Being Constitutional

The Supreme Court has made its decision on Obamacare. What, you didn’t hear about that? Well, that’s because it’s not public yet, and won’t be until June, I understand. But behind closed doors, the result is in. The justices are now busy writing their opinions; I predict we’ll have a number of those opinions offered since the Court will be split in its reasoning. Some of that reasoning will be sharp and constitutional; the rest will be shallow and political. Hopefully, constitutionalism will prevail and the entire law will be overturned, not just the individual mandate.

President Obama yesterday lectured the Court from afar by stating categorically that the attempt to set up a government-controlled healthcare system was undeniably constitutional, and that any decision to the contrary was judicial activism. He said conservatives should understand this since they are always decrying judicial activism.

Let me get this straight: declaring a law unconstitutional that took over 1/6 of the American economy and forced people to buy a product is judicial activism? No, Mr. President, that’s the proper role of the Court—reining in an extension of government power into an area where it has no authority to act.

That’s called being constitutional.

But I wouldn’t expect the president to understand that concept. He’s no James Madison.

Presidents take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not to ignore it.

Fiscal Sanity & the Rule of Law

The administration did its best to convince the Supreme Court that Obamacare is constitutional. That’s called trying to make something out of nothing. When there’s nothing in the Constitution that can reasonably be construed as support for this type of government interference, one would hope the attempt to defend it would prove impossible. Nothing is certain, though, when four liberal ideologues refuse to budge. At least that’s what I expect. Yet even liberal commentators are saying the Court may overturn this “signature” piece of legislation. We’ll have to wait until June to find out. Perhaps there’s a fantasy swirling in the mind of our president about how he wishes he could have been present at the writing of the Constitution. He could have made it a “better” instrument:

You see, only a liberal/progressive/socialist really cares about people. Plans such as the one proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan to move us in the direction of fiscal responsibility emanate from evil, uncaring hearts:

You could say it all depends on one’s perspective, but I hope most Americans would grasp the concept that a life preserver is not a weapon.

Meanwhile, we await the return of fiscal sanity and the rule of law. Will they eventually prevail?

Obamacare & the Constitution

The Obamacare hearings at the Supreme Court continue today. The focus will be on the individual mandate. The Obama lawyers will try to argue that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives permission to make everyone buy health insurance. If the Court goes along with that argument, it opens the door for the government to force us to buy anything it considers “good” for us: non-fat foods, Chevy Volts, non-incandescent light bulbs—oh, wait, I seem to recall that last one being foisted on us already.

One can only hope the Court will actually look at the Constitution this time rather than allow ideology to prevail, but I will be shocked if any of the four liberal justices break from their preconceived position that the text of the Constitution is outdated. It would be nice if they would pay attention to the intent of the Founders, but I fear their insights will be barred from entry:

Fortunately, the lawyers arguing against the bill will be making constitutional arguments. I pray for their success in convincing any swing votes, if they exist.

Most of the country, though, doesn’t know much about the constitutional limitations on the federal government. They just assume the government can do as it wishes. We are constitutionally illiterate, on the whole. But they will soon feel the effects of the law if it isn’t overturned:

At least public opinion polls—not normally the fount of all wisdom—reveal a rising tide against Obamacare. Even Obama has to acknowledge this. When his signature legislation had its second birthday the other day, there was no celebration; Obama himself remained mute about it. So where was he?

Ah, yes, his favorite activity.

And what are the Republicans threatening to offer as the challenger to Obamacare politically? The man who inspired Obamacare to begin with.

I can agree with that sigh.

Obamacare & the Supremes

No, my title today is not the name of a new rock band. Today marks the opening arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare before the Supreme Court. Good news would be a decision declaring it unconstitutional. Bad news would be a decision upholding it. But the worst news of all is that it comes down to nine people who may determine this for the whole nation, regardless of the ruling.

We have resigned ourselves to the idea that when the Supreme Court speaks, mere mortals must step aside. Yet the Court itself is comprised of mere mortals, not demi-gods. Some of them don’t even have any desire to inquire into the original intent or exact wording of the Constitution. A few have even suggested we look at what other nations do as our guide.

We didn’t used to have this awe over Supreme Court decisions. We used to believe we were a government made up of three co-equal branches, each of which was charged with maintaining constitutionality. When the president takes his oath of office, he says he will protect and defend the Constitution. That document gives Congress authority to remove certain types of cases from the federal purview in the courts. To my knowledge, Congress has never used that authority as leverage against unjust Court rulings.

This is what “check-and-balance” is all about.

Back in 1857, the Supreme Court ruled on the freedom of a black slave named Dred Scott. He was from Missouri, but his master took him into Illinois and Wisconsin, where they lived for a number of years. Both areas banned slavery, so later Scott sued for his freedom, saying he shouldn’t have been held as a slave because of his residence in those places. This was seen by slaveholders as a severe threat to their “right” to their “property.” Seven of the nine justices on the Court at that time were from the South, and all sought to uphold slavery.

The Chief Justice, Roger Taney, decided to use this case to lecture the nation on his concept of the Declaration of Independence, the supremacy of the white race, and the place of blacks in American society. In denying Scott his freedom, he said the Declaration didn’t apply to blacks and that no black person, slave or free, was to be considered a citizen of the United States. Consequently, Scott had no right even to bring the lawsuit. Further, the Congress had no authority to pass any law that limited slavery in any way throughout any state or territory in the Union.

This was a rather breathtaking decision. Did the entire nation bow down before the Supremes and meekly follow the “divine word”? Hardly. The new Republican party spoke out against the ruling, declaring it null and void. It had unconstitutionally denied the rights of all black persons, many of whom were free citizens who had voted in the past. It had said the Congress had no authority to pass laws about slavery when, in fact, it could pass whatever laws it saw fit for territories. The Supreme Court, dominated by a false ideology, had been wrong.

The Supreme Court today can be just as wrong. If it rules Obamacare constitutional, it will have trashed the Constitution. But that doesn’t have to be the final word. In November, we can elect enough members of Congress and a new president dedicated to repealing and replacing that dreadful healthcare bill.

Do we have the intelligence and desire to effect this change? Balance can be restored if we choose wisely. We can once again become a nation of three co-equal branches of government.

Pervasive Hypocrisy

As I noted earlier this week, progressives have a way of framing a debate to favor their views. They’re really quite adept at changing the entire focus of the debate, shifting it away from the real issues to something phony. In the process, the Constitution, and the religious liberty it protects, are forgotten:

They are aided in their attempt to redirect the discussion by a more-than-willing media. Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish any difference between the leftist ideologues and the media itself:

Those who stand for the Constitution and for traditional Judeo-Christian morality, meanwhile, are characterized as extremists. How dare they introduce their religious beliefs into the debate!

The hypocrisy is pervasive.

The Royal Executive

I would like to continue yesterday’s theme: the unconscionable power grab by the president as he dismissed the Constitution outright by appointing Richard Cordray to the new consumer protection bureau [so-called, but hardly accurate] without Senate confirmation. You just can’t do that when the Congress has not recessed. And what is meant by a genuine recess anyway? If we go back to the time of the writing of the Constitution, the Founders never conceived of a Congress that rarely went home. They even inserted a provision that required Congress to meet at least once each year because they were concerned about the president trying to rule by himself.

Well, their fears were well founded.

For the Founders, a recess undoubtedly meant the many long months in between congressional sessions. Nowadays, Congress only leaves for a week or two here and there; they’ve turned their jobs into fulltime endeavors. Taking advantage of a recess of a few weeks to insert an appointee that the Senate may reject is not in the spirit of the Founders, whether done by Republican or Democrat. Obama has simply taken it to a new level, ignoring the need for a recess before making an appointment. He concluded, apparently by his royal prerogative, that since Congress wasn’t doing much right now, he could declare it in recess.

He has little use for that old, outdated document called the Constitution. I mean, why bother with that when you can just declare yourself the ultimate authority?

But don’t worry, he’s doing it for the people:

It’s the refrain used by all dictators.

So will the media watchdogs call him on this? Aren’t they seekers of truth? What about the general public? Don’t they want truth and fidelity to the rule of law to be the hallmark of our republic?

Or are they satisfied with something less . . .  and far more selfish?

Fooling People One More Time

We now have another example of how President Obama will govern if he wins reelection and has to deal with a completely Republican Congress—he will simply ignore Congress and do what he wants. Why do I say that? Have you heard what he did this week?

A new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was created by Congress despite the opposition of most Republicans. Obama nominated Richard Cordray to be the head of the agency. The Senate has to confirm such appointments, as cited in the Constitution. Republicans, though, are concerned that this agency will become an arm of big government to lash out at businesses. Certainly the Obama administration has a history of doing so. Republicans wanted assurances that this new bureaucracy can be kept in check, so they have not yet confirmed Cordray.

The president decided he was tired of waiting and simply placed Cordray in the position, saying that Congress is in recess, so he has the authority to do so. The only problem is that Congress is not in recess. He has merely declared it to be and has acted accordingly.

This is blatantly unconstitutional.

Using unconstitutional means to achieve his goals is not something new to him, but this act of indifference to the rule of law is more obvious than most. Yet he believes he will get away with it, and he’s probably correct in that assessment. Most Americans know so little of constitutional limitations that they won’t think twice about it. Further, he can score political points by saying he is the one trying to protect consumers, while Republicans are siding with big business.

Never mind the truth, just demogogue.

He’s betting this type of inexcusable bravado will be the ticket to a second term. His strategy is clear:

How many will he fool this time?