ObamaCare's individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, arguments to the contrary are nonsensical "tea party stuff," and Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn't be counted as a solid vote against the health care purchase mandate when the case comes before the Supreme Court.
That's the perspective of former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried.
In a February 14 story, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes cited Fried as a scholar with no dog in the ObamaCare fight:
"I'm not sure it's good policy. I'm not sure it's going to make the country any better," said Charles Fried, former Reagan administration solicitor general and a Harvard law professor. "But I am quite sure the health-care mandate is constitutional."
Fried is somewhat suspect among conservatives these days because of his wholehearted support of Kagan, his law school's former dean. But Fried supported Roberts and Alito as well and said in an interview he does not believe either of them would be inclined toward "such a departure from standard Commerce Clause jurisprudence."
He added, "I don't see Roberts as going for this tea party stuff."
Of course, a poll published last month found as many as many as 76 to 85 percent of respondents opposed to the individual mandate, depending on how the poll question was worded. Either way, that's a view that obviously isn't had by simply Tea Party folks.
What's more, at question in the ObamaCare cases is if existing commerce clause case law justifies a new, never-tried-before regulation of economic inactivity: the refusal of individuals to buy health insurance.
ObamaCare makes punishable by fine the decision to NOT purchase private health insurance. It mandates Americans into a type of commerce they otherwise would not engage in all in the name of regulating commerce, a concept completely foreign to the Framers of the Constitution.
The question of concern to conservatives and indeed to most Americans is the proper bounds of federal power under the Constitution.
Even so, men like Fried get attention from the liberal media because of the Reagan administration connection, even though Fried is quite possibly in the minority of Reagan Justice Department alumni when it comes to the constitutional merits of the individual mandate.