We've heard it before: Congress can't pass laws that the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8) doesn't give them the explicit right to pass. Lets look at said Article, shall we?
Section 8: The Congress shall have power
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;—To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Pretty simple really, except on the first clause, specifically:
to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States
Liberals have long interpreted this clause as giving Congress the right to pass any law that aids in the welfare of the public, while conservatives have long argued that this clause is more of a procedure clause (IE, protecting the public during times of war) then an actual right to pass laws not specified by one of the other clauses.
I say let's put an end to the debate: Lets put the public healthcare option before the US Supreme Court, and directly challenge its legallity. The only clause that could possibly cover a public healthcare plan would be the 'general welfare' clause, and thus serves as a perfect test case to see how far Congressional authority really is.
Of course, regardless of the decision, liberals win in the end:
In the case of a win, liberals prove once and for all that the 'defence and general welfare' clause allows Congress to pass any law that will benifit the public of the United States.
In the case of a loss, every law and act of Congress that was justified by that clause is suddenly subject to being declared unconstitutional. The one act in particular that makes this a decision a big win for liberals? The Lousiana Purchase.
Looking at the US Constitution, only one clause deals with land, and that clause specifies on captured land, and not the purchase of land from another power. As such, a ruling by the Supreme Court against the 'defence and general welfare' clause would force the Lousiana Purchase, upon review in federal court, being declared unconstitutional. (Note: The purchase of Alaska from the Russians also would be an Unconstitutional act. As far as I know, the land the other states were created on was always taken by conquest, which is covered in the Constitution, and therfore legal). France, of course, would have to repay the $10 Million that was paid to illegially purchase said land.
So as a liberal, I am begging Conservatives to challange the legallity of a public healthcare option. Please. I would love to see the dumbfounded look on the faces of those people who oppose progross when they realize that by their own interpretation of the US Constitution, they are not even US citizens. So please, challenge Obama, and give us liberals the KO punch we have been begging for years to have.