Iconic Congressman John Lewis Offers Bizarre Constitutional Views

If iconic Congressman John Lewis is an honest man, than he's scarier than I ever imagined. In this remarkable interview, he suggests that one Constitutional justification for the individual insurance mandate is that states force people to buy car insurance, and another is the phrase "pursuit of happiness."

The auto insurance example doesn't apply because he is referring to laws made by the states under authority of their own constitutions, not the U.S. Constitution. Further, the requirement to buy auto insurance is imposed only if you decide to own a car, not because you happen to be breathing.

And on the pursuit of happiness? It's a phrase that's not in the Consitution, but rather, the Declaration of Independence. The closest similar reference is in the 14th Amendment - which protects the individual's right to their "life, liberty and property."

The 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”This phrase is commonly attributed to the Constitution, but it comes from the Declaration of Independence. The 5th Amendment does offer protections to our "life, liberty, or property," noting we cannot be deprived of any of them without due process of law.

If a phase so amorphous as the pursuit of happiness could be interpreted by the government as giving it authority to force us to buy things, it would render the Constitution meaningless and eliminate all restrictions on federal power - which, of course, is the approach of the Democrats.