Whenever Americans have needed a higher authority to justify their preexisting political beliefs, we've turned to the words of the Founding Fathers for historical backup.
In that spirit, four dissenting Supreme Court Justices in the Affordable Care Act case called upon the ghost of Alexander Hamilton to oppose the individual mandate. If Congress can require Americans to purchase insurance, the dissenting justices wrote, "then the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, or in Hamilton's words, "the hideous monster whose devouring jaws…spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane."
Sadly, Crtl-F search through the Federalist Papers by a law clerk is not the same thing as actually reading the Federalist Papers, because in fact, Hamilton was being sarcastically derisive of the opponents of expanded federal power, making fun of Anti-Federalists for suggesting that the new Constitution would turn the government in to a "hideous monster." Hamilton was an early fan of muscular government if there ever was one.
As Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Beware of quotes you find on the Internet, because they are often made up or taken out of context."
Thanks to recent discoveries in the world of particle physics, we've been able to bring a couple of the Founding Fathers in to the 21st century in order to seek their opinion on Obamacare. Unfortunately, they first had more questions for us, such as, "Does Obamacare cover leaches?" Mostly, they were very pretty perturbed by the whole black guy in the White House thing.
Eventually John Jay was hit by a horseless carriage and we had to call the whole thing off. Some things will remain a mystery.
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Tags: Alexander Hamilton, Founding Fathers, Health Care, Supreme Court