When I consider candidates for public office, a key factor is a demonstrated understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the courage to stand up for it and my rights as a citizen. In this regard, Attorney General Rob McKenna stands out.
I could cite a number of examples, but I think the best is the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as “Obamacare.”
After passage of the act, there were concerns about certain provisions, foremost the individual mandate under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. McKenna joined other state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court contesting the individual mandate, among other provisions. There was an uproar from supporters of the act from President Obama, on down, condemning the lawsuit as a political attack.
In the end, the Supreme Court ruled the individual mandate to be constitutional as a tax but not under the Commerce Clause as supporters had been claiming. To quote a passage from the decision: “Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.”
Without the effort of McKenna, and the other attorneys general, a precedent would have been set that would have given Congress new power to encroach on our constitutional rights.
We need more public officials like McKenna who know the U.S. Constitution and are willing to take unpopular stands in its defense.