The "mental activity" standard for what the Federal Government can regulate

From John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary.

Two federal judges have ruled that Congress cannot, under the Commerce Clause, demand that citizens buy a consumer product from a private company. But another, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, has just joined two other federal judges in upholding ObamaCare. Her logic in doing so is, shall we say, creative.
According to Judge Kessler, Congress has the power not only to regulate "economic activity" but also "mental activity." "It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not 'acting,' especially given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every individual of that choice," she wrote. "Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality."
This is breathtaking legal reasoning: Anyone's thoughts are actually actions that can be dictated by the federal government. "By the same reasoning, I am engaged in the mental economic activity of not buying a GM car, so surely that activity can be regulated by forcing me to buy one," says legal analyst Aaron Worthing. "To be blunt, I think this 'mental activity' argument is so specious it harms her case." . . .

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Blogger Chas said...

"Anyone's thoughts are actually actions that can be dictated by the federal government."

Markie Marxist sez: "Sounds like common communist sense to me. Orwell documented the idea with his 'thought police'. We Marxists take it for granted that we can police people's thoughts. That's why we have purges. Anyone who isn't politically correct in their thoughts goes to the gulag. It‘s just common communist sense."

2/24/2011 3:43 PM  
Blogger John A said...

Idiocy. What of those who decide to have fish for dinner instead of chicken? Or do not want a hat, so do not buy one?

During the old "Betamax" case one TV executive said if you were not watching shows on his network you were robbing the network and its advertisers. He backed down when it was pointed out that if people were watching his network then they - and he - must be robbing the others.

2/24/2011 5:14 PM  

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