At what point will the people of this nation have enough of the illegalities in Washington? The actions taken by the democrat party to push Obamacare through is illegal (offering gov’t jobs in exchange for a favorable vote,) and unconstitutional (violation of Section 7, Article I of the US Constitution.) The dems claim that the Slaughterhouse rule has been used previously by the ‘pubs. Yes, that is true. That doesn’t make it any more constitutional.
The difference is that in those prior examples, BOTH parties recognized the bills would pass anyway by a large margin and neither party was interested in protesting the use of the rule. If the use had been protested, had been brought before the courts, it would have been declared unconstitutional so say a number of constitutional scholars (Chris Kobach, Law Professor, UMKC on KCMO 710 on Friday, March 19th.)
The constitutional scholars at the Heritage Foundation agree with Professor Kobach.
This week, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal released poll  results that are disturbing but by no means surprising. The March 11th – 14th poll of 1000 American adults showed that only 17%  of respondents approve of the job Congress is doing in Washington. And as bad as that number is, the reason why Congress’ approval rating is so low is even more disturbing: a full 76% of Americans simply do not trust the U.S. Congress . This was the lowest level of trust for any representative entity tested by NBC/WSJ.
It is no coincidence that these record low ratings come amid current debate over health care in Congress. Yesterday, former U.S. Attorneys General Edwin Meese III and William P. Barr released the following statement:
The convoluted and questionable method under discussion by both Houses of Congress for final passage of the long-debated health care legislation raises serious constitutional concerns, which, at best, will lead to protracted and wholly avoidable litigation and continued doubt about the bill’s validity. Members of Congress from both parties have criticized the use of such sleights of hand, and The Washington Post has rightly editorialized  against such “unseemly” and “dodgy” maneuvers for the health care bill. Beyond the obvious practical concerns shared by all citizens, the use of such obscure “rules” for final passage is even harder to justify in light of the real constitutional doubt and the erosion of public confidence in government that it will cause.
Contrary to what President Obama and some congressional leaders have been repeating of late, the American people do care passionately that the process for consideration of health care reform be both constitutional and fair. At a bare minimum, article I, sec. 7, cl. 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires that before it becomes law “(1) a bill containing its exact text was approved by a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate approved precisely the same text; and (3) that text was signed into law by the President.” Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 448 (1998).
The “deem and pass” and similar options under consideration in the House of Representatives plainly violate at least the spirit of the Constitution’s bicameralism and presentment requirements. Those constitutional requirements were intended to ensure democratic transparency with a straightforward up-or-down vote in each House on all bills that become law. More importantly, these requirements were designed to ensure that the new national government actually followed “the consent of the governed,” which the Declaration of Independence had declared to the world was the only basis of legitimate government.
The “deem and pass” options under consideration in the House and the subsequent use of a “reconciliation” process that is reserved for budget issues in acts already signed into law further erode confidence in the rule of law. Some past uses of the “deem and pass” or “self-executing” rules raise similar concerns, but none was as convoluted as the proposed use, and significantly, there may have been no one with legal standing to challenge prior uses in court. Many individuals will have standing to challenge any health reform legislation that restructures one-sixth of the American economy, and the contemplated use of the “deem and pass” maneuver in this instance may be combined with questionable procedural steps in the Senate that render it much more subject to challenge.
There is no need to engage in such procedural machinations, and no asserted reason for doing so exists other than to avoid the traditional legislative safeguards in the Senate and to obscure the appearance that Members of the House actually voted for the Senate bill, which is a prerequisite for genuine reconciliation. The constitutional requirement of bicameralism should not be jettisoned under any circumstances—and certainly not for such trivial and partisan reasons.
Members of Congress take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Members should violate neither the letter nor spirit of the Constitution, especially when there is so much at stake, not only as a policy matter, but when the very legitimacy of the legislative process is in question. Given that many parts of the underlying legislation itself raise substantial constitutional concerns, these “unseemly” and “dodgy” procedures underscore the justified concern the American people have that their elected representatives are blatantly disregarding the Constitution, and as a result, undermining the rule of law.
There has always been, at some level, a bit of congressional and constitutional abuse. The current democrat party has raised that abuse to a level not seen since just before the Civil War. If the ‘pubs do not, or cannot remedy that abuse and make any future abuses impossible, we just may have another case where the people of the United States are divided like we were 150 years ago.
Unlike that period, this time the divisions won’t solely be along state lines. Some states have or are in the process of passing legislation that will allow the state to “opt out” of Obamacare under the provisions of Article I, section 8 and of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. I expect more states will join if Obamacare “passes” by any means.
UPDATE: According to FOX news, 36 states have or are in the process of passing legislation against the implementation of Obamacare if it is passed. A growing number of state Attorney Generals are preparing suits to prohibit Obamacare if it is passed.
The walls of unity of our nation are cracking. Once damaged, those walls can never again be as they once were. In the 222 years since the constitution was ratified, the citizens of this nation have never believed (the years of the Civil War aside) that government was not working for their benefit. Recent polls have shown that more than 76% of the people now believe the government cannot be trusted and will do them personal harm.
That poll should be a wake-up call to Congress. But, like lemmings, they ignore the warnings on their mindless rush to the sea.