(Video) Why we’re losing liberty

September 7, 2015

Via Prager University, Princeton University Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George looks at several reasons for the decline of liberty in America — from the growth of the national government particularly since the New Deal, to the growing willingness of the courts to “legislate from the bench” and the acquiescence and even collusion of the other two branches in that– and identifies one key reason: citizens’ own ignorance of our founding documents.

Here’s Professor George:

In other words, you’re not going to be a very successful owner, if you don’t understand the “owner’s manual.”


Kasich for President? Er… No, thanks.

April 24, 2015
Kasich 2016?

Kasich 2016?

There’s something about the Ohio governor I just don’t like, and I think the words “sanctimony” and “arrogance” have something to do with it. In The Washington Examiner, Philip Klein explains why limited-government conservatives should say “no” to John Kasich:

A 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for states to reject Obamacare’s costly expansion of Medicaid — as many governors prudently chose to do.

But in February 2013, despite campaigning on opposition to Obamacare, Kasich crumbled under pressure from hospital lobbyists who supported the measure, and endorsed the expansion. When his legislature opposed him, Kasich bypassed lawmakers and imposed the expansion through a separate panel — an example of executive overreach worthy of Obama.

Kasich cloaked his cynical move in the language of Christianity, and, just like a liberal demagogue, he portrayed those with principled objections to spending more taxpayer money on a failing program as being heartless.

“Why is that some people don’t get it?” Kasich asked rhetorically at an October 2013 event at the Cleveland Clinic, which lobbied the administration heavily for the expansion so that it could access a stream of money from federal taxpayers. “Is it because they’re hard-hearted or cold-hearted? It’s probably because they don’t understand the problem because they have never walked in somebody’s shoes.”

Ugh. That’s a cheap shot worthy of Obama, Reid, and Schumer. It couldn’t possibly be that one opposes the expansion of Medicaid because it represents a looming fiscal disaster for states that do enlarge the program. It couldn’t be because Medicaid has been shown to be no better than having no insurance at all, and that it increases the strain on emergency rooms. Nor could one reasonably object on principled limited-government, constitutional grounds, since the entire Obamacare project represents an anti-constitutional monstrosity.

Nope. It had to be because you’re a callous monster. But thank God John Kasich has the heart you lack, you Grinch.

There’s another problem, too. It’s that Kasich has, like Obama, shown the instincts of a tyrant. No, he’s not had anyone carted off to camps nor had himself crowned king, but his decision to expand Obamacare slapped in the face the principle that laws should be written by the people elected by The People to write them. In other words, the legislature. Article 2, section 1 of the Ohio Constitution reads, in part:

The legislative power of the state shall be vested in a general assembly consisting of a senate and house of representatives but the people reserve to themselves the power to propose to the general assembly laws and amendments to the constitution, and to adopt or reject the same at the polls on a referendum vote as hereinafter provided.

In other words, the power to write, amend, and repeal laws was granted by the people of Ohio to the legislature and reserved to themselves — none was granted to the governor. Yet, when the elected representatives of the people declined to expand Medicaid, Ohio’s chief executive –not “chief lawmaker”– forced his way around them to do it anyway. Like the old saying goes, it may have been legal, but it sure wasn’t right. That’s the “tyrannical instinct” I was talking about.

And if that gives you an uncomfortable feeling that reminds you of the shenanigans used to pass Obamacare, you’re not just imagining things. Having experienced enough of that under Obama, I don’t want to go through it again when “President Kasich” decides he knows best.

Thanks, Governor, but I’ll pass.


#Immigration: Congress *can* defund Obama’s executive order

November 26, 2014

Obamacaligula

Apparently Caesar Obama can decree all he wants, but getting the money to pay for his tyranny is another matter altogether:

The letter, requested by a Republican lawmaker, addressed an issue raised by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who has claimed it is impossible for Republicans to defund Obama’s amnesty since the agency in charge of issuing the work permits, the United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services office, is almost entirely funded by user fees.

The [Congressional Research Service] found that Rogers’ claim was completely false. From the letter:

“In light of Congress’s constitutional power over the purse, the Supreme Court has recognized that “Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes.” Where Congress has done so, “an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities. Therefore, if a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those purposes.

A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.”

This makes perfect sense constitutionally and legally: the agency is a creation of Congress, which has told it to raise money for its operations from user fees. It would be risible to say that Congress somehow lacked the power to tell that same agency how to spend the money Congress authorized it to collect in the first place.

The Republican leadership is discussing a long-term funding resolution for most of the government, and a short-term one for the Immigration Service, so that the new Republican legislature could then order it not to spend any money to enforce Obama’s order. This would be a first good step toward reining in Obama’s usurping presidency.

Let’s hope they have the courage to do it.


#Immigration: Going off script, Obama admits he usurped power

November 25, 2014
"Caesar Obama"

“Caesar Obama”

(Photo credit: @exjon)

Dealing with radical immigration activists while in Chicago, President Obama spoke off the cuff, once again proving he should never leave the safety of his teleprompter:

“I have heard you, but you have got to listen to me, too. All right? And I understand you may disagree, I understand you may disagree. But we have got to be able to talk honestly about these issues, all right?”

“Now, you’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That’s true. But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law.

That may be the first time he’s spoken the truth in years. To quote Article 1 of the United States Constitution:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

That includes the power to “change the law.” How odd that there’s no mention of that being a presidential power…

All across America, state attorney generals about to file suit are saying a quiet but heartfelt “Thank you, sir,” for the gift he just gave them.


#ISIS: Rand Paul’s declaration of war

November 24, 2014
"Of course you know, this means war."

“Of course you know, this means war.”

One of the criticisms of President Obama’s conduct of our foreign affairs (and of our domestic affairs, frankly) is that he disregards statutes and the provisions of the Constitution whenever it is convenient for him to do so. This extends to the war powers inherent in the presidency under Article II. Both in Libya and, now, in Syria and Iraq in the fight against ISIS, Obama has been accused of acting without authorization from Congress, either under the specific War Powers Act of 1973 or Article I of the Constitution, the latter of which grants Congress the sole power to declare war. With regard to ISIS, Obama has claimed authorization under the existing Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) against al Qaeda, since ISIS is an al Qaeda “spawn.” Not surprisingly, critics call that a stretch.

One of the critics is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has often accused Obama of acting unconstitutionally. At PJM, Bridget Johnson reports that Paul has plans to assert Congress’ authority over the war-power by introducing a bill to declare war on ISIS:

The resolution would kill the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force and put a one-year expiration date on the 2001 Afghanistan AUMF. The administration has been leaning upon those war on terror statutes to conduct current operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

It notes that “the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States and its allies” and “presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.”

“The state of war between the United States and the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 11, of the United States Constitution,” the resolution states.

“The President is hereby authorized and directed to use the Armed Forces of the United States to protect the people and facilities of the United States in Iraq and Syria against the threats posed thereto by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

The bill also contains specific limitations on the authorization to use force, namely action is to be limited to ISIS and its “affiliates,” and specifies that ground troops can only be used to protect Americans and American facilities, and in certain limited offensive operations.

I have my quibbles with this proposal (1), but overall I support the idea. Obama has created a constitutional crisis by pushing the limits of the presidency’s powers past their breaking point. We’re running the risk of passively acquiescing to our transformation from a republic with separate, co-equal branches of government, each with their own powers, to more of a strongman presidential model, such as in France (2).

To prevent that, Congress needs to start acting to jealously guard its prerogatives and assert its status, as Madison described several times in the Federalist Papers. Senator Paul’s bill to declare war may be a good start to redressing the balance.

RELATED: Charles Cooke on why Republicans should not retaliate in kind for Obama’s usurpations. Jay Cost on the proper way to rebuke Obama. Andrew McCarthy on “President Orwell.”

Footnote:
(1) Namely that I believe US “boots on the ground” in offensive operations will be necessary to defeat the new Caliphate; the Arab forces in the area are worthless.
(2) Not that I’m implying that France is a dictatorship — far from it. But the presidency under the Gaullist system is quite a bit more powerful than the legislature.


Endorsed: Bar Obama from making his State of the Union address before Congress

November 21, 2014
The President who would be King

The President who would be King

Since it became apparent that President Obama was about to (and did, last night) usurp the legislature’s authority to write and amend our laws, Republicans and conservatives (and some liberals) have been bandying around several strategies to fight back: some form of defunding, censure, even impeachment.

Writing at Ace of Spades, Drew M. adds a symbolic but very powerful idea: do not let Obama give his State of the Union address before the joint houses of Congress.

There’s one idea I’d like to add that is in many ways symbolic but that would focus the nation on the seriousness of this problem, do not invite Obama to address a joint session of Congress to deliver the State of the Union address.

The Constitution simply requires that “He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Nothing requires that he do so in person. The modern in person State of The Union dates back to Woodrow Wilson but Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon all gave written reports as was the custom from Thomas Jefferson to Wilson.

And Presidents don’t simply show up whenever they please to address the Congress, they must be formally invited. That’s where Boehner and McConnell can strike a blow for the legislature…simply don’t invite him.

Yesterday, Boehner said, “The president had said before that he’s not king and he’s not an emperor,” Boehner says. “But he’s sure acting like one.”

There’s a reason for the reference to the behavior of kings: it’s a part of our history, dating back at least to the crises that gave rise to the English Civil War. In 1642, King Charles I attempted to usurp the powers of the House of Commons by barging in with soldiers to arrest five members. In commemoration of this, the House of Commons slams the doors in the face of Black Rod when he comes to summon them to hear the Queen’s Speech. Nowadays, this is just a ceremonial tradition, a reminder of the Commons’ independence from the Crown.

It is also an echo of a very real crisis.

We are England’s heirs, and Congress is facing its own crisis with an arrogant, usurping Executive. Let Speaker Boehner and (soon to be) Majority Leader McConnell reach deep back into our history and, along with more substantive actions, assert the legislature’s rights as a co-equal branch of government. Refuse our modern King Charles the stage his ego so desperately needs (1).

It’s time to bar the doors.

via Gabriel Malor

Footnote:
(1) Come on, you know Obama’s ego is so brittle that this would drive him nuts. As a narcissist, he craves a stage from which to lecture his inferiors.


Video: Sen. Cruz Invokes Cicero’s Words Against President Obama’s Lawlessness

November 20, 2014

Well-played by Senator Cruz. This Classics fan nods in approval.

Nice Deb

Obamacaligula

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking  Senate floor, Thursday, harkened back to Cicero’s famous warning to the citizens of Rome over 2,000 years ago. The Roman philosopher, Marcus Cicero, was advocating a return to a Republican form of government after the emperor Julius Caesar died. The words, as spoken by Cruz have special resonance today in respect to our current President’s lawlessness.

The text of the speech:

The words of Cicero powerfully relevant 2,077 years later. When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of yours swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the border, do not the watches posted throughout the city, does not the alarm of the people and the union of all good men and women, does…

View original post 364 more words


Barack C. Calhoun, nullifier

November 20, 2014
Obama's inspiration

Obama’s inspiration?

J. Christian Adams, a former attorney with the Department of Justice, makes an interesting comparison in advance of President Obama’s expected Executive Order that would unilaterally rewrite our nation’s immigration laws. Writing at PJMedia, he argues that Obama has adopted the logic of John C. Calhoun, the antebellum South Carolina US Senator and vice-president to Andrew Jackson, that the states can nullify federal laws they disagree with.

Back then in the 1830s, President Jackson vigorously opposed Calhoun’s theory of nullification, and the resulting crisis almost lead to civil war. Now, Adams argues, instead of upholding the law as he is constitutionally bound, President Obama is about to claim the power of nullification for himself:

In announcing a lawless amnesty edict tonight, President Obama is our modern John C. Calhoun.

Elementary school civics class has taught the same thing for two hundred years: Congress makes the laws, the president enforces the laws, the judiciary interprets the laws. The reason this is so is because individual liberty thrives when government is hobbled by division of power. People live better lives when federal power is stymied.

When President Obama announces that he will be suspending laws to bless the illegal presence of millions of foreigners in the United States, he will have adopted the most basic philosophy of John C. Calhoun: some laws can be tossed aside because his ends justify the lawlessness.

Adams also compares Obama to King Charles I, who lost his throne (and his head) in a fight over power with the English Parliament. Others have made that same comparison, seeing the parallels in the struggle between the legislature and the Crown/Executive in 1640, 1689, and 1776. Now we’re in 2014, and another executive is declaring himself superior to the legislature, to have the power to act when it won’t do his will.

The question is, what will the legislature do in return to preserve the constitutional order?

I wish I knew.


Did Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) threaten a presidential coup d’etat?

June 27, 2014
Lackey

Lackey

The topic was immigration, both the current crisis at the border and the Democrats’ desperate desire to have the House pass the comprehensive amnesty bill already approved in the Senate. You can read the whole thing at PJM, but I think the senior senator at Illinois might want to walk this part back:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

“Borrow the power,” Dick? Pray, under what authority would the president, to whom the Constitution assigns no lawmaking power (that’s your job, Dickie-boy), “borrow” the power to “solve the problem,” that is, to make law? What you mean is that he would unilaterally seize the power and abuse his administrative authority and prosecutorial discretion (even more than he already has) to create a new immigration reality (and millions of new Democratic voters, you hope) by fiat. By ukase. By his will, alone.

You call it “borrowing power,” Dick.

A rational person, on the other hand, and not some fawning courtier of a liberal fascist, calls it what it is: dictatorship.

Resign, Dick. You’re a disgrace to your oath of office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Speaker’s Boehner’s meaningless, craven lawsuit

June 25, 2014
"Timid"

“Timid”

Pathetic. Speaker John Boehner announced plans for the House to sue President Obama in court to force him to do his job and enforce the laws. Without being specific about the grounds of the suit, one can safely assume it covers Obama’s non-enforcement of immigration laws along the southwest border and, perhaps, the administration’s unilateral rewrites and illegal waivers of the Affordable Care Act and it’s serial failure to cooperate in the IRS investigations.

Speaking to the press, Boehner added the following:

Boehner strongly brushed aside a question of whether impeachment proceedings could result from the suit. “This is not about impeachment. This is about his (Obama’s) faithfully executing the laws of our country,” he said.

Pardon me a moment; I was rolling my eyes so hard on reading that, I was getting dizzy.

Mr. Speaker, on taking office, every president swears the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The President is Chief Magistrate of the United States, its top federal law-enforcer. “Faithfully execute” means doing that job. If you are suing because the president has broken his oath by not faithfully executing the duties of his office, then you have perforce invoked grounds for impeachment by reason of maladministration.

You’ve said it, so don’t go denying in the next breath what we all know it means. Leave being a weasel to the Democrats.

More:

He also rejected a suggestion that the suit was designed to give traditional Republican voters a reason for going to the polls this fall when control of Congress will be at stake.

“This is about defending the institution in which we serve,” he said. “What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch.”

Argh. The Congress has been surrendering legislative power to the Executive, more under Democrats, less so under Republicans, since the Progressive era. More and more regulatory authority has been given to panels of bureaucrats in the guise of “rule making,” when really it amounts to the power to make law. It’s more accurate to say this process has greatly expanded under Obama, who pushes the bounds like no president has since FDR (or maybe Nixon), but let’s not pretend this hasn’t been going on for a long time. If the Congress were truly interested in “defending its prerogatives,” as Madison intended, it has had plenty of opportunities, but has done so only fitfully.

You want to “defend the institution” in which you serve? Then forget the ridiculous lawsuit (and Senator Paul’s and Senator Johnson’s); you don’t resolve political power struggles between the legislature and the presidency by running crying to the courts (1). You have two powers: cutting off funds and impeachment. The former seems to be ineffective, but you have the latter. As I wrote yesterday:

I’d suggest forming another [House Select Investigating Committee] for the IRS scandal and one for Fast and Furious, both with full subpoena powers and special counsel hired to lead the inquiries. They all should work through the summer and, when done, present their findings to the full House. Forget the Department of Justice; it can’t be trusted with Eric Holder in charge. Instead, the House should impeach whomever is found culpable by the investigations.

While impeaching the President himself isn’t politically practical (yet), his political appointees bear the same responsibility as he: faithful execution of the laws and obedience to the Constitution. If committee investigations find any derelict in their duties, such as top management at the IRS, impeach them, place them on trial before the Senate, and make Harry Reid defend their abuses of power. Fence Obama in by taking away his minions.

That’s how you defend the institution, Mr. Speaker. If you really want to.

Footnote:
(1) For one thing, the courts rely on the Executive to enforce their orders. If you can’t trust Obama to enforce the laws…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bookshelf update — Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment

June 3, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy’s “Faithless Execution: building the case for Obama’s impeachment.”

book cover mccarthy faithless execution

 

Just started it this morning, but I can already tell that it promises to be trenchant, clearly written, and thorough, like all McCarthy’s books. It’s available in both Kindle (1) and hardcover formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


The blazing constitutional ignorance of Markos Moulitsas, aka “Kos”

March 7, 2012

Last night I was following the Super Tuesday election returns on Twitter, kind of bored, when something amazing happened: Markos Moulitsas, the “Kos” of the progressive Daily Kos web site, decided to lecture conservatives on the Constitution and the derivation of our rights.

As you can imagine, the results were hilarious in their historical illiteracy. The man truly has no concept of the origin of rights under Natural Law, or the differences and relation between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In other words, he was the quintessential progressive.

Do yourself a favor and go read my friend Jimmie’s post deconstructing and lampooning Moulitsas in a way that should have Kos crawling under a rock in embarrassment… if he had any shame at all. He does it far better than I could and, rather than repeat what he wrote, I’ll just point you to it.

Enjoy.

PS: Oh, and Markos? If you want, I can recommend some basic US History and Government texts for you. You seem to be in a bit of need, pal…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You know that ObamaCare is in deep trouble

March 1, 2012

When even 56% of Democrats think it’s unconstitutional.

That’s a real achievement you have there, Barry, Nancy, and Harry. Genuine bipartisanship!


More “wisdom” from Justice Ginsburg

February 6, 2012

Last Saturday I wrote about my… “disappointment” at Justice Ginsburg’s dismissive attitude toward using the US Constitution as a model for others. Thanks to a link from Jim Vicevich, I was reminded of one of Madame Justice’s earlier moments of glory, from 2009: her inability to understand why anyone would have a problem with an American judge using foreign law to shape US judicial decisions:

I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law,” Justice Ginsburg said in her comments on Friday.

(…)

Justice Ginsburg said the controversy was based on the misunderstanding that citing a foreign precedent means the court considers itself bound by foreign law as opposed to merely being influenced by such power as its reasoning holds.

“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article written by a professor?” she asked.

She added that the failure to engage foreign decisions had resulted in diminished influence for the United States Supreme Court.

The Canadian Supreme Court, she said, is “probably cited more widely abroad than the U.S. Supreme Court.” There is one reason for that, she said: “You will not be listened to if you don’t listen to others.”

She also offered a theory about why after World War II nations around the world started to create constitutional courts with the power to strike down legislation as the United States Supreme Court has.

“What happened in Europe was the Holocaust,” she said, “and people came to see that popularly elected representatives could not always be trusted to preserve the system’s most basic values.”

American hostility to the consideration of foreign law, she said, “is a passing phase.” She predicted that “we will go back to where we were in the early 19th century when there was no question that it was appropriate to refer to decisions of other courts.”

(Emphasis added)

I’m a helpful, caring sort of guy and I have a great deal of sympathy for confused little old ladies, so let’s see if we can help Justice Ginsburg out, shall we?

First, I suggest she reread the article, with special emphasis on the quote from her colleague, Chief Justice Roberts:

“If we’re relying on a decision from a German judge about what our Constitution means, no president accountable to the people appointed that judge and no Senate accountable to the people confirmed that judge,” Chief Justice Roberts said at his confirmation hearing. “And yet he’s playing a role in shaping the law that binds the people in this country.”

And there’s the key: democratic accountability. While we rightly shield federal judges from base politics and the need to run for office, we can still say with reason that they are accountable to the people because we elect those who appoint and confirm the judges. And, in the worst cases, they can be removed by the people’s representatives.

More directly, US judges rule on laws passed by American legislators who are democratically accountable to the American people, and the US judge operates under rules established by precedent (common law) and legislation (statute and constitutional amendments). He is the heir to an evolving legal and political tradition stretching back over 1,000 years to the origins of trial-by-jury and the field of Runnymede, and coming forward through the development of elected parliaments, separation of powers, and judicial review to form a system that works because it has the legitimacy of the people.

None of that applies to the hypothetical German judge, who works within his own context and whose rulings carry none of that legitimacy here.

I would suggest to Madame Justice that, regardless of what law reviews she chooses to read (and I applaud her desire to broaden her horizons), it is not at all unreasonable or incomprehensible that she or any American judge should be expected to confine her judicial rulings to the law derived from that rich Anglo-American heritage and enacted with democratic legitimacy under the US Constitution.

If she wants to refer to the writings of Edward Coke, great! But a ruling of the French Constitutional Council? Non!

PS:  A “passing phase?” Why does this sound like Justice Ginsburg is telling the rest of us (and her colleagues?) to “grow up?” Oh, wait. That’s because that’s exactly what she is doing, because that’s what progressives do: condescend. We’re just not enlightened enough and too busy clinging bitterly to our old, outdated Constitution to understand progressive, sophisticated jurisprudence.

PPS: And why should a US Justice care how often her court is cited relative to others? What matters is the Court’s legal influence within the United States, not being a finalist in some international judicial beauty contest.

PPPS: Though she did raise an interesting question. I wonder how often foreign law was cited in the Early Republic?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Meet Jim Moran (D-VA), anti-democratic Democrat

October 24, 2011

Let’s be blunt — Democratic pols are having a breakdown as they are forced to face three things: their treasured statist, social democratic policies are an abject failure (1); only a fifth of the nation identifies with the Democrats’ statist philosophy and policies (2); and their leader is a schmuck who is leading them to a massacre in 2012 that will make the Great Shellacking of 2010 look like a walk in the park.

So, having to face the fact that the general voting public doesn’t like them and their policies much and is working within the democratic system to stymie their plans and (eventually, we hope) undo the damage they’ve done, we shouldn’t be surprised when their inner progressive comes out and they decide to say “to heck with the democratic system and the Constitution itself (3), we’ll just rule by decree!

Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran told The Daily Caller on Thursday evening that President Obama should “refinance every home mortgage” without congressional approval in order to “reset the economy.”

“Absolutely, I think [Obama] should do that but there are not a lot of places where he can act unilaterally,” Moran told TheDC during Conservation International’s Oct. 20 dinner in Washington, D.C.

“If he chooses to act unilaterally,” Moran said, “the likelihood is that there will be language in the appropriations bills that will prohibit him from spending money for that purpose. That’s just the political reality. But notwithstanding that, I think he should do everything he can do on his own to stimulate jobs.”

Obama has already asked his Council on Jobs to identify areas of the American Jobs Act that can be implemented without congressional authorization.

Moran told TheDC that he would “like to see” the Obama administration “refinance every home mortgage at three-and-a-half to four percent” interest, which he said can be accomplished without approval from Congress.

“The banks aren’t doing it, but the federal government can borrow money at three-and-a-half percent today. They should use that money to refinance every home mortgage, and that would put $750 billion into homeowners pockets,” he said. “It would reset the economy, and I think it’s the one thing that would most quickly get this economy back on its feet.”

*sigh* 

Not only does Representative Moran want Obama to spend money without authorization, but he wants Obama to borrow nearly another trillion dollars. Let me remind Congressman Moran of Article I, section 8, clause 2 of the United States Constitution, which defines the powers of Congress:

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

Only Congress can borrow money on the credit of the United States; that power is granted to no one else.

And yet James Moran, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Virginia’s 8th district, wants the President of the United States to usurp powers granted only to Congress, because the meanie Republicans are doing what their constituents elected them to do and blocking any more idiotic ideas — such as Jim Moran’s.

May I suggest to Congressman Moran, since he finds the Constitution he swore to uphold and defend such a pain in the rear, that he do the honorable thing and resign?

First it was Governor Perdue (D-NC) advocating suspending congressional elections in 2012. Then it was Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., urging Obama to declare Congress in rebellion. And now Jim Moran wants Obama to borrow and spend money without any concern for the people’s elected representatives.

Professional Democrats have a real problem with democracy, don’t they?

via Ed Morrissey, who exposes the economic stupidity of Moran’s “plan.”

Footnotes:
(1) Cash for Clunkers. The Stimulus act. The CLASS program. The Durbin Amendment to Dodd-Frank. The earlier mortgage bailout.  Their loan programs to the “green companies” of tomorrow (See: Solyndra. Tesla and Fisker). And I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch more.
(2) It’s hard to claim to be the “party of the people” when only one-in-five will even admit to aligning with you.
(3) Well, who can blame them? The document is over 100 years old and it probably confuses the poor dears.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: “Time to declare Congress in rebellion”

October 13, 2011

Because they’re acting like seceding states, or something.

Really, this isn’t parody; the idiot really said it.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.”

Jackson called for full government employment of the 15 million unemployed and said that Obama should “declare a national emergency” and take “extra-constitutional” action “administratively” — without the approval of Congress — to tackle unemployment.

“I hope the president continues to exercise extraordinary constitutional means, based on the history of Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past,” Jackson said. “He’s looking administratively for ways to advance the causes of the American people, because this Congress is completely dysfunctional.”

“President Obama tends to idealize — and rightfully so  — Abraham Lincoln, who looked at states in rebellion and he made a judgment that the government of the United States, while the states are in rebellion, still had an obligation to function,” Jackson told TheDC at his Capitol Hill office on Wednesday.

“On several occasions now, we’ve seen … the Congress is in rebellion, determined, as Abraham Lincoln said, to wreck or ruin at all costs. I believe … in the direct hiring of 15 million unemployed Americans at $40,000 a head, some more than $40,000, some less than $40,000 — that’s a $600 billion stimulus. It could be a five-year program. For another $104 billion, we bailout all of the states … for another $100 billion, we bailout all of the cities,” he said.

There are so many levels of mind-boggling stupidity in this that I don’t know where to begin. “Congress in rebellion?” Um, excuse me, Congressman Jackson, but Congress is a coequal branch of the government and not subservient to a monarch. Under the Constitution (Article 1, Section 1. Try reading it.) it is Congress that has sole law-making power and that includes refusing to pass bills it doesn’t like — including another guaranteed-to-fail Jobs Bill Stimulus Porkulus program.

“Extra-constitutional action?” Seriously? You’re suggesting that the president become a dictator and appropriate money himself, bypassing Congress and Article I? Congressman, let me remind you of your oath:

“I, [Jesse Jackson, Jr.], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Of course, that oath is mandated by Article VI, so I guess it’s irrelevant since you want to suspend the Constitution.

And let’s not even dwell on the odious insult and historical illiteracy inherent in comparing legitimate legislative opposition to secessionists seeking to defend slavery. Don’t bother with economic nonsense that makes up this clown’s “program.” (Bryan Preston points out the huge flaws in the latter.)

No, what really jumps out is that this jackass (and son of an even bigger jackass) is yet another example of anti-democratic Democrats, such as North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue, who suggested calling off the next congressional elections. (Click through for even more examples.)

This is the fundamental contradiction that lies at the heart of the progressive elites who dominate the Democratic Party (and their Big Labor and MSM allies): for all their lip service to the Constitution, our founding principles, and the “American Way,” they really don’t like democracy. As historian Steven Hayward wrote recently when talking about liberal anti-democrats:

At the core of “Progressivism,” as it was called then and is again today, was the view that more and more of the business of individuals and society was best supervised by expert administrators sealed off from the transient pressures of popular politics. So at the same time that Progressives championed “more democracy” in the form of populist initiatives, referendum, and recalls, they also developed a theory deeply anti-democratic in its implications. As the famous phrase from Saint-Simon had it, “the government of men is to be replaced by the administration of things.” But this undermines the very basis of democratic self-rule. No one better typifies the incoherence of Progressivism on this point than Woodrow Wilson, an enthusiastic theorist of the modern administrative state who couldn’t clearly express why we would still need to have elections in the future. In Wilson’s mind, elections would become an expression of some kind of watery, Rousseauian general will, but certainly not change specific policies or the nature of administrative government.

And now that popular democracy has gotten in their way, Democratic leaders yearn for “administrative experts” — bureaucratic dictators.

Glenn Reynolds thinks Jackson should resign over this. Resign, hell. “Representative” Jesse Jackson, Jr., should be brought before the House and expelled for violating his oath.

There is a deep, deep, political sickness at the top of the Democratic Party, and it’s up to us to make sure they never have the reins of power again until it’s cured.

LINK: the YidWithLid and I think alike.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The view from Britain: comparing two constitutions, and our coming choice

September 5, 2011

While writing about the frightening proposal by former German Chancellor (1) Gerhard Schroeder for a fully-formed “United States of Europe,” the Telegraph’s James Delingpole made an astute observation about the differences between the United States Constitution and the European Union’s governing document:

In the US, they have a Constitution (one which the current administration would prefer to ignore, but still) which explicitly guarantees the constituent states in the Union the right to forge their own destiny. They can set their own local tax rates, their own speed limits, their position on social issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and marijuana consumption, and so on. This Constitution is what has made America great and Americans so free: and the two things are very much connected. When, for example, one state falls prey to rampant big government (eg California), there will always be other states offering a different sociopolitical model (eg Texas) – thus enabling free citizens of the Republic to vote with their feet. They will gravitate towards the model which best serves their needs – thus endorsing it – while fleeing the model they find less attractive, thus discrediting it. In this way bad political ideas cannot so easily take root in the US. Not at least so long as the Constitution is respected.

In the European Union, however, the Constitution serves exactly the opposite purpose. It is designed to give the constituent states as little freedom as possible to decide their own destinies; all decisions are deferred upwards to the controlling central authority; and when member states make the “wrong” decision, the EU superpower simply goes ahead and does what it wants regardless.

To give an example of this top-down control, the Library of the House of Commons in the UK estimates that fully half of Britain’s laws come, not from the democratically elected Parliament in London, but as directives handed down by the unelected bureaucracy in Brussels. Schroeder’s proposal, rather than creating a “more perfect union,” would instead cement into place a dictatorship of the nomenklatura.

One can’t help but notice also, and as Delingpole obliquely does above, that the Obama administration would very much like to institute that same Continental Model here — witness the actions of the EPA, the NLRB, and the FCC, just to name a few.

Keep that in mind come November, 2012. We won’t just be choosing a president, but the character of our union.

Footnote:

(1) And also a Putin crony. That should tell us all we need to know.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Greece bans Islamic law

August 25, 2011

Greece and the Greeks have come in for some well-deserved criticism in recent years, first for their insane profligate borrowing and then for throwing a national tantrum and rioting when their creditors demanded they take steps to fix their fiscal mess.

But, give the cradle of democracy, liberty, and Western civilization some credit, too. When given a chance to strike a blow for human freedom, they did it, banning Sharia law:

This Muslim law establishes among others the right of polygamy and gives only to men the right to divorce their wives which constitutes a problem for the women in Thraki, Northern Greece. Even in Turkey, this law was abolished in 1926.

In addition, this law does not comply with the Greek constitution which establishes the equality of Greeks regarding the application of the laws and the equality of men and women. The National Committee on the Human Rights considers that the Shariah does not protect minorities but abuses the rights and values of all the Greek Muslims.

It is also announced that the family and hereditary relations of all Greek citizens will be regulated by Greek Laws. Thus, the Mufti will only be religious leader of Greek Muslims and will no longer have judicial authorities.

Good. Sharia is a barbaric, misogynistic legal code that enshrines inequality under the law and by its nature as (supposedly) divine law stands foursquare against every principle this country was founded on.

As they might say in Athens, Συγχαρητήρια η Ελλάδα! Congratulations, Greece!

Perhaps ironically, this puts Greece ahead of our more immediate democratic forebears in Britain, where Sharia courts have started to operate apparently with official sanction, though not without controversy, and where even the Anglican Archbishop has said that some accommodation to Sharia will have to be made.

Several states in the US have made moves to ban Sharia by forbidding the courts to consider any law not based on the US and state constitutions (1) This  movement has gained steam since a (thankfully overturned) ruling by a district court in New Jersey that refused to grant a woman a restraining order against her husband because Islamic law does not recognize marital rape (2).

In this case, let’s hope the United States emulates Greece, not Great Britain.

via Big Peace

Footnotes:
(1) You would think this would be a given, but even the Supreme Court has a problem with this.
(2) Naturally, the Justice Department has threatened to oppose such laws. No, not because Obama is a “secret Muslim,” but because the Leftist lawyers there have a contempt for state legislatures and can’t resist pandering to identity politics.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Say it with me: “If Bush had done this…”

June 19, 2011

Granted it’s gotten to be a cliché, but, really, just how many times did George W. Bush set the stage for a constitutional crisis?

President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.

A White House spokesman, Eric Schultz, said there had been “a full airing of views within the administration and a robust process” that led Mr. Obama to his view that the Libya campaign was not covered by a provision of the War Powers Resolution that requires presidents to halt unauthorized hostilities after 60 days.

“It should come as no surprise that there would be some disagreements, even within an administration, regarding the application of a statute that is nearly 40 years old to a unique and evolving conflict,” Mr. Schultz said. “Those disagreements are ordinary and healthy.”

Oh, please. First off, the OLC’s opinion is considered a gold standard for determining what’s legal and what isn’t, and presidents and attorney generals have given it great deference. Even the Times article says that their opinions are rarely disregarded. And the process used in this “determination” was suspiciously hinky: typically, the OLC solicits opinions from other departments, weighs them, then gives its opinion as to a proposed action’s legality to the AG and the president.

In this case, however, The White House solicited the opinions itself, making OLC one among many. Obama then accepted the opinion that was most convenient for him. The Times tries the “Obama is a constitutional scholar and is qualified to judge for himself”  argument, but… give me a break. The man was non-tenured faculty and never authored a law-review article nor, as far as I can find, any scholarly article on constitutional questions — and particularly none on the War Powers Act. The idea that he knows the intricacies of the law in this matter, both statutory and constitutional, better than career professionals at the Department of Justice is risible.

That Obama should set aside the opinion of the OLC and the weight traditionally given to it is neither “ordinary” nor “healthy.”

What I don’t get is the “why” behind this bizarre refusal to get Congress’ acquiescence. It’s not as if they’ll say “no.” I guarantee you, the majority of representatives and senator would never, ever want to be seen denying funds to forces in the field. All Obama has to do is provide the reasons why we need to be involved in Libya, and the Congress will practically fall all over itself to give him authorization.

Maybe that’s it? Maybe he isn’t asking for it because he can’t come up with any justification for an operation that has no basis in US national interests or treaty obligations?

Or is this just more of Obama’s arrogance, the Munificent Sun King who refuses to be hobbled by a rabble?

Regardless, he’s potentially buying himself trouble here. While I believe the War Powers Act is unconstitutional, until ruled as such by the Supreme Court, it is the law of the land and Obama is required to obey it. Instead, he shoves a political grapefruit in John Boehner’s face — and that of the left wing of the Democratic Party, supposedly his base. When it comes to the point that Republicans and Democrats are proposing legislation to cut off funds unless the president explains just what-the-heck it is we’re doing there, you know he’s crossed a major line with Congress.

What can I say? He’s a uniter, not a divider.

Of course, the reaction is still relatively mild, so far. I don’t think anyone’s said the nuclear word “impeachment”… yet. But I’m sure Dennis Kucinich is warming up in the wings. And the MSM articles to date have been  relatively mild, more expressing puzzlement and offering tissue-thin explanations (like the Times piece), rather than foaming at the mouth in outrage.

I guess The One still has a reservoir of credit with them, because, had W dissed Congress like this, the press and the networks would have been screaming murder.

And, regardless of the press coverage, this is another example of the anti-democratic arrogance of this Democratic administration, which time and again has bypassed the clearly expressed will of the people’s representatives to do whatever it wants, whether through the EPA, the FCC, the NLRB, a whole raft of czars — or parsing into meaninglessness  words like “hostilities,” in the case of the War Powers Act.

2012 can’t come fast enough.

(Crossposted at  Sister Toldjah)


Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) shows again she is a bigoted dimwit

April 14, 2011

And this time she has company, in the form of two liberal (I assume) radio hosts who join her in mocking people who identify with the Tea Party, and Southerners in general. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

Moe Lane absolutely destroys Sanchez on the factual errors she commits in this interview, such as where most of the new representatives come from, but I want to point out something else: Note the cavalier contempt for conservatives’ concern over the constitutionality of Congress’ actions*. Instead of her showing respect for others’ respect for the document they and she are sworn to defend, Sanchez (and her interlocutors) mock them — and their funny names and accents.

Stupid red necks. Why can’t all y’all be like Loretta and just go along to get along and stop fussin’ yourselves over a silly old piece of parchment?

On the other hand, Loretta fits in perfectly fine with her caucus, the leader of which thinks elections really shouldn’t matter.

This isn’t the first time Congresswoman Sanchez (D-Race Card) has shown herself to be more than willing to play on race and ethnicity to gain an edge: when Arizona passed SB 1070, its bill to enforce federal immigration law that the Fed refused to enforce, Sanchez equated supporters of the bill with White supremacists. (Be sure to see the comments for a full discussion.) And during the 2010 election campaign, Sanchez, a member of the enlightened Democratic Party, went on Spanish-language channel Univision to tell her Hispanic viewers that the Vietnamese community in the district were trying to “steal our seat.” Sadly, she won.

Abraham Lincoln once famously said:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

I’d suggest to the congresswoman that she take Mr. Lincoln’s words to heart, but she passed the point of no return long ago and the secret is out.

PS: Sanchez is a louse, too. She tried to get Representative Gabrielle Giffords kicked off a committee while Giffords was lying in a hospital fighting for her life after being shot in the head.

PPS: And let’s not forget she likely cheated her way into the House, too, on the strength of illegal votes in her 1996 election.

PPPS: Must be a family thing; her sister, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-No Free Speech), sponsored legislation to restrict free speech on the Internet.

*Absolutely accidental alliteration. I swear.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)