On Sunday, George Will raised the following question on ABC’s “This Week”: “Does Congress have the constitutional power to require obese people to sign up for Weight Watchers? If not, why not?” Let’s set the legal question aside for a moment and address the following ethical question: Is it morally permissible for the state to require those who are significantly overweight to enroll in the weight loss program of their choice?
Then let’s address two related follow-up questions:
- If you answered “yes” to the previous question, why does the state have that authority, and what else might it mandate, in accordance with that moral principle?
- If you answered “no” to the previous question, why does the state not have that authority, and what else is the state prohibited from mandating, in accordance with that moral principle?