I haven't seen the September 5th Republican debate or a transcript, but it seems that Bachmann gave an odd answer on some Constitutional issues: DeMint's Freedom Forum: Bachmann Trips Up, Perry Cancels It sounds as though Bachmann said the federal Constitution prohibits states from requiring that their residents/citizens be required to purchase a good or service. She couldn't cite a provision, but said that it was "inherent" in the Constitution. I think she was just plain wrong in this assertion. Under the 10th Amendment, state governments can do anything they aren't prohibited from doing. The only thing that could bar them would be the 14th Amendment, which states in part "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Of course, arguing that the 14th Amendment prohibits states from making purchases compulsory would also suggest that states couldn't deprive people of property via taxation, which I don't think anyone is arguing. Bachmann's argument is unsupported, and seems unsupportable. I think this is evidence of the tendency of some people (not all) who portray themselves as ardent Constitutionalists to say "the Constitution means whatever I say it means". Bachmann would no doubt be happy to cite a particular provision if it seemed to support her position, but if none exists, she claims that her position, in this case that no government can mandate the purchase of a good or service, is "inherent" in the Constitution. This is a far more extreme and intellectually dishonest argument than Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas's reliance on "penumbras" and "emanations" in his own Constitutional reasoning. Nor do I think Bachmann's statement was a meaningless accident-- as a former government lawyer, current constitutional officer, and candidate for President she should know better.