The best evidence that opposition to the mandate is entirely political, and not Constitutional
June 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Earlier this week I quoted extensively from an excellent Kevin Drum post that made the point that nobody ever actually questioned the Constitutionality of the mandate until after the ACA was passed. I decided yesterday to use the power of Lexis/Nexis to add some empirical evidence to that matter. Guess how many newspaper stories prior to passage on March 21, 2010 contained the words “Affordable Care Act” and “mandate” and “unconstitutional.” Occasional Constitutional issues were raised, but they were all about process. Take out “mandate” and there’s a decent handful of stories, but they all focus on the process of the passage, not the actual content of the law.
As for stories after that period, not suprisingly, we max out Nexis/Lexis at >3000. But that’s essentially all of them after the ACA was passed. Interesting that the Republicans didn’t seem to have any Constitutional concerns/qualms about something they now claim is an obviously Unconstitutional affront to American democracy. Even in the first couple months of newspaper stories (37, to be precise) after passage the arguments about the mandate never made the intellectually questionable activity/inactivity argument that came to be the heart of the conservative Constitutional case.
So, let’s just beat a dead horse, Republicans have surely convinced themselves now that this is Unconstitutional but doesn’t the fact that they basically never raised Constitutional objections to the individual mandate before the bill’s passage suggest that not even they genuinely questioned it’s Constitutionality. If the Supreme Court strikes this down it will truly be a sad day for American democracy.