|Social Security also faced a court challenge on its constitutionality. A conservative Supreme Court, which had been the bane of the FDR administration's efforts to combat the effects of the Depression, still upheld the act's constitutionality by a 6-3 vote.
Thomas Eliot, who served as a special counsel to the committee which drafted the bill in 1933-34, has written about the opposition and harsh criticism that swirled around the proposed legislation.
"Hostile newspapers - which comprised most of the press - promptly assailed the new bill as a hodgepodge, an ill-drafted legislative monstrosity...The chief complaint was that various subjects were scattered throughout the measure...They [actually] objected to substance, not form." Eliot said.
That sounds familiar.
It was two years after the 1935 passage of Social Security when the Supreme Court finally upheld its constitutionality, using the authority given to the Federal government to "tax and spend for the general welfare."
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which President Lyndon Johnson correctly realized would mean Democrats would lose racists in the South to the Republicans, also faced legal challenges supposedly based on the Constitution.
In 1966 South Carolina brought suit, South Carolina v Katzenbach, contending that the Voting Rights Act, which forced southern states to end their denial of voting rights to minority citizens through the use of "literacy tests" and poll taxes. was not constitutional.
The Supreme Court held that the federal government had a right to enforce the 15th Amendment through legal means, denying South Carolina's claims.
So, it seems that each time the Federal government attempts to make life better for the average American through legislative action, it faces conservative criticism and attempts to sabotage it in the courts. Ken Cuccinelli is simply joining a long line of bigots and elitists who try to stifle progress.
Cuccinelli rails against the government mandating an individual buy health insurance, have it provided through an employers, or - failing either one - to pay a fine. He says that is not constitutional, even though it is a Republican idea.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who voted against health care reform in part he says because of that mandate, a month earlier, in response being asked how more people could become covered, said he was FOR an individual mandate.
Grassley told Fox News, "There isn't anything wrong with [an individual mandate], except some people look at it as an infringement upon individual freedom. But when it comes to states requiring it for automobile insurance, the principle then ought to lie the same way for health insurance...If you aren't insured, there's no free lunch. Somebody else is paying for it. I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates."
Grassley is certainly not the only Republican who has done a "180" on a personal mandate. When the Clinton administration tried to reform our health care system, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who now calls an individual mandate an unlawful limit on personal freedom, supported a bill that would have required such a mandate.
Heck, the whole concept of such a mandate was the idea of a Republican, a guy named Mark Pauly, who worked for George H.W. Bush.
Ah, but that was then and this is now. Plus, Virginia now has a bonafide right-wing nut for attorney general. Indeed, if Ken Cuccinelli actually were to get his way, not only would the bill just signed be deemed unconstitutional, but so would Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP.
So, "Kookinelli" must be trying to deny health care to over one half of the population who are served by these programs. That is crazy. But, that is actually what he is saying he wants.
Talk about touching a third rail!