Sen. Grassley: I Supported 'Unconstitutional' Activism In 2009

February 01, 2011 12:47 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Moments ago on Fox News, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) argued that the individual mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

HOST: If you were to start over again, what personally would you like to see changed in our health care system?

GRASSLEY: Well, obviously, not have an individual mandate. I think it's a violation of our Constitution for the federal government to tell you you have to buy something because if you go down that road after 225 years, where do you stop?

Grassley went on reject claims that Judge Vinson's ruling in Florida yesterday — which struck down the entire health care law, ignoring precedent set by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts — constituted judicial activism.

GRASSLEY: They're using some words that strict constructionists generally use that don't fit their look at the Constitution. Because activism comes when a Congress says for the first time in 225 years you gotta buy something even if you don't want it, and if you don't want it you gotta pay more money to the IRS...and that's activism and we hope the courts will cut down on that.


Apparently, Grassley believes that 225 years is some sort of magical number — because that's the only way to explain his radical shift in the past two years. Not only is Grassley a former supporter of the individual mandate, but he supported it as recently as June 2009, when he was leading bipartisan negotiations on health care reform. "I believe there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates," he said at the time.