The Corner

Conservatives Should Love the Mandate?

I’m watching the Senate hearing on the constitutionality of Obamacare. As somebody who might have been a lawyer in another (far crueler) life, I find this stuff fascinating. I’ll post here and there where I find particular exchanges notable.

Here’s one. Walter Dellinger III, former solicitor general under Clinton, just told Senator Klobuchar (D., Minn.) that conservatives should favor the individual mandate because it represents a “market-based approach,” and it would be queer for conservatives to think such an approach unconstitutional while believing (as some, including Prof. Randy Barnett of Georgetown, also a witness, apparently do) that a “monolithic” government solution to the coverage problem — something like single-payer — is perfectly within the powers of Congress. Such thinking, Dellinger argues, should be “anathema” to conservatives.

Not really. Plenty of conservatives think the mandate is both unwise and unconstitutional (I’m one of them). All conservatives, I’d imagine, think single-payer is unwise, but I’m sure plenty of them think it’s also constitutional (I’m probably one of them, as well). I don’t see at all what one has to do with the other. This is a hearing about the constitutionality of Obamacare; we all know how the hearings about its wisdom went.


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