John Lewis: “Pursuit Of Happiness” & The 14th Amendment Make Obamacare Constitutional
With today’s (symbolic) vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we’re once again seeing evidence that our elected officials don’t really understand the Constitution, or don’t care to. Today’s example comes from Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who came up with what may be the most bizarre argument ever presented in Constitutional Law:
“Well, when you start off with the preamble of the Constitution you talk about the pursuit of happiness. You go to the 14th amendment – it’s equal protection under the law and we have not repealed the 14th amendment. People have a right to have health care. It’s not a privilege but a right,” Lewis responded.
The phrase “pursuit of happiness,” of course, comes from the Declaration of Independence, not the Preamble, and has no legal effect in any event. The 14th Amendment argument is simply nonsense.
There are Constitutional arguments in favor this bill. The Department of Justice has made them in four separate cases pending around the country, one would think that a Congressman who has served in office since 1987 would have at least a passing knowledge of them.