Constitutional interpretation can lead the unpracticed down surprising and even dark rhetorical alleyways. It happens at dinner tables and in barrooms all the time. It happened to controversial Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King today on Capitol Hill at a Rules Committee hearing on the GOP plan to repeal the healthcare reform law. He ended up telling Colorado Rep. Jared Polis that the law is unconstitutional because, for instance, it forces uninsured women who deliver babies in garbage cans to buy health insurance. Polis, aghast, searched for words. No one would have faulted him for saying “Well, yes, exactly!”
King was trying to make the argument that not all Americans are engaged in the commerce that is health care. Supporters of the reform law say healthcare — including medial treatment and the related insurance business and equipment manufacture and so on– crosses state lines in innumerable ways and so the Constitution gives the federal government power to regulate it.
As the Colorado Independent reported earlier this week, freshman Polis retained his seat on the powerful Rules Committee even though the seats allotted to Democrats shrunk dramatically as Republicans took over control of the House.