Is It Constitutional? Well, It's Dumb, but That's Not the Same Thing. All Right Then.

In keeping with her newly acquired conviction that Supreme Court nominees should never say anything that might indicate how they would perform on the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan yesterday gave a classic nonanswer to a question that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) posed about the Commerce Clause:

Coburn: If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that's now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?

Kagan: Sounds like a dumb law. But I think that the question of whether it's a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it's constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they're senseless.

There is nothing objectionable in Kagan's response, except that it does not address the question Coburn asked, which is less fanciful than it might seem. As I have argued, the constitutional logic needed to justify the individual health insurance mandate as an exercise of the federal government's authority to regulate interstate commerce is so elastic that it can be stretched to cover highly intrusive laws regulating what heretofore were considered private choices. But I suppose I am only reinforcing Kagan's excuse for stonewalling: Because the Court might one day consider a law along the lines of the one Coburn described, she cannot provide any "hints" as to how she might view its constitutionality. The only questions she can answer are ones that are utterly irrelevant to any case she might conceivably confront after she is confirmed.

The Atlantic has a roundup of reactions to the fruit-and-veggie exchange.

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  • ¢||

    "I’m sorry—the 'commerce clause' which is...?"

    "In the Constitution. Of the U.S.A."

    "Yes, well, I’ve seen the document."

  • Jordan||

    Sounds like a dumb law. But I think that the question of whether it's a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it's constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they're senseless.

    Sweet jebus. She's like the lovechild of Joe Biden and George W. Bush.

  • J||

    Perhaps worse. Biden and Bush give bad answers because they are in over their heads. She wants to say "No, I wouldn't strike it down," but knows she shouldn't, so she avoids an answer.

  • ||

    Exactly. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to say "well of course the government cannot mandate what you eat". Who could have complained about that? That she wouldn't come out and say that is really disturbing.

  • ||

    If she had said, "of course not," Coburn would have come back with a question about mandates to purchase health care.

  • ||

    Then maybe she ought to reconsider her view on that?

  • ||

    How she spose to get her skrimps then, huh nigga!

  • cynical||

    Then again, if a woman doesn't have the right to choose how many servings of vegetables she eats, she probably doesn't have the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

  • JEP||

    Yeah, it was pretty obvious where that line of questioning was going.

    I did that all the time in high school debate. Those dumb shits fell right into my trap every time.

    I got some kid to say that the U.S. government should support terrorism.

  • ||

    What, it is that hard to make a distinction between health insurance and mandatory eating habits? Sorry, but it wasn't much of a trap.

  • ||

    John excuse the threadjack, but please do not ever accuse me of not knowing football. Although you can certainly make a good argument about the list of backs you set forth as being better than Corey Dillon, consider this:

    1. Dillon was a difference maker on a championship team, something which can not be said of Gale Sayers, Thurman Thomas, Orenthal James Simpson, Earl Campbell, bary sanders and Eric Dickerson.

    2. Dillon broke JIM BROWN's record of rushing yards in a single game by a rookie. The record had stood for 40 years.

    3. Dillon set the single game rushing record with 278 in 2000. Yes, that record has since been eclipsed by Jamal Lewis and Andrian Peterson.

    4. Dillon is one of only a handful of backs to rush for 1,000 yards or more in each of their first six seasons.

    I would take Dillon over Earl Campbell over the course of their careers. If you are talking about Earl Campbell's 1978 rookie season, then I would take him over just about anybody.

    Further, as I said in the earlier thread, the Cincy fans were yelling "you suck" to Dillon along with some pretty nasty stuff.

  • ||

    Damn Mike. I got to respect you hunting me down. So okay.

    Being a difference maker on a championship team is overrated. The only reason he was was because he was lucky enough to go to New England. Had he not been traded or got hurt, he wouldn't have done that but still been the same player. Had Gayle Sayers gotten traded to the Packers, he would have been a difference maker on a championship team. And lots of really forgettable backs have been difference makers on championship teams. By that measure Timmy Smith or OJ Anderson would be hall of famers.

    So what about the one game? And that record has been broken twice since.

    And a thousand yards is not what it used to be. They play 16 games now. People like Sayers and Simpson did it in 12 and 14 game seasons. And yes he had a good first six years. But people like Thomas and Sanders and Payton did it eight or more consecutive years.

    And Cambell was dominant his first five years. I am not saying Dillion sucked. He was good. But no way is he an all time great.

  • Cyto||

    And Earl Campbell didn't have an offensive line either (kinda like Barry Sanders). He's the greatest back I ever saw - as evidence I'll hold up the famous NFL films clip where they show him beat all 11 defensive players on one run - including running right over one guy and stepping on him on the way to the end zone. Earl Campbell was a freak of nature and a living cartoon character.

  • ||

    Cyto, I think you are referring to the play against the then Los Angeles Rams when he ran over Isiah Robertson.

  • Cyto||

    Thanks libertymike! As further evidence of Campbell's cartoon character status, I'll hold up his 44 inch thighs. This was in the pre-steriod era. I am in reasonable shape for a guy my age, and I have a 44 inch chest. His thighs were each the same size as my chest. Good lord...

  • JEP||

    Right, I'm just saying that she didn't actual answer the question because it was obvious where his line of questioning was going.

    It's like trying to respond to "Hey John, do you still beat your wife?"

  • West Texas Boy||

    he wants to say "No, I wouldn't strike it down,"

    No, what she wants to say is, "depends on which colored team passed it, Senator"

    But she can't say that either.

  • Raw Sewage||

    That's "teams of color" you racist.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Actually, no: she's paraphrasing Potter Stewart's dissent from Griswold v. Connecticut.

  • ||

    The Senate can simply refuse to confirm any nominee who refuses to answer questions to its liking.

    Of course, the reality is that most of Congress probably thinks the commerce claus does allow them to regulate anything they want.

  • robc||

    The Senate can simply refuse to confirm any nominee who refuses to answer questions to its liking.

    I was thinking this earlier. Although they wont, the Rs and Ds need to get together and say "From now on, these nominees have to answer questions or they get zero votes".

  • Mike Laursen||

    But isn't the whole point of the confirmation hearings to give the Senators a chance to showboat on camera. The nominee hardly matters.

  • ||

    I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they're senseless.

    You don't find that objectionable?

  • ||

    Maybe Sullum meant "beyond the OBVIOUS objections"?

  • ||

    It's pretty well established that just being a dumbass law isn't enough for a judge to strike it down. It's the legislatures job to come up with wise laws, the judiciaries to ensure it follows the constitution. Many terrible, idiotic, and counterproductive laws are perfectly constitutional.

  • JEP||

    Technically, if you know enough to call a law "counter-productive" then in all likelihood it's going to restrict freedom - and could therefore be considered unconstitutional.

  • ||

    It's pretty well established that just being a dumbass law isn't enough for a judge to strike it down.

    Well, if its established...huh?

    It's the legislatures job to come up with wise laws

    Oooohhhh, ok. When can i expect that to happen?

  • Santa Claus||

    commerce claus

    You leave my little brother out of this. Only *I*I can beat up on him.

  • Steve Nash Equilibrium||

    But I think that the question of whether it's a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it's constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they're senseless.*

    *-Does not apply to 2nd amendment.

  • ||

    If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that's now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?

    i dunno about the commerce clause, but the general welfare wording might allow this no?

  • ||

    That's not funny.

  • J||

    I'm not sure he's joking.

  • West Texas Boy||

    He's not.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Pol Pot had nothin' on these fucks.

  • WTF||

    It's that good and proper clause that lets Congress do this stuff.

  • ||

    "but the general welfare wording might allow this no?"

    Only if you ignore the Bill of Rights.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "i dunno about the commerce clause, but the general welfare wording might allow this no?"

    No.

  • ||

    Yeah Tom. Maybe we could mandate who could and could not have an abortion under the general welfare clause while we are at it?

  • robc||

    James Madison says No. And he wrote the fucking thing.

  • Pedant||

    Specifically:

    [T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.

    If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.
  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Liberal interpretation of "general welfare":

    Whatever the fuck we WANT it to mean.

  • Yonemoto||

    Liberal interpretation of "no state shall use anything but gold and silver..."

    That's not in the constitution. Wait, it is?

  • ||

    "Fuck, yeah, Senator. I can say 'fuck', right?"

  • ||

    Fuckin A

  • ||

    "Uh, sure, but not on TV. Then we'll fine your ass. For the children, y'know."

  • ||

    Actually, I'd like to see the FCC try to fine Congress.

  • ||

    Perpetual Motion, baby!

  • Naga Sadow||

    I'm Secretary of State, brought to you by Carl's Jr

  • ||

    You remembered!

  • Naga Sadow||

    Remembered what? This sounds . . . familiar . . . like that french word. It's on the tip of my tongue but I can't remember what it's called. All . . . so . . . familiar.

  • ||

    The term you're looking for is screaux vu.

  • ||

    Anyway, one of the Top 100 Things I'd Do if I Ever Became a Libertarian President was to sell sponsorship opportunities:

    84. Sell sponsorship opportunities for events and federal locations--e.g., the "AT&T State of the Union"; "The Martha White House"; "United States of America, Brought to You by Coca-Cola".
  • Jack||

    Actually, he was referencing Idoicracy.

  • JD||

    Michael Tomasky of the Guardian says, "this is pretty much a classic argument about individual liberty vs. the common good that liberalism always loses in American culture but not necessarily in others. If everyone ate three servings of vegetables a day, we'd be living in an improved society. Heart attacks and obesity would reduce, health-care costs would go down by the order of billions of dollars, American farmers would be making more money and on and on and on and on. The benefits would be vast. But of course, to American conservatives, this would be fascism."

    Wow, it's like he's trying to be as stupid and inflammatory as possible. I doubt it crossed his pea-like brain that "liberty" and "liberal" share the same Latin root, or that that might have once meant something, and the casual assumption that of course being ordered what to eat by the government is not fascism is breathtaking. It's like a majestic, sweeping glacier of stupidity, with great fjords of subservience carved by aeons of ignorance and carelessness.

  • robc||

    Yeah, my first thought was "liberalism" supports individual liberty and fascism supports "the common good".

    Of course, see Orwell's 1940s comments on use of the word fascism.

  • JEP||

    You're not free unless you're free to do bad things as well as good things.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Clevon is lucky to be alive. He attempted to jump a jet ski from a lake into a swimming pool and impaled his crotch on an iron gate. But thanks to advances in stem cell research and the fine work of Doctors Krinsky and Altschuler, he should regain full reproductive function again.

  • Clevon||

    "Get your hands off my junk!!!"

  • J||

    Imagine how they would go about enforcing such a law. It makes me shudder.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'd like to see any force on earth try to get my three-year-old to eat vegetables three times a day.

  • x,y||

    Adds more logs to the liberal "only results matter" fire. People like you and me see coercion and object to it on principle: No, you cannot force me to eat three carrots a day, and no, you cannot force me to eat three cheeseburgers a day. Liberals, however, object only to the former. It's their worldview in a nutshell.

  • x,y||

    Latter, gah. Why do I bother?

  • Jeffersonian||

    But of course, to American conservatives, this would be fascism.

    Now why would anyone object to a nice enforcement officer coming around and checking on what you've had to eat the last few days, then issuing citations that result in fines and/or imprisonment if your meals haven't met state guidelines?

    Only right-wing extremists, natch.

  • marlok||

    "If everyone ate three servings of vegetables a day..."

    Why does he stop there? Why not make us run on a treadmill 5 miles a day? Why not force everyone who can walk to take the stairs?

    "The benefits would be vast" as long as you exclude the principles of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Sorry, Mr. Tomasky, but you are a fascist, and I certainly don't want to live in your society.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Coming soon to a Congress near you!

  • marlok||

    Yikes. I need to keep my mouth shut and stop providing ideas.

  • Raw Sewage||

    " If everyone ate three servings of vegetables a day, we'd be living in an improved society."

    Not if they ate them with a 2 pound side of lard.

  • J||

    My thought exactly. Many would run out and buy a deep-frier to cook them with. The state will have to inspect the veggies before they are eaten to insure they have been grilled or baked. I can't believe anyone thinks this is a good idea.

  • cynical||

    If everyone shoved every socialist technocrat they knew off out of the highest window nearby, we'd be an improved society. But that would be wrong... for now.

  • ||

  • kinnath||

    The nudity issue has come up in the past for Montpelier city officials surrounding the annual naked bike ride, which is allowed to happen in the city for the same reasons the pants-free pedestrian was allowed to saunter through the city Monday. Under the laws and ordinances, you can be nude outside but can't disrobe outside, said Martel.

    Got to love the law ;-)

  • Suki||

    I especially liked her long-winded "did you write this memo" non-answer.

  • ||

    I saw some of it at lunch. She is exceptionally craven and dishonest, even by Washington standards. Every time I think politics has produced its lowest form of life, it proves me wrong.

  • CatoTheElder||

    She's not just a lawyer, she's a "good" lawyer.

  • ||

    She's a zombie?!?!?

  • Contemplationist||

    Speaking of leftists and zombies..
    This is ROFL:

    Interview with a Zombie

  • CatoTheElder||

    There is nothing objectionable in Kagan's response

    Actually, the reponse is objectionable. By not addressing the constitutionality of such legislation, she allows that it would be merely "dumb", not unconstitutional. Kagan allows very few limits on the scope of the State. She acknowledges that the concept of "limited government" is not inherent to her interpretation of the Constitution.

  • shrike||

    The scummiest comment from the Kagan hearings came from elf-redneck idiot Jeff Sessions who insisted that the Constitution banned "cruel AND unusual punishment - and not just cruel punishment or unusual.

    So if 40 states permit drawing and quartering - well that is just spiffy and right by him!

    Those damn textualists left the "or" out!

  • ||

    atting Average
    All Time Leaders

    'Top 100'
    Name Batting Average Rank
    Ty Cobb .366 (.36636) 1
    Rogers Hornsby .358 (.35850) 2
    Joe Jackson .356 (.35575) 3
    Pete Browning .349 (.34892) 4
    Ed Delahanty .346 (.34590) 5
    Tris Speaker .345 (.34468) 6
    Ted Williams .344 (.34441) 7
    Billy Hamilton .344 (.34429) 8
    Dan Brouthers .342 (.34212) 9
    Babe Ruth .342 (.34206) 10
    Harry Heilmann .342 (.34159) 11
    Willie Keeler .341 (.34129) 12
    Bill Terry .341 (.34116) 13
    George Sisler .340 (.34015) 14
    Lou Gehrig .340 (.34008) 15
    Jesse Burkett .338 (.33844) 16
    Tony Gwynn .338 (.33818) 17
    Nap Lajoie .338 (.33810) 18
    Riggs Stephenson .336 (.33607) 19
    Al Simmons .334 (.33417) 20
    Albert Pujols .334 (.33366) 21
    John McGraw .334 (.33359) 22
    Tip O'Neill .334 (.33357) 23
    Paul Waner .333 (.33323) 24
    Eddie Collins .333 (.33320) 25
    Ichiro Suzuki .333 (.33284) 26
    Mike Donlin .333 (.33264) 27
    Stan Musial .331 (.33084) 28
    Sam Thompson .331 (.33072) 29
    Heinie Manush .330 (.32976) 30
    Cap Anson .329 (.32908) 31
    Todd Helton .328 (.32800) 32
    Wade Boggs .328 (.32789) 33
    Rod Carew .328 (.32775) 34
    Honus Wagner .327 (.32742) 35
    Bob Fothergill .325 (.32548) 36
    Jimmie Foxx .325 (.32530) 37
    Earle Combs .325 (.32475) 38
    Joe DiMaggio .325 (.32459) 39

    Boy that DiMaggio fella could sure hit.

  • shrike||

    Fuck you, asshole.

    Sessions defended cruel punishment from an "originalist" perspective.

  • ||

    What you don't like Joe Dimaggio? You got something against Italians or something?

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm still a Pujols guy.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    hehe he said poo-hole.

  • shrike||

    I have nothing better to do than nitpick.

  • ||

    In 1976, I pumped gas into Rod Carew's white Lincoln Mark VII convertable. I also checked the oil, washed his windows and added a little distilled water to his battery. The previous night, he hit 3 hits on 4 at-bats.

    What a fucking honor.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I don't know about you, but I think locking a guy up in a cage is cruel. Heck, I think forcing a guy to visit a probation officer once a week is cruel. (If you disagree, you have never been on probation or known a probation officer.) But they are not unusual punishments. That's why it reads "and", not "or".

    Forty states are not going to agree on drawing and quartering Osama bin Laden, much less a garden variety criminal.

  • shrike||

    Very clever.

    Lower the bar on "cruelty" so that we all allow for it because we don't want to feel the least of it.

    Then smear the "unusual" part with a Bin Laden reference.

    You are far more skilled than 'John' but no less wrong.

  • ||

    You are just saying that I don't like Italians.

  • Cyto||

    Actually, I was surprised to learn what didn't count as "cruel and unusual" early in our history. When Google put the Life archives online, there were images of prisoners hanging by their thumbs. How the heck anyone thought of that as less than "cruel and unusual" is beyond me, but there ya go...

  • ||

    Well at least that's not torture, according to Bush, Cheney, et al.

  • shrike||

    I am SUCH a cunt.

  • marlok||

    I don't get why the "unusual" part is even listed. Why not just "cruel" punishment?

    Are there crimes deemed "unusual" but not "cruel" that are forbidden? Something like making a prisoner sort someone's baseball card collection?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Shrike continues his war on logic.

  • cynical||

    If 40 states permit drawing and quartering, SCOTUS is probably going to side with the masses regardless of their opinion of constitutionality (not to mention 80% of them will be from societies that consider drawing and quartering to be acceptable).

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    In shrikeWorld, telling prisoners "your mama's SOOO fat..." jokes would be considered cruel and unusual... and probably racist.

  • CatoTheElder||

    If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that's now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?

    Actually, it's a pretty stupid question. Why would such legislation violate the Commerce Clause? The question should have been whether the Commerce Clause empowers the Congress to enact such legislation.

    Such legislation may violate the necessary and proper clause, since it is arguable whether it is proper for the State to dictate its citizens' diet.

    Prescription of citizens' diet is not a clearly enumerated power, so such legislation would clearly violate the original intent and clear language of the 9th and 10th Amendments.

    But the 9th and 10th Ammendments are probably dead letters in Kagan's interpretation of the Constitution. However, it would have been profitable to ask her whether such legislation is violative of the 9th and 10th Amendments rather than the Commerce Clause to determine whether this is the case.

    Maybe Coburn's question was not stupid. Maybe is was posed for its political appeal to voters while intentionally avoiding the real constitutional objections.

  • West Texas Boy||

    Correct. It wasn't stupid at all and is the whole reason why Congress puts the "interstate commerce" justification into the text of laws in the first place. Going down the 10th Amendment road draws a distinct line around Congressional power, and, as a Senator, even as a "good" Senator, he'd much rather leave the line fuzzy and just nibble at the edges.

    Asking about the Commerce Clause achieves that and leaves the line nice and fuzzy while looking like a hardass in front of his admirers.

  • ||

    Did anyone check out Michael Tomasky's response at the Guardian?

    "this is pretty much a classic argument about individual liberty vs. the common good that liberalism always loses in American culture but not necessarily in others. If everyone ate three servings of vegetables a day, we'd be living in an improved society. Heart attacks and obesity would reduce, health-care costs would go down by the order of billions of dollars, American farmers would be making more money and on and on and on and on. The benefits would be vast. But of course, to American conservatives, this would be fascism."

    Jesus H. Fucking Christ. Yes, it would be facism.

    I'm actually a little aghast to hear a liberal-leftist so casually support the idea of forcing everyone to eat three servings of vegetables a day.

    This is seriously how far overboard they've gone? Seriously?

  • ||

    Hazel you must not pay much attention to the European Left. Yes, they are that far overboard. As someone once said "the dark night of fascism is always falling on America but somehow landing on Europe".

  • ||

    Seriously. This is the birth of the American form of fascism. Kinder, gentler, and just as willing to use force to make you comply. This open talk of the value of authoritarianism and socialism is sickening and, frankly, stupid.

  • ||

    But of course, to American conservatives, this would be fascism.

    And they'd be correct.

  • ||

    Quit spoofing me!

    American conservatives are never correct!

  • ||

    How many generations of imbeciles are enough?

  • Rich||

    In these banters why is it we never see something like:

    "With all due respect, would you *please* ... Answer. My. Fucking. Question?"

  • ||

    Wasn't there something about "enumerated powers" in the Constitution? Is it too much to believe a stupid law which relies on an unenumerated power would be unconstitutional>

    Maybe I'm crazy...

  • Cyto||

    Whoa - enumerated powers? That's crazy talk! No, we haven't had enumerated powers around here in ... oh, nigh on 60 years...

  • Tony||

    Coburn gave a long paranoid Beckian speech about how we are so much less free than 30 years ago. He's one of the few Republicans in the Senate who I think genuinely means well, but is just dumb as a bag of shit.

    Sen. Klobuchar nicely smacked down his lament for his lost freedoms by noting how many women were in the senate, or on the judiciary committee, or on the supreme court, 30 years ago. It's in the eye of the beholder--and older white conservative males sound positively ludicrous when they are crying about their precious lost freedom.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Because that's the best measure of freedom, the number of people with vaginas passing and judging society-suffocating legislation. I feel better already knowing that boot on my face will have a stylish heel on it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Sen. Klobuchar nicely smacked down his lament for his lost freedoms by noting how many women were in the senate, or on the judiciary committee, or on the supreme court, 30 years ago.

    "Never mind the assaults on our civil liberties and our property - by golly, we have women in the SCOTUS! So shut the fuck up!"

    Tony-logic at work, folks.

  • Tony||

    Which assaults would those be? Seems to me the biggest threat to liberty in the world to some is having Democrats elected to the majority in Congress and the presidency. If you're a torture supporter forgive me if I don't take your word on what freedoms we've lost.

  • ||

    "biggest threat to liberty in the world....is having Democrats elected to the majority in Congress and the presidency"

    Well, not the biggest, but still....

  • Jeffersonian||

    Seems to me the biggest threat to liberty in the world to some is having Democrats elected to the majority in Congress and the presidency.

    A green blade of lucidity breaks through the vast concrete expanse of Tony's consciousness.

  • Jordan||

    The PATRIOT Act was passed overwhelmingly by both parties and was renewed by a Democratic congress.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Which assaults [on our civil liberties] would those be?

    Legal Tender Law
    Prescription Drug Laws
    Drug Prohibition
    Obamacare
    Inflationary monetary policies (which means stealing your wealth surreptitiously)

    Want more? There's a-plenty.

  • Jeffersonian||

    PJ O'Rourke (himself an older white guy, and thus safely ignored) said the difference was that democracy is a system where you get to vote for whom you want, whereas freedom is a system where you get to do what you want.

    For cretins like Tony, who bray about "privacy" are busily dismantling any and all barriers between private life and the State (and I use that in the Nockian sense).

  • Tony||

    How are you restricted from doing what you want now in a way that you weren't in 1980? Specifics would be nice.

    Also consider the same question posed to the other half of the population who are women.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm no longer in charge of my health insurance decisions. I'm muzzled as to when I can speak through the media about candidates for political office. I can't buy certain cold remedies without getting into a federal database.

    For starters.

  • Jeffersonian||

    And God help me if I'm a business owner.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I didn't have to go through a police state to travel by air from one city to another in the US. Hell, I remember just 15 years ago when I used a co-worker's ticket to travel on business after his kid was hospitalized at the last minute. It was simple; nobody asked for ID back then. Now every airport exhibits every single attribute of a police state.

    I don't recall so much SWAT police activity, lawful murder and imprisonment of offbeat cult members, and bogus drug busts.

    The drinking age was 18. I was going to write "instead of a puritanical 21", but that would be unfair to Puritans (the nannystaters are worse.)

    I could smoke in a restaurant or a bar if its owner permitted smoking.

    I could purchase property without concern that the EPA or the Corps of Engineers would later arbitrarily declare that I could not improve it.

    Back when I was kid, I had a really cool chemistry set that contained all sorts of substances that are now regulated. Today's kids will never experience the joy that comes from making their own black powder and ammonium tri-iodide.

  • Tony||

    Cato,

    I'm so with you. So let's elect liberals to office who will do away with all the puritanical and police state bullshit while preserving our social services... that sounds like a recipe for freedom to me.

  • WTF||

    Tony, you're so full of shit. Show me where ANY liberals did away with ANY "police state bullshit" after being elected to office.

  • marlok||

    Are you eating your vegetables, Tony?

    Maybe when the commerce clause is used to restrict the crops in your victory garden, you'll begin to understand his point.

  • Tony||

    I would no sooner vote for a representative vowing to restrict my eating choices than I would one who wants to restrict a woman's right to an abortion. I don't see Sen. Coburn whining about that, and I don't see where in the constitution that right is deemed okay to restrict.

  • Jeffersonian||

    But what if that representative was the one promising a cornucopia of port-side goodies like single-payer healthcare, paid medical leave and an expanded welfare state?

  • Tony||

    Those are all great and worthy increases in individual freedom, so it would depend on who the challenger was.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Let's say the challenger is Tom Coburn, and he vows to oppose the federal veggie police.

  • marlok||

    "paid medical leave" is a "great and worthy increase in individual freedom".

    Hey Tony, why don't you pay for my month-long increase in individual freedom from work? My back's been aching lately.

  • Jeffersonian||

    It's only an expansion of individual freedom for the Left if it's paid for by someone they've demonized for a while.

  • Tony||

    So you think getting fired for the crime of having a medical problem represents more individual freedom than having guaranteed paid medical leave?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Tom Coburn....so you'd vote for Mr. Anti-Veggie?

  • Tony||

    Yes, because the veggie law is, as AG Kagan rightly said, a stupid law that no majority in Congress would ever go for. Can't say the same for abortion, and Coburn is an idiot theocrat.

  • Jeffersonian||

    So you'd vote for an anti-choice theocrat to avoid having the Federal Food Police checking up on you?

  • cynical||

    I'm making a note of this comment so when they pass a veggie law next year I can mock you forever.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Are business owners individuals, Tony?

  • Tony||

    Yes, business owners are individuals, and like all individuals who live among others, they should sacrifice some small liberties (say, the liberty to fire someone for having a medical issue) in order that everyone has a more important freedom (say, that of being able to keep your job in the event of a medical issue).

    Why do you only consider employers to be worthy of individual freedom?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Because the job was created by the employer and belongs to him?

    What about Tom Coburn? Voting for him?

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm calling you a liar, Tony.

  • marlok||

    You didn't answer my question. Put your money where your liberalism spouts. Fund my vacation, because I don't feel good.

    Freedom = absence of restrictions on personal endeavors. You're defining it as being free from concerns, like getting fired. You're quantifying freedom by how many entitlements your neighbor pays for. This is the wrong metric.

  • Tony||

    Fund my vacation, because I don't feel good.

    No. How about your employer pays for your legitimate health-related time off, and our government makes them do it? Sounds good to me.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'm sure it does. Until, of course, the employer decides it's too expensive to have him around and lays him off to reduce his exposure to uncompensated costs. Who wins then?

    Remember, too, that this arrangement also tramples an employee's right to bargain with his employer for the type and amount of compensation he'll accept in return for services.

    I do think you should pay instead of the employer. After all, aren't you the one saying what a wonderful, liberty-expanding thing this is? Why shouldn't those demanding it also pay for it?

  • Tony||

    Most people aren't employers, most people are workers, so given an informed choice on the matter, good old democracy should take care of getting it paid for.

  • Jeffersonian||

    That's nothing more than three foxes and a chicken voting on what to have for dinner. Pure plunder.

    No wonder companies are moving offshore.

  • Tony||

    And by "workers", I mean the "owning the means of production" type.

  • marlok||

    As has been pointed on these message boards an awful lot of times, abortion is an issue outside of libertarian bounds because it hinges on your definition of fetal life. If you believe that a fetus with a beating heart and a nervous system is a life, then inflicting harm is therefor wrong just as inflicting harm on another person is wrong. If one doesn't believe that a fetus, completely dependent on the mother, is a life, then ending it's existence is not a crime.
    How many more times does this have to be pointed out?

  • Tony||

    That's a question that can't be answered by science, so it can only be answered by law. Law has never said that a fetus is a person, and still doesn't.

  • Niggers and Juden||

    We've seen this film before.

  • Tony||

    Furthermore, no fetus has ever considered itself a person, so inapt comparison.

  • Eric||

    I highly doubt that most, if any, children from 6 months - 2 years of age could conceptualize, much less articulate, a defense of their own lives from the perspective of personhood. For crying out loud, our entire legal system vis a vis those under 18 is that they are not the equivalent of adults, but that they are still persons entitled to some rights.

    Idiot.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Never? What about those states where abortion was illegal in 1973?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    That's a question that can't be answered by science, so it can only be answered by law. Law has never said that a fetus is a person, and still doesn't.

    You were once a fetus.

  • Tony||

    You weren't?

  • WTF||

    Intellectually, he apparently still is.

  • Tony||

    I don't know why I give a shit about abortion, because a) I can't have one and b) I'll never make a kid. But here I am, pretending to care, because it keeps me in good with the correct people.

  • Tony||

    In other words... white people suck.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    If everyone ate three servings of vegetables a day, we'd be living in an improved society. Heart attacks and obesity would reduce, health-care costs would go down by the order of billions of dollars, American farmers would be making more money and on and on and on and on. The benefits would be vast. But of course, to American conservatives, this would be fascism.

    Ironic, isn't it Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you.

  • shrike||

    I love Monty Burns too yet I would never vote for that fascist asshole.

    The polluted, deformed fish Marge asked him to eat on teevee?

    Priceless.

  • shrike||

    And, to me, EVERY businessman is as corrupt and evil as Monty Burns, the fictional character on a cartoon show.

  • jtuf||

    This morning, the radio played a taped section of the hearings. The congress rep asked Kagan where she was last Christmass. Kagan replied that she cannot answer questions that might appear before the court.

  • Sean Healy||

    Um, no she didn't. She said she was at a Chinese restaurant, like most Jews.

  • ||

    Kagan has no experience as a judge.

    That's why she's unqualified to be on the Supreme Court.

    The same goes for the nominees who had no judicial experience.

    She also worked for Goldman-Sachs but won't explain what she did or how much she got paid.

    That's important considering cases against Goldman-Sachs may be heard before the court.

  • Tony||

    She got $10,000.

    It simply can't be true that not being a judge is enough to disqualify a person for the supreme court, otherwise 41 past justices, including John Marshall, Earl Warren, Louis Brandeis, and William Rehnquist, would be considered unqualified.

  • CE||

    First they came for the cigarettes, but I wasn't a smoker...

    Then they came for the salt...

    Now they're forcing me to eat veggies? Screw them.

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