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Obamacare Upheld — Should We Be Shocked?

In upholding the Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate as a function of Congress’s power to tax, all the Supreme Court has done is leave a political question to politics. The old-school Jeffersonian approach to limiting the power of government was not to hope that the Supreme Court would take a narrow view of constitutional powers — Jefferson didn’t try to get SCOTUS to strike down the Alien and Sedition Acts — but to turn to elections and the legislative process for relief. (Hence Jefferson and Madison’s state-level legislative Kentucky and Virginia resolution attempts and the eventual “Revolution of 1800” in that year’s federal elections.) If Republicans are serious about their opposition to the individual mandate, which I very much doubt, they can repeal it the next time they have enough legislative power. It will be interesting to watch, though, how many Republicans use this ruling as an excuse to drop their opposition to the mandate because now it’s “constitutional.”

about the author

Daniel McCarthy is editor at large of The American Conservative. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, The Spectator, The National Interest, Reason, Modern Age, and many other publications. Outside of journalism he has worked as internet communications coordinator for the Ron Paul 2008 presidential campaign and as senior editor of ISI Books. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied classics. Follow him on Twitter.

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