Former Judiciary Chair Conyers Says He's ‘Found a Very Good Set of Arguments’ for Constitutionality of Obamacare—Doesn’t Say Exactly What They Are

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 19, 2011 | 9:04 PM EST

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.)

( - When Obamacare was being debated in the House of Representatives last year, then-House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D.-Mich.) said that the provision in the bill forcing individuals to buy health care was justified by what he called the “good and welfare clause” of the Constitution.

The problem with that argument was there is no “good and welfare clause” in the Constitution.

On Wednesday, debating the repeal of Obamacare on the House floor, Conyers, who lost the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee when his party lost the House majority in last fall’s election, said that he has discovered an argument for the constitutionality of Obamacare. But this time Conyers did not say exactly where in the Constitution that argument could be found.

“The question of constitutionality is a very interesting one for the Judiciary Committee, a matter we are going to go into further,” said Conyers, who is now the ranking Democrat on that committee.

“But we've found a very good set of arguments about the ability of this bill to be totally within the framework of our Constitution,” said Conyers. “Come on. We already have Medicare. Who do you think runs that? We already have Medicaid. What about Social Security?”

Before Obamacare was passed with its mandate forcing individuals to buy government-approved health-insurance plans, the federal government had never before ordered Americans to buy any good or service, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, ruling on a suit brought by the state of Virginia against the individual mandate, agreed that the mandate was a novel expression of federal power. He ruled that it was unconstitutional, and could not be justified, as the Obama administration had argued, by either the Commerce Clause, which allows the federal government to regulate commerce among the states, or the General Welfare Clause, which allows the federal government to levy taxes to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.

Here is Conyers last year invoking the "good and welfare clause" as constitutional justification for Obamacare: