Broccoli and democracy

Is broccoli like health care? In an important way, yes.
In the legal arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Supreme Court justices demonstrated an unusual obsession with the fibrous green plant that, for some, passes as food.
The point of the conservative justices was this: If Congress can mandate that people buy health insurance, what keeps them from mandating the purchase of other items?
The answer is obvious, and it points to the reason that the unelected justices should be leery of overturning laws that do not target a minority.
First of all, if Obamacare had required the purchase of broccoli, it would not have passed Congress. That’s because no elected official wants to explain to constituents why he or she voted for such a mandate.
Second, even if our representatives were foolish enough to mandate broccoli, they could count on being voted out of office in the next election by candidates promising repeal. That’s a real threat even for those who voted for the insurance mandate.
Democracy works. Tyranny results not when elected representatives mandate broccoli, but when judges with lifetime appointments lose faith in the democratic process.


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Filed under Government regulation, Health care, Judiciary, Obamacare

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