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Insurance mandate is clear violation of the Constitution Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Mar. 01, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

The struggle over the national government’s mandated financing of “reproductive health services” has, up to now, been mostly carried out under the religious liberty clause in the Bill of Rights. This is a sound, but somewhat limited, defense.

It should be remembered that the Bill of Rights was an afterthought to the original Constitution, only consented to after it looked like the adoption of the new Constitution would meet strong opposition.

A tenet of Catholic social doctrine is the principle of subsidiarity. It seems wise to consider the implications of this tenet in the context of the American constitutional system.

The guiding principle in a federal system of government is the principle of delegated powers. The states existed  before the national government and delegated certain functions to their creature, the new national government.

As one reviews the Constitution, one does not find within its clauses any that suggests that the national government, much less the president, has authority to tell a private insurance company which services it must include in its policy offerings.

Since the 10th Amendment reserves to the states or to the people the powers not delegated to the United States, the insurance mandate is a clear violation of the Constitution. And, as a clear violation of the oath to defend the Constitution, its implementation seems to be adequate grounds for impeachment.

If the religious liberty and subsidiarity defenses are not enough, then it seems that the doctrine of nullification should be reinvigorated. As both Jefferson and Madison wrote, the national government, as the creation of the states, is not the final judge of its own powers. The states have a right to resist any unconstitutional use of national power. Nullification recognizes that there are four branches of American government: the states, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary.

On reflection, it becomes clear that all Americans have a stake in this insurance mandate issue as it has implications much further than that of paying for “reproductive health services.”

Florian Zalewski, Fond du Lac