about getting my gun?

What We Really Can't Afford Is This Kind Of Thinking