Michigan  |  Constitutional Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 4/24/12, 11:08 am

If the consitution states that no gov. can force americans to buy products and services from companies, Then why is it mandated that the state can force drivers to buy auto ins.,and if you don't and drive you can be pen. by a gov. agency.

1 Answer

Answered on: 4/24/12, 11:57 am by Edward Hoffman

The Constitution does not say what you claim it says, at least not explicitly. The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering the question as part of the "Obamacare" cases. Most observers believe the Court will uphold the health insurance mandate, which would mean that the government can indeed require such purchases in some situations.

Auto insurance is a different question. The government (in this case, the state government) does not require everyone to have auto insurance. That requirement only applies to people who drive. There is no independent right to drive a car on public roads. Driving is a privilege, to which the states are allowed to add conditions. One of those conditions is that you must pass a test that shows you can drive safely. Another is that you must be insured.

The states have a legitimate interest in ensuring that drivers are able to compensate anyone who is injured in an accident they cause. The insurance requirement is the most reasonable and least burdensome way to satisfy that interest.

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