Froma Harrop has this to say in the opening lines of her column today:
There was never much doubt that the individual mandate in “Obamacare” was constitutional. As Harvard Law School professor Einer Elhauge had noted, the first Congress in 1790 passed a law ordering ship owners to buy medical insurance for their seamen. Twenty framers of the U.S. Constitution were members, and President George Washington signed the law.
This is not only a bad opinion piece, it is factually incorrect. There was significant doubt about the law’s constitutionality, just not by Harrop and the people she listens to. A majority of the Supreme Court not only doubted the law’s constitutionality based on a Commerce Clause justification (which is what Harrop is arguing was never in doubt), but held that it was, in fact, unconstitutional based on that reasoning. Finally, the 1790 law was passed by Congress pursuant to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16, which gives Congress broad authority to regulate the militia – a situation that is completely irrelevant to the Affordable Care Act.