One of my favorite legal scholars, Jonathan Turley, has weighed in on the constitutionality of the Obama health insurance scheme. Here’s a key paragraph:

With this legislation, Congress has effectively defined an uninsured 18-year-old man in Richmond as an interstate problem like a polluting factory. It is an assertion of federal power that is inherently at odds with the original vision of the Framers. If a citizen who fails to get health insurance is an interstate problem, it is difficult to see the limiting principle as Congress seeks to impose other requirements on citizens. The ultimate question may not be how Congress can prevail, but how much of states’ rights would be left if it prevailed.

Well done. But just three paragraphs later, he writes the following:

There is no serious basis to challenge the right of Congress to impose a national medical plan on the states. In 2008, this country spent $2.3 trillion on health care — representing 16.2% of our gross domestic product. This is a national crisis demanding a national, as opposed to a state-by-state, solution.

He points to the fact that there is a crisis in health care in all the states [True], doesn’t ask what’s causing it and how the feds just might be contributing to it, and then says that because it’s a national crisis, that calls for a national solution. If this is an argument, it is argument solely by arithmetic. You add up all the spending in all the state and, sure enough, you get $2.3 trillion. What if everyone had a garden and a new kind of (non-interstate) bug infested all gardens in all states. This would be a national crisis too but it would be one that could be solved on a much more local level. That reasoning is not up to Turley’s standard.

HT to Sheldon Richman