Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables — OR ELSE!

Elena Kagan may have to answer ten million questions at her confirmation hearings before the Senate votes on whether she should be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.  But we all knew, well before the first question was asked, how the vote would turn out. She’s going to be confirmed.  Fair enough.  Elections, as they say, have consequences.

Ms. Kagan could reveal at those hearings that she thinks the smartest, most decent, most freedom-loving political figure in the entire world is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the goofy president of Iran, and she’d be confirmed. Such is the Democratic majority in the Senate.  She could say that she’s been secretly dating Osama bin Laden — and she’d be confirmed.  She could say a federal law that requires all Americans to eat fruits and vegetables every day is constitutional, and she’d be confirmed.

Oops!  My bad.  She pretty much really did say that last one.

Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma (and a medical doctor) asked Ms. Kagan: “If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that’s now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?”

Now you’d figure that anyone smart enough to be the Dean of the Harvard Law School and the Solicitor General of the United States would be smart enough to say, “Sure that violates the Commerce Clause.  There are limits to what Congress may do.  And Congress may not make people eat certain foods just because they’re good for you.  There is such a thing as privacy, you know.”

But she didn’t say that.  Instead, Ms Kagan said:  “Sounds like a dumb law. But I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it’s constitutional and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.”

I could think of worse things that courts might do than strike down dumb laws, but that’s a discussion for another time.

What Senator Coburn was getting at, of course, was whether the portion of ObamaCare that says we all have to buy medical insurance is constitutional, because it falls under the Commerce Clause.  If you can force people to buy insurance, why can’t you force them to eat healthy food, too, is what Coburn was getting at.

Kagan, knowing exactly what Coburn was getting at, went on to say that laws that regulated non-economic activity – like what kind of foods we eat — were beyond Congress’s Commerce Clause power.

So Coburn, a pretty smart individual himself, asked another question to take economic activity into account.  “What if I said that if eating three fruits and three vegetables would cut health care costs 20%? Now, we’re into commerce. And since the government pays 65% of all the health care costs why isn’t that constitutional?” he asked Kagan.

“I feel as though the principles that I’ve given you are the principles that the court should apply,” Kagan responded.  If you call that a response.

So yes, Elena Kagan will be the next Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  And when the question of whether Congress can pass a law that forces every American to buy something – medical insurance in this case – she will say Congress can do just that.  And if that takes us one step closer to the Nanny State, well, elections, you know, do have consequences.

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  • Alan

    This congress confirmed a tax cheat to oversee the IRS. ‘Nuff said.

  • joel

    Hey Berno! Must be a cold day in hell! I actually agree with you! I took a chance reading this, thinking this was probably just another nucklehead rant, so you could get your clones to gather around you and kiss your butt and tell you how amazing you are. Anyway, good job! But you should definitly think about finding new fans…..ones who dont only speak “american.” Get some friends who have traveled and experienced the world….not just walmart. You know, people who are able to put themselves in others shoes and consider other points of view. Anyway, happy 4th of July. Independence hasnt seemed to make us better socially, just more isolated and ignorant. But i’ll just take the typical american attitude and say “whatever.”

  • Ellie Velinska

    By the way, the office where the Spy-Anna and her dad Kushchenko were working is located on the same floor with the offices of the Russian news-giant Izvestia.

    Bernie, do you think somebody will ask what American media are connected with this KGB PR firm.

  • Ellie Velinska

    Bernie, my research shows that the Russian Spy Anna and her dad worked for the Russian PR agency – their form of the mythical American JournoList.

    One thing nobody is talking about is: what European and American newspapers, magazines and agencies were working with this SpyGate high profile Russian PR firm.

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  • CCNV

    Talk about your fruits and vegetables…

    Hey, Wil! How about Mel Gibson – the Poster Boy for Liberals? He’s been seen and heard spewing the “N” word and other racist crap. Tell me again, Wil…WHO is racist?

    Oh well, maybe Gibson can blame his tirade on Bush, again.


  • Kenneth Taylor

    Love it Mr Goldberg! I sense a feeling of despair,if you didn’t laugh you would cry.
    As bad as things are it is nothing like the European Union. We’ve only just got rid of a law which dictated that only straight bananas could be sold!

  • David

    Well I guess here’s one Supreme Court Justice nominee who won’t be invited to any Fourth of July Barbecues anytime soon.

  • Dan in Phx

    Rather than “dating Osama,” I think, hypothetically, a wildfire-inducing admission (accidental, of course) from Ms. Kagan would be something such as, “In a purely academic way, I understand Osama bin Laden’s points.”

    Imagine the brouhaha and gymnastics that would trigger when the Internet and airwaves (in that order) lit up with the second half of that!

    “The Democrats support someone who thinks Osama has not just 1 point, but multiple points?”
    “Does the President believe the 9/11 attacks were justified?”
    “What she meant was… taken out of context… more outrageous irresponsibility… cheap points…”
    “Does America want someone on the Supreme Court who agrees with Osama bin Laden?”
    “What I meant was…”
    “If Osama bin Laden were a U.S. citizen, would Kagan consider 9/11 treason or not?”
    “Can Republicans not even stop this?”

    On and on and on.
    BP would get at least another 3 weeks out of the spotlight.

  • Ronda Feuerstack

    Ronda Montana

    The fabricated scenario is all fiber, NO protein !

  • Ken Besig Israel

    For a year and a half Barack Obama and his team have been playing Amateur Hour in the White House while Rome, excuse me, America burns and her allies look fearfully ahead and wonder what sort of silly, ineffective, and counterproductive economic and diplomatic policies Obama is going to inflict on the US and the rest of the world.
    And now Obama, as if to show everyone not to take him seriously at all, nominates Elana Kagan to the highest court in the land. Ms. Kagan can’t even be called an amateur since she has never even been local magistrate and has even less judicial experience than Obama had executive or managerial experience.
    Where is Ms. Kagan’s life experience? At least Obama did some community organizing, whatever that is and managed to marry and raise a family. Ms. Kagan has spent practically all of her life in academia or government employ, about the same thing. Worse, she has never married, never had or raised children, doesn’t seem to have ever had a long or short term relationship with a man or a woman, in short, she doesn’t even seem to have had a real life or a real human relationship.
    She has never made a judicial ruling which actually had an impact on a real person’s life, whether that person was a defendant or a plaintiff and cannot possibly understand from personal experience the suffering caused by losing a trial or the ecstasy of winning one.
    How in the world a person so insulated from reality in every possible sense can be appointed to the SCOTUS can only be explained by understanding the amateurishness of Barack Obama.
    God help America!

    • joel

      scary stuff…..i now wont read this blog for another month…..ya’ll are scaring the ____ out of me!!

  • jodee1969

    The woman is hiding her leftist views but I wanted to see them pepper her questions about BP and this oil spill!

  • Wil Burns

    Nanny State???

    In his new book, economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention. In fact, conservatives rely on a range of “nanny state” policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off. It’s time for the rules to change. Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes – decent wages, good jobs and affordable health care.

    • EddieD_Boston

      An ecomomist is someone who never created a job. They don’t know shit.
      Hey Wil, they call it economic theory because none of those over-educated academics know any of the answers.

      • VirginiaNick

        What “nanny policies” are they Wil? You progressives always throw out this crap with no evidence. State the “nanny policies” and how the rich get richer. Eddie D hits it right on. The government has no business producing fair outcomes for anyone. Not their job. Hard work and self reliance does it. And really, do you believe the government is doing anything soundly other than to take more and more of our liberties away each day? I work for myself and my family, not sponges like you who must think the evil rich owe you something.

        • Wil Burns

          Dean Baker has written several books, his latest being Taking Economics Seriously (MIT Press) Read it.

          • EddieD_Boston

            As Ronald Reagan said, “if you lined up all the economists end to end they wouldn’t reach a conclusion”. Read a book by someone who actually created wealth and you might actually learn something.

      • Wil Burns

        Eddie, Ronald Reagan said whatever someone else told him to say and remember, Reagan quadrupled the National Debt — adding $2.3 trillion. Not satisfied with that, he turned America from being the world’s leading creditor nation to being the world’s leading debtor nation. And, through mindless deregulation, gave us the S&L fiasco.

        • CCNV

          What about the 17-minute non-answer answer by Obama? Sounds like someone else who repeats everything he’s fed. Completely worthless without his trusty teleprompter. And you don’t even want to get this Forum started about Obama’s screw ups…

          • Wil Burns

            Your teleprompter nonsense is getting old. Give it up.

          • CCNV

            So is your Messiah crap. The man is unfit for this office.

    • Ron Kean

      I don’t even read what you write anymore. When I see your name I just wish you would go home.

      • Wil Burns

        Ron, Of course not, it’s so much more fun to get a bunch of people together (who agree with each other) and then have them openly agree on various subjects. Seriously, who likes debating issues with people? Not Ron!

        • Stephen Shields

          It’s tough to debate with you, when you can’t stay on topic and rarely know what you’re talking about. How are those conservative Nazis doing, Wil? You do know the definition of oxymoron, don’t you?

          • Wil Burns

            Steve, People like you really want to go back to the Bush years. If so, you really must hate America!

          • Stephen Shields

            When are you going to get it through your think skull, as I’ve told you several times, I was against Bush and his spending! Are you really that simple? I guess it’s George W Bush’s fault that you are an idiot, isn’t it?

  • Paul Borden

    Stephen: Remember the old phrase “be careful what you wish for”? And to think, there I was hoping for Hillary to fail. I’m thinking now that although I would hate to put up with more Clinton-mania, she would be a huge improvement. (Nice explanation, JohnInMa).

    • Stephen Shields

      Unfortunately, I agree with you.

    • Bruce A.

      Hillary? I am beginning to miss Jimmy Carter.

  • MerchantofVenom

    Sessions and Hatch grilled Kagan. Sessions brought up the fact she tried to deny the military access to Harvard University; until she was threatened by the Federal government with loss of funds. She then BS’ed her way out of it, starting off by saying her father was a veteran blah…blah…blah. I almost had to get out the handkerchief until I saw Stewart Smalley was falling asleep, the highlight of the hearing. The sad part is the she could have pulled out a 45 and shot Sessions and still be appointed. First it was Sotomayor (who voted recently….helping terrorists is a good thing) and now this. I guess it’s a kind of trade off. Kagan replaces Stevens. The only problem is it’s a lifetime appointment….. and Kagan is only fifty.

  • Ellie Velinska

    It is creepy when the norm becomes – “what you do is bad for the society as a whole”.

    If you eat a doughnut you are suddenly an enemy to the people.

    If my eating habits hurt somebody I am pretty sure that buddy will send me a lawyer and sue me.

    I am innocently eating chocolate unless proven guilty.

    Who is this guy named Society who has a problem with my fruitless day? Let’s meet in court!

    • Bruce A.

      As it stands today the govt. does tell us what to eat. Ask an old time meat cutter for a pluck.
      These were removed from the market years ago. Calf lungs, the govt. said someone may get sick. Old timers still swear by the taste, their parents didn’t waste a thing.
      Also try to use trans fats in a New York restaurant. That is the main worry, never mind the eight shootings listed in the New York Post which occured in Brooklyn in June 30.

  • Ron Kean

    Hey Bernie, I just saw you got #93 on the Townhall list of people the left hates the most. I don’t know if you should be proud that you’re so likable or sad that you’re not disliked so much.

    And to think that you were the very first to blow the whistle on the media.

    • Wil Burns

      Ron, Ever wonder why Bernie never blows the whistle on Foxnews?

  • Berg

    How is that different from car insurance?

    • JohnInMA

      This one is tiring.
      Driving is not an inherent right, and so obviously is not enumerated as such in our founding documents. Call it whatever else you wish such as privilege, luxury, or whatever. Add to that the fact that it requires demonstrated skills and that misuse of the skills is proven to lead to great harm and injury, it is regulated by government with the granting of a license. This is in line with other practices, too. In time, the abuse of the privilege has become so predominant that mandatory insurance has evolved as the best solution to protect the innocent from great financial harm.

      On the other hand, what a person eats affects that person primarily. Get the difference???

      • Cyberquill

        Perhaps drivers ought to be required to eat lots of fruits and veggies in order to get and keep their licenses, as a healthy lifestyle lowers their risk of suffering medical emergencies behind the wheel, which could negatively affect others (such as mowing down a group of passers-by as a result of suffering a stroke while driving).

        • CCNV

          If everyone who drives a car in the US is required by law to have car insurance, why do we have to pay for UNINSURED MOTORISTS coverage?

          (I’m really not looking for answer, I’m just saying…)

    • Dan in Phx

      Car insurance mandates are state laws, not federal. The difference is where decisions are made. Unfortunately, many (in and out of congress) believe that if a state can pass a law, then the feds can pass an even bigger one that applies to all the states. Hence, the creep and bloat goes on.

    • Berg

      You all got it wrong, even though all you’ve said is accurate.
      When one buys car insurance, it so the THIRD PARTY can get some compensation.
      In other words, car insurance is to help people in case of potential failures of other.
      In that, the state is holding one responsible for the outcome of an accident.
      Health care insurance, either Obama’s or another, forces people to insure themselves by law. It’s like the state is saying “we know what’s good for you”.
      Sounds familiar? It’s socialism, pure and simple.

  • Bruce A.

    You are right on target with this one Berine. Be careful, coulums like this one will land you in a re-education camp.

    • Bruce A.

      correct that to columns.

  • Dan in Phx

    A federal law that requires a citizen to purchase or consume or exercise seems to violate the 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    But people who want (or don’t mind) more concentrated control in Washington D.C. argue that “.. promote the general welfare..” means whatever lawmakers want it to mean at the time to address the issues of the day. As they say, “We do it all the time.” And the creep goes on.

    Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky; the overreach and the (eventual) challenge to the “health insurance mandate” will cause (an actual) debate and (sane) overhaul of the federal tax code…. for our grandchildren :-)

    I’m not holding my breath, because my cadillac plan doesn’t cover that!
    But when the time comes to get serious about fixing the systemic flaws in the “system of systems” we call America, I have a few Amendments up my sleeve to help them out.

    – “The Next 10 Amendments: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union”

  • Stephen Shields

    I have absolutely no problem with obscure questions directed at Supreme Court nominees no matter which President appointed them or what political party they are affiliated with or whose political beliefs they share. They should all be drilled and quesitoned. Only reason people have a problem with the last two are because St. Barrack nominated them, and his boy-band-esque following takes every criticism of him personally and makes it front page news comparing it to treason. Even if another Democrat gets reelected, Obama has to go. He’s no good for the country.

  • Cyberquill

    I don’t see how a law requiring citizens to eat fruit and vegetables would violate the commerce clause. It may, however, violate the First Amendment. Surely, freedom of expression encompasses a right to express one’s dislike for fruits and vegetables by not eating them, and freedom of association affords us the right to refrain from associating with particular foods.

    There is such a thing as privacy indeed. The question is, to what extent is our right to privacy set forth in the constitution beyond the handful of areas specifically adduced (e.g., not having to accomodate soldiers during peace time, the right to refrain from testifying against oneself, the need for a search warrant, etc.)

    The constitution mentions neither diet nor abortion. Either both fall under privacy, or neither. Selective constitutional privacy is always a tricky argument to make.