“I don’t worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest.”
Congressman John Boccieri of Ohio being questioned about the health care law.
Off-camera: Where in the Constitution…
Rep. Hare: I don’t worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest.
Off-camera: [Laughter.] Jackpot, brother.
Rep. Hare: What I care more about — I care more about the people that are dying every day that don’t have health insurance.
Off-camera: You care more about that than the U.S. Constitution that you swore to uphold!
Rep. Hare: I believe that it says we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now you tell me…
Off-camera: That’s the Declaration of Independence.
Rep. Hare: It doesn’t matter to me. Either one…
[Lots of childish sniping.]
Off-camera: Where in the Constitution does it give you the authority to…
Rep. Hare: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Off-camera: That’s what I thought.
Later on Phil Hare responded to the video.
”I support the constitution, I served in the military for six years. I don’t need anybody including Mr. Schilling and his political crew telling me I don’t believe in the Constitution. I’m proud of my vote I cast. Millions of people now will have healthcare that never would have had it before and if they want to play ‘gotcha stuff” on whether I support the Constitution, that’s shameful, because I do”
The congressman is basically trying to make the argument that the morality of saving lives trumps all other concerns. In short, morality trumps legality. He supports the Constitution–as long as it is in keeping with his own moral views. Like so many other politicians, Hare fails to see the danger in this line of reasoning.
The problem with Phil Hare’s statements is not the constitutionality or morality of health care; it’s the assertion that question of constitutionality is irrelevant and meaningless. The rule congressman Hare follows here is that his own moral compass supersedes the Constitution. He fails to see the contradiction in cases where his morality may conflict with the document that gives his authority legitimacy.
The Constitution is legal basis for congress, the federal government and the health care law itself. If the legal authority of the Constitution is irrelevant, that in turn makes the authority of congress and any laws passed by congress irrelevant.