Surprise! Bill O’Reilly actually said something true in this video excerpt from the O’Reilly Factor!
He is right. He is a simple man. As in simple minded. Although the people he’s speaking to (his audience, I mean) are actually simpler than he is. He’s discussing the Supreme Court’s twin rulings on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, and even harkens back to the Roberts opinion on the legality of Obamacare, in order to make the case that we now have three “political concerns” in this country; the House, Senate and the Supreme Court. Strange that he left out the Executive Branch in that. But his rationale for making this claim are ass backward. Watch the video, and then I’ll discuss what he’s saying here.
See what I mean? Ass backwards.
The problem with O’Reilly’s claim that the Supreme Court is acting politically here is thoroughly skewed, in part because he’s talking about the majority. His position assumes there is something in the Constitution that prevents certain people from getting married. There isn’t. Not only that, but our rights are not limited to the few listed in the Bill of Rights. According to the 14th Amendment, any right that is acknowledged or created for one must be available to all. And yes, Fox News viewers, the 14th Amendment is part of the Constitution, too.
Therefore, if you offer massive tax breaks and other benefits to some folks as married people, you have to make them available to everyone, and the dividing line cannot be their sex or sexual preference. If one person has a right, based on certain conditions, all others must have the same rights. Since both men and women have the right to marry, where in the Constitution does the government derive the power to limit the right to only those of opposite sexes? The truth is, there is no such power. There are limitations on who can marry; since a marriage creates a familial bond where none existed before, they can’t be related, and there is only one allowed per customer. That’s why a homeless person can marry a prisoner on death row; if it’s a right for two Wall Street bankers, it’s a right for everyone.
You see, if you want to claim someone on the Supreme Court was being political, it was the minority, not the majority. In fact, the language in DOMA was directly anti-constitutional. Check this out. Here’s the language in the main part of DOMA, which said states could simply ignore the married status of same-sex couples if it wanted to:
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.
Now, here’s the text of the “Full Faith and Credit” clause of the US Constitution, Article IV:
Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
See the problem? For the first time, EVER, couples who were married in California would only be married in California, and no other state, if the other state didn’t approve of their marriage. Hetero couples; can you imagine if you were moving to another state for a job, and the state could just arbitrarily deny your marriage rights? Oh, wait; you don’t think it could happen to opposite sex couples? Read the language above again. DOMA’s language is diametrically the opposite of the Constitution, which means all of you DOMA defenders out there are actually advocating aganst the Constitution. And on the court, who’s really being political with their Supreme Court vote? It’s not the majority, but the minority.
O’Reilly also invokes the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare as an example of how the Court’s become too political. Ironically, the simple-minded O’Reilly actually made the best argument possible FOR the Roberts opinion and the Supreme Court’s ruling in the process.
O’Reilly doesn’t think anyone should be made to buy any (presumably consumer) “product” by the government. The problem is, health insurance isn’t actually a consumer product. We all will eventually need medical care; the only issue is when. And since we can’t predict that, classifying it as a consumer “product” is just silly. You are entitled to medical care if it becomes necessary to keep you alive or relieve pain. You are not entitled to any other consumer product at all; not even food. It doesn’t apply.
The “public safety” argument is also a weird argument. Governments have police powers, which protect not just public safety, but which also keep order. It’s why you need a permit to hold a demonstration or parade on a public street or park, and why zoning rules mandate what you can do with your property, based on a number of issues other than “public safety.”
O’Reilly says the only exception to this prohibition of government forcing you to buy a (consumer) product is car insurance, because of the “public safety” issue. Only that’s not true. Having car insurance doesn’t make a driver safer. It doesn’t create a force field around your car that nothing else can penetrate. Insurance is about financial responsibility; the same as health insurance. If you cause a traffic accident and can’t pay because you’re not insured, someone else has to pay your bills. If you choose not to carry health insurance, and you get sick or injured, someone else has to pay your bill.
And as far as te inane argument that Obamacare “forces” us buy health insurance, it doesn’t. It simply penalizes your choice by taxing you to pay for the possibility that you incur bills you can’t pay. Driving without car insurance actually entails much stiffer penalties. Some states even make you buy a bare bones policy if your have a license, but no car, just in case.
And health insurance has a greater “public safety” component than car insurance, anyway. If someone is walking around with a contagious disease he doesn’t know about, because he has no health care access, how is that not a “public safety” issue? What if he has a heart condition that goes undetected and has a heart attack while he’s driving, killing other people?
O’Reilly’s arguments are just plain ass backwards.