“God” is superfluous to political requirements 1

Seth Mandel writes at Commentary online:

The fact that the Supreme Court will hear a religious freedom-based challenge to the ObamaCare contraception mandate is the kind of story that possesses significance likely beyond any volume of coverage it will receive. Indeed, while liberal activists will repeatedly try to cast this in the mold of the fictional “war on women,” their own arguments reveal just how far-reaching a definitive ruling on this would be for American religious and political practice. …

Liberals have a curious definition of rights. Last night … the birth-control activist Sandra Fluke [said] on MSNBC …

There’s an attack on allowing employers to be required to provide this insurance coverage on insurance that employees pay for, at the same time that there’s an attack on public availability through clinics.

One more time: [Fluke reckons that] there’s an attack on allowing employers to be required to provide this insurance.

To the left, there is no freedom without government coercion. … That’s the argument the left is running with: they want you to be forced to provide the funding for even their most private activities; only then will you be truly free.

But Fluke isn’t the only one making this argument. … [In] an MSNBC roundtable on the issue … the panelists are panicked at the thought of affording Americans full religious liberty because, essentially, it’s then a slippery slope to protecting all constitutional rights. And then – mayhem, or something:

“This is another reason why we should have moved toward a single payer system of health coverage, because we’re just going to end up with one challenge after another – whether it’s in the courts or outside of the courts – and I just don’t see an end to this,”  [Bob] Herbert submitted.“We’re already on the slippery slope of corporate personhood,” he continued. “Where does it end?”

“Where does it end” is the attention-getter in that comment, but I think Herbert’s plea for single-payer health insurance is just as telling. Put the government in charge of the country’s health care, Herbert argues, because then it will be much more difficult for Americans to “challenge” the government’s infringement on their freedom. It’s not just legal challenges either. Herbert says those challenges can be brought “in the courts or outside of the courts,” the latter perhaps an allusion to the shady world of participatory democracy.

So this is much more than a fight over birth control, or even health insurance. It’s about two fundamentally different views on American constitutional freedoms. Conservatives want those freedoms to be expansive and protected, as the Founders did. Liberals want those freedoms to be curtailed lest … the democratic process imperil the state’s coercive powers.

Thus far we agree with Seth Mandel. We are for individual freedom: the Left (whether it calls itself liberal or progressive or socialist) is not.

Free people can say what they like and do what they like (short of interfering with anyone’s else’s freedom), and that means they can believe anything they like, worship anything they like or nothing at all, make and follow any self-imposed rules they like. They only mustn’t impose their rules on anyone else, or if they’re in a group on anyone outside it.

If the government pays for everyone’s health care, it will claim the right to dictate how everyone must live in order to stay healthy. Paying for health care is the quickest way for a government to become a dictatorship. That is why government should not be the paymaster for health care.

But now the article changes from making good sense to arguing a spurious case for religion as a brake on government power:

The Founders saw religious freedom as elemental to personal liberty in America. But they were not alone in thinking that unimpeded religious worship was a guard against an overly ambitious or arrogant national government. As Michael Burleigh writes about the role of religion in post-French Revolution European politics, with a supporting quote from Edmund Burke:

The political function of religion was not simply to keep the lower orders quiescent, as has been tiresomely argued by generations of Marxists, but also to impress upon those who had power that they were here today and gone tomorrow, and responsible to those below and Him above: “All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society.”

Guarding against ambitious and arrogant government was not at all the point of allowing religious freedom in America. Allowing freedom and establishing participatory democracy set limits on government power, but the idea that the unleashing of all religions was done to ensure some sort of cumulative force for restraint is absurd.

Edmund Burke was an important philosopher of Conservatism. But that assertion of his does not stand up to examination. Were the popes and primates of the Catholic Church ever restrained in the way they exercised their nearly totalitarian power by remembering that they were “here today and gone tomorrow”? That they would have to “account for their conduct” to their Master, Author or whatever else they called their god? No, they were not. Nor did their actions ever suggest that they thought they “ought to be”. They carried on, and expected their successors to carry on, in the well-established tradition of compulsion by terror.

Mandel goes on:

Religion was not the “opiate of the people,” intended to keep them in line. It was, rather, to keep the government in line. This was not a revolutionary idea; it predated the American Constitution, certainly. As Francis Fukuyama writes in The Origins of Political Order: “The existence of a separate religious authority accustomed rulers to the idea that they were not the ultimate source of the law. The assertion of Frederic Maitland that no English king ever believed that he was above the law could not be said of any Chinese emperor, who recognized no law other than those he himself made.”

The medieval Church kept everyone in line, monarchs and people alike, as firmly as it could. It did exercise a brake on the powers of the secular rulers. (One famous example: King Henry II of England felt that he had to submit to the humiliating punishment imposed on him by Pope Alexander III for letting his knights murder Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170.) But it is also true that the secular rulers exercised a brake on the power of the Church. There was a long sustained secular-papal power struggle (manifested notably, for instance, between the Pope-supporting Guelphs and the Emperor-supporting Ghibellines in Italy, a struggle that lasted from the 12th to the 15th centuries).

The Church or the belief in a Heavenly Judge had nothing whatever to do with English kings accepting that the law was above them. Magna Carta held them to it, and it was issued by King John in 1215 without any help from the Church.

Mandel seems to be trying to build a case – which he touches on by mentioning the Founders, but then wanders off it – that the liberty-enshrining Constitution of the United States was a product of the religiousness of those who framed it. The Constitution itself said no such thing. Individuals among the framers may have thought they were carrying out their God’s will when they wrote it – who  can know? But what is certain is that they were inspired by the secular ideas of the Enlightenment – ideas which broke the power of the Churches forever. With all due respect to Edmund Burke – it was especially in post-French Revolution European and American politics that religion had no significant role.

If rulers are to be restrained by anything, it must be by the people they rule: by the democratic process that Mandel himself refers to.

“God” is superfluous to democracy, to justice, and to freedom. In his – ie the Church’s – long reign over Europe, there was no democracy, no justice, and no freedom. And wherever else religion dominates to this day, there is only oppression, injustice, subjugation and fear.

The story of O: becoming a dictator 4

Obama is energetically pursuing his policy of making as many Americans as he can dependent on the government.

This is from the Heritage Foundation:

The imperial Presidency has overturned Congress and the law again. Not content to stop at rewriting immigration policy, education policy and energy policy, yesterday, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the Clinton-era reform. …

Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). … The whole point was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.

This reform was very successful. TANF became the only welfare program (out of more than 70) that promoted greater self-reliance. It moved 2.8 million families off the welfare rolls and into jobs so that they were providing for themselves. Child poverty fell, and single-parent employment rose. Recipients were required to perform at least 20–30 hours per week of work or job preparation activities in exchange for the cash benefit.

Now, Obama’s HHS is claiming that it can waive those work requirements that are at the heart of the law, and without Congress’s consent.

When it established TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from waiver authority. They explicitly did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of HHS bureaucrats. In a December 2001, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service clarified that there was no authority to override work and other major requirements…

But that did not stop the Obama Administration, which has been increasing welfare spending at an alarming rate already. President Obama has added millions to the welfare rolls, and his Administration has come under fire lately for its efforts to expand and add more Americans to the food stamp program. …

Over the past two decades, welfare spending has grown more rapidly than Social Security and Medicare, education, and defense. The TANF reform was one small step in the direction of reducing Americans’ dependence on government programs and getting them back on their feet. Cutting its work component is likely to unnecessarily swell the ranks of welfare recipients and with no way to pay for it.

Heritage experts Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley explained further …:

In the past, state bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest as “work.” These dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those standards, we can expect “work” in the TANF program to mean anything but work. The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama Administration clearly guts the law.

What can be done about a president who breaks the law, whose administration executes his orders in defiance of the legislature?

Will the Supreme Court stop him? Probably not.

This is from Townhall, by Ken Blackwell:

Chief Justice Roberts shows extraordinary deference to the federal government when the actions of the president or Congress are challenged for exceeding federal powers under the authority clauses. …

Part of the consternation from the Obamacare decision was seeing Chief Justice Roberts engage in linguistic gymnastics to ignore Congress’ word choice in writing the statute and the president’s televised vows, upholding the individual mandate as a tax despite 200 years of precedent that penalties are not taxes. …

This reluctance to unapologetically apply judicial review when authority clauses are implicated bodes ill for many current court challenges. There might not be five votes to succeed in challenges to Dodd-Frank, EPA’s cap-and-trade rules, the FCC’s internet-control rules, the recess-appointment challenges, and other power grabs.

Mr. Obama announced on July 6 in Ohio that this election is about a “clash of visions” about the role of government in our lives, arguing for massive entitlements and regulatory controls. If he wins, he will claim a mandate and take federal power to heights we’ve never seen. We can no longer be confident that the Supreme Court will stop him.

Liberty endures only when each branch fully and fearlessly checks and balances the other two branches. Abdicating judicial review empowers President Obama to subvert the Constitution with an imperial presidency, and fundamentally transform the United States to the detriment of future generations.

One remedy of course is to vote Obama out of office.

But if he is not voted out in November, how will the Republic be saved from becoming a full-blown dictatorship?

All changed, changed utterly 5

Why did Chief Justice Roberts betray the hope that a majority of Americans had placed in him to preserve such freedom as they still possessed?

Was it moral cowardice and personal vanity?

Some believe it was. This is from an IBD editorial:

According to a report by CBS News, Roberts switched his position at the same time the White House, the Democratic Senate and their henchmen in the media made a full frontal assault on him.

In an unseemly move that smacked of intimidation, President Obama warned the court it would be “an unprecedented extraordinary step” for the court to overturn his signature health law. The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee singled out Roberts himself. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., mau-maued him to uphold ObamaCare and maintain “the proper role of the judicial branch.”

The Washington media piled on by demonizing Roberts as partisan. The orchestrated campaign to save ObamaCare included reports warning of damage to the court and to Roberts’  reputation if they voided the law.

Unlike many justices, Roberts “pays attention to media coverage,” CBS says, and he’s highly “sensitive” to how he and the court are perceived by the public.

The last thing Roberts wanted was the Congressional Black Caucus branding him racist for denying the first black president his signature achievement.

Suddenly Roberts, sold by the Bush White House as a solid constitutional conservative, went “wobbly.” Anthony Scalia and other conservatives on the bench spent a full month trying to bring him back to his original position.

But Roberts held firm. And conservatives told him he was on his own. They wrote a highly unusual dissent that deliberately ignored his decision. …

He played politics, which is beyond outrageous. Roberts … expanded government power by giving Congress license to impose taxes to regulate behavior.

If Roberts wanted to make the court look politically neutral, he failed miserably. Nothing could be more political than the head of the bench rewriting bad law to avoid appearing political. If Roberts hoped to burnish the court’s reputation, he succeeding only in staining it.

Roberts could have stopped one of the most glaringly unconstitutional laws ever written, and did not.

This is his legacy.

If it is true that he upheld Obama’s socialist health care law for fear of being hated and accused by the Left, and as a result is now hated and accused by the Right, what  has he gained?

His feelings should not have been a factor in his judgment. To be reviled by vile people is a compliment and an honor.

The fear of being hated and reviled is seen by Dennis Prager as so widespread as to account for the success of the Left. He portrays the Left as a cohort of bullies, and the Right as consisting all too largely of cowards.

He writes:

Given how many more Americans define themselves as conservative rather than as liberal, let alone than as left, how does one explain the success of left-wing policies?

One answer is the appeal of entitlements and a desire to be taken care of. It takes a strong-willed citizen to vote against receiving free benefits. But an even greater explanation is the saturation of Western society by left-wing hate directed at the right. The left’s demonization, personal vilification, and mockery of its opponents have been the most powerful tools in the left-wing arsenal for a century.

The Left has labeled its ideological opponents evil. And when you control nearly all of the news media and schools, that labeling works. …

What matters to most of those who speak for the left is not truth. It is destroying the good name of its opponents. That is the modus operandi of the left. …

To protect himself from vilification by the Left was “the overwhelmingly likely motivation of Chief Justice John Roberts to declare the ObamaCare individual mandate constitutional despite his ruling that, as passed, the mandate was in fact unconstitutional.”

[He] and his conservative colleagues on the Supreme Court have been the targets of media and academia vitriol and personal invective for years, and in some cases, decades. But while his conservative colleagues don’t care, Justice Roberts does.

As reported by CBS News:

“Some of the conservatives, such as Justice Clarence Thomas, deliberately avoid news articles on the Court when issues are pending . . . . They’ve explained that they don’t want to be influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal.

“But Roberts pays attention to media coverage. As Chief Justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the Court, and he also is sensitive to how the Court is perceived by the public. ["The public" means liberal media and academics.]

“There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the Court – and to Roberts’ reputation – if the Court were to strike down the mandate.

“Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint.”

[His] change reassure[s] progressives that ridicule, demonization, and character assassination work. With the stakes so high in the forthcoming election, expect it to only increase.

Thomas Sowell does not deny that motives of cowardice and vanity moved Roberts, but thinks the question of motive is “ultimately irrelevant”. What he accuses Roberts of is dereliction of duty.

Roberts was wrong in assessing where his duty lay.

Sowell writes:

Betrayal is hard to take, whether in our personal lives or in the political life of the nation. …

Chief Justice John Roberts need fear no such fate because he has lifetime tenure on the Supreme Court. But conscience can be a more implacable and inescapable punisher — and should be. …

The Chief Justice probably made as good a case as could be made for upholding the constitutionality of ObamaCare by defining one of its key features as a “tax.”

The legislation didn’t call it a tax and Chief Justice Roberts admitted that this might not be the most “natural” reading of the law. But he fell back on the long-standing principle of judicial interpretation that the courts should not declare a law unconstitutional if it can be reasonably read in a way that would make it constitutional, out of “deference” to the legislative branch of government.

But this question, like so many questions in life, is a matter of degree. How far do you bend over backwards to avoid the obvious, that ObamaCare was an unprecedented extension of federal power over the lives of 300 million Americans today and of generations yet unborn? 

These are the people that Chief Justice Roberts betrayed when he declared constitutional something that is nowhere authorized in the Constitution of the United States.

John Roberts is no doubt a brainy man, and that seems to carry a lot of weight among the intelligentsia — despite glaring lessons from history, showing very brainy men creating everything from absurdities to catastrophes. Few of the great tragedies of history were created by the village idiot, and many by the village genius.

This Supreme Court ruling that the conservative Chief Justice Roberts shockingly swung to uphold the socialist health care law, consummates the tragic story of  “the decline of individual freedom in America, and the wrecking of the best medical care in the world”.

And instead of confirming the Constitution, controverts it.

There are many speculations as to why Chief Justice Roberts did what he did, some attributing noble and far-sighted reasons, and others attributing petty and short-sighted reasons, including personal vanity. But all of that is ultimately irrelevant.

What he did was betray his oath to be faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Who he betrayed were the hundreds of millions of Americans — past, present and future — whole generations in the past who have fought and died for a freedom that he has put in jeopardy, in a moment of intellectual inspiration and moral forgetfulness, 300 million Americans today whose lives are to be regimented by Washington bureaucrats, and generations yet unborn who may never know the individual freedoms that their ancestors took for granted.

Some claim that Chief Justice Roberts did what he did to save the Supreme Court as an institution from the wrath – and retaliation – of those in Congress who have been railing against Justices who invalidate the laws they have passed. Many in the media and in academia have joined the shrill chorus of those who claim that the Supreme Court does not show proper “deference” to the legislative branch of government.

But what does the Bill of Rights seek to protect the ordinary citizen from? The government! To defer to those who expand government power beyond its constitutional limits is to betray those whose freedom depends on the Bill of Rights.

John Roberts has betrayed the people who looked to him to preserve the freedom the Bill of Rights granted them. He has validated a law that changes everything the United States of America was founded on and for.

On this Independence Day, that is the tragic fact Americans have to face, assimilate, and adjust to. They have been changed into a different kind of nation.

One judge, two identities 1

Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust

Die eine will sich von der andern trennen

(Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast

The one would sever itself from the other)

- Goethe: Faust I.

We deplore the ruling of the Supreme Court, issued yesterday, that upholds Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Why did Chief Justice Roberts, whose vote decided whether the tyrannous law should stand or fall, vote to let it stand?

A plausible – but not consoling – explanation is offered by Charles Krauthammer.

He writes:

Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of ObamaCare. How? By pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time. 

He managed to uphold the central conservative argument against ObamaCare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law — and thus prevented the court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration.

Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities.

Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative.

Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the court’s legitimacy, reputation and stature.

As a conservative, he is as appalled as his conservative colleagues by the administration’s central argument that ObamaCare’s individual mandate is a proper exercise of its authority to regulate commerce. That makes congressional power effectively unlimited. Mr. Jones is not a purchaser of health insurance. Mr. Jones has therefore manifestly not entered into any commerce. Yet Congress tells him he must buy health insurance — on the grounds that it is regulating commerce. If government can do that under the Commerce Clause, what can it not do?

But now government can do it not under the Commerce Clause, thanks to the ruling. Mr. Jones can be ordered to do anything, and be fined if he doesn’t, on the grounds that the fine is a tax.

“The Framers … gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” writes Roberts. Otherwise you “undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers.”

That’s Roberts, philosophical conservative.

But he lives in uneasy coexistence with Roberts, custodian of the court, acutely aware that the judiciary’s arrogation of power has eroded the esteem in which it was once held …

National health care has been a liberal dream for a hundred years. It is clearly the most significant piece of social legislation in decades. Roberts’ concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as high-handedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

How to reconcile the two imperatives — one philosophical and the other institutional? Assign yourself the task of writing the majority opinion. Find the ultimate finesse that manages to uphold the law, but only on the most narrow of grounds — interpreting the individual mandate as merely a tax, something generally within the power of Congress.

Result? The law stands, thus obviating any charge that a partisan court overturned duly passed legislation. And yet at the same time the Commerce Clause is reined in. By denying that it could justify the imposition of an individual mandate, Roberts draws the line against the inexorable decades-old expansion of congressional power under the Commerce Clause fig leaf. 

Law upheld, Supreme Court’s reputation for neutrality maintained. Commerce Clause contained, constitutional principle of enumerated powers reaffirmed.

That’s not how I would have ruled. I think the “mandate is merely a tax” argument is a dodge, and a flimsy one at that. (The “tax” is obviously punitive, regulatory and intended to compel.) Perhaps that’s not how Roberts would have ruled had he been just an associate justice, and not the chief. But that’s how he did rule.

ObamaCare is now essentially upheld. There’s only one way it can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress.

So it is up to the voters to decide in November whether they want a government that is their master or their servant.

To choose between tyranny and freedom.

Good riddance! 0

In an article titled Good Riddance, Thomas Sowell rebukes the Republican Party for its weak inclination when in power to govern like Democrats, in this candid assessment of the harm retiring Justice Stevens, a President Ford appointee, has done:

When Supreme Court Justices retire, there is usually some pious talk about their “service,” especially when it has been a long “service.” But the careers of all too many of these retiring jurists, including currently retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, have been an enormous disservice to this country.

Justice Stevens was on the High Court for 35 years– more’s the pity, or the disgrace. Justice Stevens voted to sustain racial quotas, created “rights” out of thin air for terrorists, and took away American citizens’ rights to their own homes in the infamous “Kelo” decision of 2005. … In the Supreme Court case of Kelo v. City of New London … Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the Supreme Court opinion that expanded the Constitution’s authorization of seizing private property for “public use” to seizing private property for a “public purpose.” And who would define what a “public purpose” is? Basically, those who were doing the seizing. … Just who was this provision of the Constitution supposed to restrict? Answer: government officials. And to whom would Justice Stevens defer: government officials. Why would those who wrote the Constitution waste good ink putting that protection in there, if not to protect citizens from the very government officials to whom Justice Stevens deferred?

John Paul Stevens is a classic example of what has been wrong with too many Republicans’ appointments to the Supreme Court. The biggest argument in favor of nominating him was that he could be confirmed by the Senate without a fight.

Democratic presidents appoint judges who will push their political agenda from the federal bench, even if that requires stretching and twisting the Constitution to reach their goals.

Republicans too often appoint judges whose confirmation will not require a big fight with the Democrats. You can always avoid a fight by surrendering, and a whole wing of the Republican party has long ago mastered the art of preemptive surrender.

The net result has been a whole string of Republican Justices of the Supreme Court carrying out the Democrats’ agenda, in disregard of the Constitution. John Paul Stevens has been just one.

There may have been some excuse for President Ford’s picking such a man, in order to avoid a fight, at a time when he was an unelected President who came into office in the wake of Richard Nixon’s resignation in disgrace after Watergate, creating lasting damage to the public’s support of the Republicans.

But there was no such excuse for the elder President Bush to appoint David Souter, much less for President Eisenhower, with back-to-back landslide victories at the polls, to inflict William J. Brennan on the country.

In light of these justices’ records, and in view of how long justices remain on the court, nominating such people was close to criminal negligence.

If and when the Republicans return to power in Washington, we can only hope that they remember what got them suddenly and unceremoniously dumped out of power the last time. Basically, it was running as Republicans and then governing as if they were Democrats, running up big deficits, with lots of earmarks and interfering with the market.

But their most lasting damage to the country has been putting people like John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.

Speaking of secession 18

The great divide between those who want socialism and those who want freedom is unbridgeable. The federal government is imposing socialism, the American people are determined to resist it. What remedies do the people have?

A year ago, Governor Rick Perry mentioned the possibility that Texas might secede from the union, but added that he “saw no reason why it should”.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax “tea party” Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states’ rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”

An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall — one of three tea parties he was attending across the state — that officials in Washington have abandoned the country’s founding principles of limited government. He said the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt. …

Later, answering news reporters’ questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Washington has continued to “thumb its nose” at the people. Now 13 [update, 18] states, including Texas, are suing the federal government over issues raised by the health care legislation it pushed through against the will of the majority of Americans. And there is talk of 37 states doing so.

Is secession again in the air?

The Tea Party movement is named to revive the memory of revolutionary secession.

Walter Williams, not for the first time, raises the topic of secession, considers the idea favorably, and comes close to advocating it – though he stops just short of doing so.

Ten years ago I asked the following question in a column titled “It’s Time To Part Company”:

“If one group of people prefers government control and management of people’s lives and another prefers liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?”

The problem that our nation faces is very much like a marriage where one partner has broken, and has no intention of keeping, the marital vows. Of course, the marriage can remain intact and one party tries to impose his will on the other and engage in the deviousness of one-upmanship. Rather than submission by one party or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.

I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. 

The Democrat-controlled Washington is simply an escalation of a process that has been in full stride for at least two decades. There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways.

You say, “Williams, what do you mean by constitutional abrogation?” Let’s look at just some of the magnitude of the violations.

Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution lists the activities for which Congress is authorized to tax and spend. Nowhere on that list is authority for Congress to tax and spend for: prescription drugs, Social Security, public education, farm subsidies, bank and business bailouts, food stamps and other activities that represent roughly two-thirds of the federal budget.

Neither is there authority for congressional mandates to the states and people about how they may use their land, the speed at which they can drive, whether a library has wheelchair ramps and the gallons of water used per toilet flush.

The list of congressional violations of both the letter and spirit of the Constitution is virtually without end. Our derelict Supreme Court has given Congress sanction to do anything upon which they can muster a majority vote.

James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, explained in Federalist Paper No. 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.”

Americans who wish to live free have several options. We can submit to those who have constitutional contempt and want to run our lives. We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed and death in an attempt to force America’s tyrants to respect our liberties and human rights. We can seek a peaceful resolution of our irreconcilable differences by separating.

Some independence movements, such as our 1776 war with England and our 1861 War Between the States, have been violent, but they need not be. In 1905, Norway seceded from Sweden; Panama seceded from Columbia (1903), and West Virginia from Virginia (1863). Nonetheless, violent secession can lead to great friendships. England is probably our greatest ally.

The bottom-line question for all of us is: Should we part company or continue trying to forcibly impose our wills on one another? My preference is a restoration of the constitutional values of limited government that made us a great nation.

He lies! 1

President Obama has no respect for the truth.

John Ellis has posted a long list of his lies at Front Page.

And Erick Erickson provides a list of lobbyists who are serving in his administration even as Obama continues to claim falsely that he’s ‘excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions’.

Obama  is not merely an occasional liar as politicians tend to be. He apparently lies as a matter of habit, and with such conviction that he probably believes his own whoppers as he tells them. This characteristic dishonesty is one of the many facts about him that make him unfit for the office he holds.

Now Hans von Spakovsky, who has served on the Federal Election Commission, writes at The Foundry of the Heritage Foundation:

The two claims President Obama made [in his State of the Union speech] about  the Court’s decision … in the Citizens United case are categorically and undeniably false.

President Obama claimed that the Supreme Court had “reversed a century of law to open the floodgates – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections.” Justice Alito seemed to shake his head and mouth the words “not true.” And well he should.

First of all, the 100-year claim is completely wrong. In 1907, Congress passed the Tillman Act that banned direct contributions by corporations to federal candidates – there was no ban on independent political expenditures in the law. “Contributions” are funds given directly to candidates for their election campaigns; independent expenditures are funds spent by third parties on things like political advertisements without any coordination with the candidate.

The Tillman Act was sponsored by South Carolina Senator Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, probably the most vicious racist to ever serve in Congress. Tillman was a Democratic segregationist who was chiefly responsible for the imposition of Jim Crow in South Carolina after the end of Reconstruction when he was governor. This federal law, that so-called “progressives” like the President are constantly praising, was intended by Tillman to hurt the Republican Party – the party of abolition and Abraham Lincoln – because many corporations contributed to the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party. These corporations did not like segregation in the South – it cost them money and made it more expensive to sell their goods and services.

Congress did not ban independent political expenditures by corporations and labor unions until 1947. For three decades after the passage of that law, the Supreme Court went out of its way to avoid upholding its constitutionality, and the Court actually struck down a separate ban on independent expenditures … It was not until 1990 in the Austin case that the Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld a state ban on independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation (a trade association) in a case completely at odds with prior precedent. The actual electioneering communications provision at issue in the Citizens United case was part of the McCain-Feingold amendments to federal campaign finance law in 2002.

While the Supreme Court in Citizens United found that the corporate ban on independent political expenditures is unconstitutional, it did not touch the ban on direct contributions to federal candidates. That is the ban that represents “a century of law” and it remains in force today contrary to the President’s assertion.

The President’s second point about those evil foreign corporations is also totally wrong. … It is simply not true that Citizens United freed foreign corporations to make independent expenditures in American elections… Under current law, there are multiple layers of protection to prevent foreign influence on our elections. …

Foreign corporations are prohibited from participating in American elections. But their domestic subsidiaries that are American companies, employ American workers, have American officers, and pay American taxes, are able to participate in the American election process to the same extent as other U.S. companies as long as all of the money and all of the decisions are American. …

The Citizens United decision did not even consider this ban on foreign nationals.

So the President was completely out-of-line when he made the claim that foreign corporations would be able to spend without limit in our elections, a claim that seems to have become a talking point for critics of the Supreme Court’s decision.

The President should know better than to make these false claims. After all, he taught a voting rights class at the University of Chicago that loosely covered campaign finance law, and his new White House counsel is Bob Bauer, probably the leading Democratic campaign finance lawyer in Washington. Bauer even wrote one of the only books that exists explaining the nuts and bolts of federal campaign finance law.

The President owes Justice Alito and the other justices of the Supreme Court an apology for completely mischaracterizing their opinion, an opinion that helped restore the full protections of the First Amendment. It was a decision that upheld some of our most basic principles, principles about the freedom to engage in political speech that are incorporated into the Constitution, a document that the critics of this decision seem all to willing to ignore when its requirements don’t fit their political objectives.

Posted under Commentary, Law, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 29, 2010

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Amending scientific laws 0

From PowerLine:

In 2007, the Supreme Court decided that carbon dioxide should be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. It therefore held that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had not only the power but the duty to regulate this gas. Thus, nine unelected individuals issued, in effect, a directive to the executive branch.

Yesterday, the bureaucrats at the EPA announced that carbon dioxide and several other gases pose a danger to the environment and the health of Americans and that, accordingly, EPA would begin writing regulations to reduce emissions. EPA’s administrator added, however, that she would prefer that Congress pass legislation to accomplish the same task.

Thus, the executive branch, in response to a directive from judges, is now attempting to pressure Congress into taking action that, from all appearances, Congress does not want to take.

If this is democracy, it seems like a new kind of democracy.

Not only that, but what makes the Supreme Court an arbiter of scientific proof? It should have refused to hear the 2007 case on the grounds that it is incompetent to judge it.

Now the EPA has been granted dictatorial powers to meddle in every American’s private life. A government that does that is asking for mutiny.

Sotomayor – dumb or dishonest 0

From The Volokh Conspiracy (find it here) yesterday:

On the Federalist Society Online Debate on the Sotomayor hearings, Mike Seidman–a cofounder and intellectual leader of the Critical Legal Studies movement in the 1980s–is brutally candid in his opinion of Judge Sotomayor’s testimony today:

Speaking only for myself (I guess that’s obvious), I was completely disgusted by Judge Sotomayor’s testimony today. If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally unqualified. How could someone who has been on the bench for seventeen years possibly believe that judging in hard cases involves no more than applying the law to the facts? First year law students understand within a month that many areas of the law are open textured and indeterminate—that the legal material frequently (actually, I would say always) must be supplemented by contestable presuppositions, empirical assumptions, and moral judgments. To claim otherwise—to claim that fidelity to uncontested legal principles dictates results—is to claim that whenever Justices disagree among themselves, someone is either a fool or acting in bad faith. What does it say about our legal system that in order to get confirmed Judge Sotomayor must tell the lies that she told today? That judges and justices must live these lies throughout their professional careers?

Perhaps Justice Sotomayor should be excused because our official ideology about judging is so degraded that she would sacrifice a position on the Supreme Court if she told the truth. Legal academics who defend what she did today have no such excuse. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted under Commentary, Law, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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Be lame, be blind, be poor, or else be armed 2

Coomenting on the Sotomayor nomination, Ben Shapiro writes (in part) in Townhall: 

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama nominated Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 54, a graduate of Yale Law School and a liberal rewriter of the Constitution, to replace Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. The pick is a bad one primarily because Sotomayor is the living embodiment of legal realist theory: She makes decisions based on her own political and social experiences.

As Sotomayor puts it, judges should consider their “experiences as women and people of color” while hearing cases, and those experiences should “affect our decisions.” And Latinas are especially qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, according to Sotomayor: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

In short, Sotomayor believes that law, like beauty, is entirely in the eye of the beholder. It is therefore of vital importance which beholders are sitting on the Supreme Court. Judicial philosophy is irrelevant, in this view; the only true judicial philosophy is personal philosophy.

The idea of impartial justice – law courts, juries, advocates for the defense, rules of evidence – is quintessentially masculine. Being as nearly empty of emotion as any societal human activity can be, it is not what most women and the political left feel comfortable with.

Justice can never be perfect, but the pursuit of it is an indispensible necessity if civil societies are to exist at all.

There are signs that the United States under the rule of the left may be giving up the pursuit of objective justice and replacing it with a competition for pity, so that criminals and civil litigants will make their cases not by presenting facts and argument but by striving to wring tears from their fellow citizens. Those who make the most abject spectacle of themselves and present a list of the most pathetic miseries will gain the ruling in their favor – provided that the fellow citizen authorized to pronounce the verdict is someone of the accused or plaintiff’s own sex, race, and economic class, otherwise how could the ‘judge’ be expected to understand the quality of the emotional self-expression underlying the crime or dispute?

What will be the result of this change?  Rather than trust the feelings of some sentimental lady on a bench, we will be compelled to take justice in our hands, keep ourselves perpetually armed, and make no contract that we cannot ourselves enforce by credible threats of vengeance.

So let ‘s do the worst we can for ourselves, invite affliction, or let’s go and buy guns while we still may.  

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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