Things aren’t as dire as Turner proclaims

Douglas Turner’s recent column, “High court should nix contraception order,” describes a particular mandate of the Affordable Care Act (the one requiring all employers to pay for health insurance that covers services to which they might object) as “one of the cruelest, most radical and unnecessary invasions of the Constitution ever visited by a president on his people.” Really?

Apparently, Turner forgot about the Alien and Sedition Acts signed by John Adams. Had Turner written a similar critique of the administration in 1798, he would have been jailed. He must also be unaware of Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in 1862, which resulted in the jailing of U.S. citizens with no access to courts of law. And, finally, Turner overlooked the forced relocation and internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-American citizens in 1942 under Franklin Roosevelt.

The difference between those “invasions of the Constitution” and the Affordable Care Act mandate is that the latter is going through the court system – part of the process of a vibrant democracy. The actions of Adams, Lincoln and Roosevelt did not. We are fortunate to have a functioning Supreme Court that will determine the constitutionality of this mandate. Things are not quite as dire as Turner would have us believe.

David A. Gorlewski