Ruler of Law

Barak Obama, in a radio interview recorded in 2001 states his desire that courts break away from the constraints of the Constitution. Can we really be sure he believes in the “rule of law”?

One focus of this concern for Obama's commitment to the capacity of the people to decide their own fate in the making of law rest in his attitudes toward the "Fairness Doctrine". Though Obama's campaign has stated he does not support a return of the Fairness Doctrine, those things he does support regarding media (see the same article) are radical enough. Besides, should Democrat-controlled Congress, pushed on by strident liberal voices, decide to reinstate the rule, would he veto the effort? Not likely.

What sort of coverage could we expect after that of the great issues of the day? Bland at best.

Why the concern? The rule of law is a tenet of Western civilization. The phrase itself has been so poorly taught that few understand the logic in which it is founded. We all know the law is imperfect. It is, when practiced honestly, though, evenly imperfect for everyone in society. It is supposed to apply to rich and poor alike. The biblical Book of Daniel makes mentions of the "law of the Medes and Persians" as a wonder of immutable law even kings could fall prey to. This is the pretext of the biblical story of Daniel in the Lion's Den, (Daniel 6) in which a King is tricked into signing an order he can't rescind.

The theory of rule of law is that people are provided a better defense of fundamental rights when the law is not capricious, applies to rich and poor alike, and can be understood by any educated person. In the United States we have the additional protection that elected representatives of the people enact laws, supposedly under strict limitations of the Constitution. Until the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt Supreme Courts guarded the limitations of the Constitution very closely, largely limiting changes to those made by the amendment process. Since that time, however, Supreme Courts have read implied powers into the Constitution well beyond the enumerated powers written there. Therein lies the concern conservatives have with attitudes such as the ones expressed in Obama's 2001 interview.

The two principle protection the people have for their rights are the power of information provided in an unfettered press and the power to limit the powerful with legislation. Obama, by expressing his frustration with the "negative liberties" of the Constitution, shows a desire for a court that can step beyond the people's power to limit government, with as few as five people consenting to a potentially radical course of action. Democrats, by revealing a desire to muzzle conservative voices, show that an unfettered media thwarts their goals for greater power.

The means are present in the Constitution for altering the text to allow any manner of governmental action. A leader need only convince the people of the need to do so and their concerted desire can be reflected in legislative action. That the people are resistant to such changes only proves how dangerous judicial fiat like that advocated by Barak Obama is.

In point of fact the court that can change the Constitution by a simple majority is the easiest way to effect a slow, inexorable, coupe d'etat.

I'm biased, sure, but I fear that is what an Obama presidency and unchecked Democratic majority will eventually buy us.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at October 28, 2008 11:14 AM
Comments
Comment #268549

Ah, the precious ‘rule of law’. Republicans are STRONG believers in the rule of law…until their aides are served Congressional subpoenas - and all of a sudden the ‘rule of law’ doesn’t apply to them…as Bush and Palin have both shown by their refusal to allow their aides to testify.

Have ANY Democratic presidents or governors EVER had their aides refuse Congressional subpoenas? EVER?

AND THEN THERE’S Bush and the ‘Patriot Act’. When Republican Congressional leaders approached Bush and told him that the Patriot Act contained ‘unconstitutional elements’, what was Bush’s reply? “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It’s just a god****ed piece of paper!”

And that’s not even addressing crimes committed by DeLay, Stevens, Foley, Craig, those in the Abramoff scandal…need I go on?

Lee - see if you can dig up some examples of Democratic presidents or governors refusing to allow their aides to respond to Congressional subpoenas. Even ONE example, okay?

And while you’re at it, tell us some more about the high Republican regard for the Constitution and the ‘rule of law’.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 28, 2008 12:03 PM
Comment #268551

Obama was explaining in detail why the courts should not get into that business of ‘redistributing’ wealth. Obama’s point – and what he called a tragedy – was that legal victories in the Civil Rights led too many people to rely on the courts to change society for the better. That view is shared by conservative judges and legal scholars across the country.

So Obama was arguing that the Constitution protects negative liberties and that the civil rights movement was too court-focused to make any difference in addressing income inequality, as opposed to formal constitutional rights. So it seems to me that this statement is actually a conservative one about the limits of judicial activism. Is this really all McCain has left?

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/27/fear-of-a-anti-capitalist-planet/

Saying that the courts did not exceed the Constitution does not equal a wish that that they had.

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 28, 2008 12:15 PM
Comment #268556

Lee,
How easy is it for the Republican Party to hide behind the Rule of Law when by their own deeds and words they have given this Unl;earned Unbridled Anti-Authoritarian Child of the 70’s by Freewill & Self-Nature a Politically correct Argument not of my own creation?

So why the McCain/Palin ticket may have the guaranteed civil and constitutional rights to hood wink their own members about the rights of individuals I wonder if they and their Lawyers would like to explain to the Courts of the Land why their policies would limit me and my stockholders on the economically viable and financially independent consumers that my business can have?

So please keep pushing the fact that Obama being a Constitutional Lawyer has discovered what this Child of the 70’s has known to be right regardless for the last 30 some years. Especially seeing that President Bush when he was head of the Republican Party agreed with Al Qaeda that no one could figure out what the Elders and Powers-that-Be of the 70’s meant when they got the Community Elders to agree that the Sky was the limit.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at October 28, 2008 1:03 PM
Comment #268558

Glenn wrote; “And while you’re at it, tell us some more about the high Republican regard for the Constitution and the ‘rule of law’.

When liberals disagree but can’t back up their reason for disagreement they do what Glenn has done and point to past real or imagined abuses.

“One of the biggest and most long-lasting “change” to expect if Barack Obama becomes President of the United States is in the kinds of federal judges he appoints. These include Supreme Court justices, as well as other federal justices all across the country, all of whom will have lifetime tenure.

Senator Obama has stated very clearly what kinds of Supreme Court justices he wants— those with “the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”

Like so many things that Obama says, it may sound nice if you don’t stop and think— and chilling if you do stop and think. Do we really want judges who decide cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law?

If the case involves a white man versus a black woman, should the judge decide that case differently than if both litigants are of the same race or sex?

The kind of criteria that Barack Obama promotes could have gotten three young men at Duke University sent to prison for a crime that neither they nor anybody else committed.

Didn’t we spend decades in America, and centuries in Western civilization, trying to get away from the idea that who you are determines what your legal rights are?

What kind of judges are we talking about?

A classic example is federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who could have bankrupted a small New Jersey town because they decided to stop putting up with belligerent homeless men who kept disrupting their local public library. Judge Sarokin’s rulings threatened the town with heavy damage awards, and the town settled the case by paying $150,000 to the leading disrupter of its public library.

After Bill Clinton became president, he elevated Judge Sarokin from the district court to the Circuit Court of Appeals. Would President Barack Obama elevate him— or others like him— to the Supreme Court? Judge Sarokin certainly fits Obama’s job description for a Supreme Court justice.

A court case should not depend on who you are and who the judge is. We are supposed to be a country with “the rule of law and not of men.” Like all human beings, Americans haven’t always lived up to our ideals. But Obama is proposing the explicit repudiation of that ideal itself.”

“The Constitution of the United States will not mean much if judges carry out Obama’s vision of the Constitution as “a living document”— that is, something that judges should feel free to change by “interpretation” to favor particular individuals, groups or causes.”

Link; http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/10/28/obama_and_the_law?page=1

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #268559
Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


————————————————————————————————————————


Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


————————————————————————————————————————

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Negative. As in, forbidding the government powers and rights. Rather than say all citizens have the right to free speech, we say that the government cannot make laws that do certain things. Rather than saying that the government must get a warrant to make legitimate searches, we say that it can’t get them unless it meets certain criteria. It’s amazing that the strict constructionist constitutionally correct conservative community is misinterpreting that part of his argument.

Obama talking about the negative rights like those, rights like those in the fourteenth amendment which say that

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

or the Fifteenth amendment:

. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

rights which form the constitutional basis of civil rights laws.

The Republicans, in their desperation, are resorting to outright misinterpretations of Obama’s use of technical terms in order to paint him as somehow radical.

The trouble is, his point was that blacks should not be relying on court cases to lift up their communities, that they would have to go beyond the affirmation of laws that prevented discrimination in order to build better lives.

And isn’t that what your people have been saying? It is superbly ironic that Barack Obama makes a strict constructionist argument that tells blacks that they have to bring businesses into their community, and you guys try to use it to prove what a radical leftist he is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 1:39 PM
Comment #268560

Speaking of interpretation of the 2nd amendment, an article was just published demonstrating that findings of the Lott study (Lott, Jr., J. R. (2000), More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws (2nd ed.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press.) on reducing murder rates in shall-issue states was all due to regression to the mean, something I said when it first came out. The Lott study, often cited by advocates of shall-issue laws as proving it does more good than harm, is the only study that draws that conclusion as opposed to many, many that show the opposite. This latest article should put the last nail in the coffin of those arguments.

The article itself, published in the latest issue of the American Statistician (vol. 62, number 4, pp. 289-295) was written by a colleague of mine and is a brilliant statistical reanalysis of the data, taking into account regression to the mean, and it shows that the relative risk of murder GOES UP when states move to shall-issue laws. I quote the conclusions:

We find that controlling for regression to the meanchanges the sign of the estimated intervention effect on murder rate slopes from negative to positive, has strong impact on statistical significance, and gives no support to the hypothesis that shall-issue laws have beneficial effects in reducing murder rates.

Posted by: mental wimp at October 28, 2008 1:52 PM
Comment #268561

Barack Obama’s tax plans are all about punishing success and rewarding failure. He understands that if it weren’t for failures, Democrats would be scrounging in the alleys for votes.”

For more good reading about Decoding Barack go here; http://townhall.com/columnists/NealBoortz/2008/10/27/decoding_barack?page=1

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 1:52 PM
Comment #268562

I also like the idea of “conservatives” trying to call a former president of the Harvard Law Review and professor of constitutional law out on constitutional law. It gives me giggles.

Posted by: mental wimp at October 28, 2008 1:58 PM
Comment #268563

Keep trying Lee,
One of these days you just might make a point that Stephen or Phx8 don’t completely blow out of the water. Maybe a tiny one.

Posted by: Schwamp at October 28, 2008 2:00 PM
Comment #268564

Jim M-
First: do conservative publications and pundits have much credibility with folks outside your political circles?

Second: Do you have an original response to the commentary here, or do you just give out links to conservative pundits?

Third: Hasn’t it occured to you just how conveniently evil the Democrats are in all these arguments about who the real Barack Obama is?

Like I said before: the rich will get the money, one way or another. the Poor and Middle Class spend most of their income, which means it gets funnelled up and concentrated into people’s hands anyway. Obama’s redistribution, unlike McCain’s, puts the money into the system at its most dynamic point, not at its point of slowest motions. The rich will get their money. What they might also get are more customers paying better.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 2:03 PM
Comment #268565

Mental Wimp,
It is kind of amusing.

I’m really enjoying the people inside the McCain campaign who are going after Palin. Today one of them called her a “whack job.” That’s pretty funny, a political campaign calling its own VP candidate a “whack job”! Really, that’s just priceless.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #268567

It’s clear to see that so many conservative posters are getting frustrated…and a little scared maybe. Like Jim M….is yelling a lot these days.
Just keep up your good work phx8…and tenacious, but patient Stephen.

Posted by: janedoe at October 28, 2008 2:14 PM
Comment #268569

Jim M,
You state that Obama wants to punish the success and punish the failure with his tax plan. Well, seeing that I use to make 2-3 times the money under Clinton than I have under Bush I do believe that the Republicans need to be punished for limiting the number of customers that is able to spend their disposable income over the last 8 years. However, seeing that it would be wrong to punish all Republicans for their foolishness of their leaders. I support the top 20% getting a tax increase. In fact, if this Independent Citizen would be allowed to have my way, the top 20% should pay for the entire 52 Trillion National Debt since they have enjoyed the benifits of society while the Poor has watched their purchase power as consumers decrease over the same period of time.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at October 28, 2008 2:16 PM
Comment #268570

Henry,

I don’t speak for the Republican Party. I speak as a conservative who has been advocating for the rule of law my entire adult life. I like is no more when Republicans violate it than when Democrats do so. What I see, though, is that the judges Republicans nominate to the court are less likely to make up their own law than are the Democrat nominated judges.

Will Republicans violate the Constitution? Yes, they will. Will Democrats violate the Constitution? Yes they will. Republican’s, though, do a somwhat better job of living with the letter of the thing. That is a small advantage to the people when we throw the dice.

Lawn Boy,
If that’s really what Obama is saying he is a remarkably poor wordsmith.

Glenn,
We could play lawbreaker tit-for-tat all day long. Dan Rostenkowski, William Jefferson, Jim Wright, etc… (None of those, by the way, ever expelled from office before a conviction as was Delay, who still has not been tried, and never will be)
As to your “dig” challenge, very few times in American history have legislatures and Presidents been so at odds as to have such conflicts. The vast majority of them have happened in the last 40 years, alsmost always when Democrats ran the House and Republicans ran the Executive. The first time the question seems to have come up is in the Washington administration. In that instance the Executive drew up a set of guidelines on what it would be proper to submit to the House.

Your question would be more relevantly revealing, from a political perspective, if you asked how many times a Republican Congress subpoenaed a Democratic Executive, and vice-versa.

There is a good Pdf on the subject atathttp://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL31836.pdf .
I’ll have to mine it for details later.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 2:17 PM
Comment #268571

“I also like the idea of “conservatives” trying to call a former president of the Harvard Law Review and professor of constitutional law out on constitutional law”

Would that be the same “professor of constitutional law” who says a “right” that is not found in the Constitution, should be protected by the federal govt, but that a definete right that is in the Bill Of Rights should be left up to the states?

No wonder you got the giggles, the guys beliefs make a total mockery of what made this country the greatest and his beliefs are what is going to make us just another European laughingstock form of govt.

Good post Lee. Obama doesn’t believe in the rule of law, he believes he and his leftist friends are the creators and rulers of law.
Bush may have called the Constitution a gd piece of paper, but the Obama is going to wipe his ass with it on a daily basis.

Posted by: kctim at October 28, 2008 2:24 PM
Comment #268572

Lee,
The problem with the Republicans following the Letter of the Law is that as Elected Officials they and the Democratic Leaders are suppose to set the example by staying within the Spirit of the Law (Ethics and Morals). So how can a Conservative honestly support the Republican ticket this year when McCain/Palin has done everything, but demonstrate that they know what the Spirit of the Law even means.

Could you imagine what Rush and Hannity would of done with Hillary if the DNC would of come out with an action figure of her wearing a School Girl oufit? Sorry, but this Child of the 70’s does not believe that a Lady of Government and/or Society can make that argument and still be seen as a Woman by others given the unspoken debate that follows such actions.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at October 28, 2008 2:30 PM
Comment #268573

Stephen wrote; “Obama’s redistribution, unlike McCain’s, puts the money into the system at its most dynamic point, not at its point of slowest motions. The rich will get their money. What they might also get are more customers paying better.”

Stephen, only a socialist like Obama could find “redistribution” of wealth to be constitutional. You and I both understand what our founders wrote about the right of individuals and the concept of taxation. There is no parity between taxation and redistribution of wealth.

As to my linking to conservative writers…what’s wrong with that? As good citizens should we not expose ourselves to the reasoned thinking of both political parties. I read the daily email from MoveON, have read most of Mr. Obama’s website about his positions, read many articles in the NY Times (and even reference them from time to time), read the left-wing Time Magazine and much more.

Why would a thinking Democrat, Independent, or Republican be fearful of being exposed to ideas from all sources? I usually learn something from everything I read…even with stuff I don’t agree with.

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 2:37 PM
Comment #268574

Lee Jamison-
Has it occured to you that the quality of fidelity to the constitution can be selected for in candidates for both public office and judgeships?

If that fidelity is such a concern, then it is entirely possibility to look at the record of the judicial candidates and examine them for departures from the constitution. And I mean real departures. Judges must interpret, paint a picture of what the law is between the conflicting laws and statues. Our system is too complex to survive fundamental literalism in judicial philosophy. Judges must strike a balance between the letter and the spirit of the laws.

Both sides might do things that violate the constitution, but few have been so outwardly hostile towards the restrictions of the constitution and years of tradition based on it as the Bush White House. If nothing else, the former Republican congress did little to get in the way of that illicit expansion of power.

kctim-
There are plenty of things not in the constitution.

The right to vote. Is there an explicit one in the constitution? No. The right to travel without restriction between states? No. The right to be left alone in your house? No. The presumption of innocence? No.

The Air Force? Paper money? Separation of Powers? Executive privilege?

All are not explicitly provided for.

This notion of strict construction avoids the main issue that the constitution was made for: to manage the law of the land and its complex interactions.

Finally, let me ask you a question: would a top tier law school let somebody who didn’t have the first clue about constitutional law teach the subject? I think the folks on the right have gotten too overconfident in their supposed authority on the subject.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 2:54 PM
Comment #268575

Jim M-
Income Tax is covered by the Sixteenth Amendment, basic tax authority, appropriation and authorization of the use of those funds to do the government’s work in the main document itself.

In short, the redistribution of wealth IS constitutional.

As for linking to conservative writers, you should ask yourself the question as to whether independents and Democrats you’re trying to persuade will find them or their arguments convincing. Feel free to link them. I just was wondering the last time you tried to make your arguments for yourself, instead of linking to a conservative author as if his or her voice were authoritative.

In general, when I’m trying to work things out, I prefer to leave out either side ideological sources, and go to the hard evidence. Logic and premises that can be viewed symmetrically by all sides are better than those whose value is merely one-sided.

Common values and commonly acceptable arguments will go further than self-indulgent partisan appeals.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 3:08 PM
Comment #268577

Stephen
The Obama states that something not found in the Constitution should be protected by the Federal govt, but believes a right our founders believed should be protected by the Federal govt and was so important they created an amendment for it, should be left up to the states. That has nothing to do with “other things not in the constitution” and everything to do with how he views the Constitution and how little he respects it.
With that in mind, whether he has a clue or not doesn’t make a difference at all if he taught what he wants the Constitution to say instead of what it actually says.

Its not a “notion of strict construction” as you try to make it out to be, its calling yourself a Constitutional professor or lawyer or whatever and not knowing what rights should be protected by the Federal govt and which ones should be left up to the states.

I don’t claim to be any kind of authority at all. I merely pointed out a point of fact which anybody not blinded by party should question, not ignore.

Posted by: kctim at October 28, 2008 3:25 PM
Comment #268583

Stephen writes; “n short, the redistribution of wealth IS constitutional. As for linking to conservative writers, you should ask yourself the question as to whether independents and Democrats you’re trying to persuade will find them or their arguments convincing.

Your first statement is absurd. Please don’t hand me that baloney about your being so pure and truth driven with your statement; “In general, when I’m trying to work things out, I prefer to leave out either side ideological sources, and go to the hard evidence. Logic and premises that can be viewed symmetrically by all sides are better than those whose value is merely one-sided.”

Frankly Stephen, I don’t think you would recognize “hard evidence” if you stepped in it.

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 4:31 PM
Comment #268585

Stephen,

Has it occured to you that the quality of fidelity to the constitution can be selected for in candidates for both public office and judgeships?
None of us who care will forget that G.H.W.Bush delivered us David Souter. Absolutely, there are differences. Out of that we ferociously fought the nomination of Harriet Meyer when G.W.B. got his chance to screw up.
Our system is too complex to survive fundamental literalism in judicial philosophy. Judges must strike a balance between the letter and the spirit of the laws.
First, Our system is complex precisely because F.D.R. chose expediency over an adherance to the Constitution. When he could have built a constituency for amendments to give the government the powers he wanted the government to have he appeared to many to be attacking the integrity of government by trying to pack the court. After that he simply gave up on doing things the right way and let attrition pack his court for him.

So, we are left with a tradition of expediency and judicial fiat that undermines the trust of a substantial portion of the public in what has become the de-facto way of amending the Constitution.

Can we go back to the way it was exactly? Probably not. Why, though, compound the anti-democratic horror of a bad tradition. A great deal of modern “partizanship” is built around this bad method of empowering government without the people’s consent. Put the necesary mechanisms into the text of the Constitution so the government really does pass muster as an authorized agency of the people’s power.

Y’all say only a third of the public is really conservative. So who’s stopping you?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 4:37 PM
Comment #268588

Jim M -

“[Liberals] do what Glenn has done and point to past real or imagined abuses.”

Yeah, Palin’s refusal to allow her aides to answer a Congressional subpoena was WAAAAAY back in the past, wasn’t it? Like, it was LAST MONTH, dude!

But that’s all you got, huh? Neither you nor any other conservative here can point out a single instance of Democratic presidents or governors abusing their power by not allowing their aides to answer Congressional subpoenas.

So what do you do? Imply that such FACTS are somehow too partisan because they’re IN THE PAST. A whole MONTH in the past.

That’s all you got. And you know it.

“Facts are stubborn things.” Reagan said that…and it looks like the Republicans have forgotten it.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 28, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #268589

Are you purposefully missppelling Barack’s name? You have repeatedly left out the “c” in your postings on this site, and I find it very strange.

Posted by: Cara at October 28, 2008 4:57 PM
Comment #268592

Stephen D wrote: “In short, the redistribution of wealth IS constitutional.”

Please! Get a grip! The extreme liberal BHO, through the U.S. Gov’t wants to adopt redistribution, but it ain’t in the constitution or amendments. BHO is more liberal, more anti-contitutional, and more anti-business than most Dems.

I will never understand why the Dems (in recent presidential races) have not been able to find a candidate who connects with the majority of Americans (or even with the majority of Dems) in his/her beliefs. If they did they would win every election in a landslide.

I keep asking people what they KNOW about BHO and McCain. 99% who will be voting for BHO know nothing about what he will actually DO as president. On the other hand, 60% of the McCain voters with whom I have spoken know pretty well what he will DO. According to my non-official poll, 70% of the ignorant follow Obama. Just talk to the “man on the street” as I have…you’ll see.

BTW Stephen, you have just “outed” yourself as a socialist. Thanks for the heads-up.

— Don

Posted by: Don at October 28, 2008 5:18 PM
Comment #268599

kctim-
The Constitution was mean to be the basis for a derived system of laws. Logical combinations of those laws produce many of the rights we cherish, and many of the controversies we despise.

Your arguments are the arguments of many partisans on the right, partisans who have already shown themselves to be inexpert or dishonest at worst in their interpretation of a legal concept that Obama spoke of. If these people can’t properly interpret his position, why are you asking me to give any credibility to their notion that a top-tier colleges law professor is making amateur mistakes in his interpretation of the law?

You folks are terrible about self-righteously proclaiming what the law is supposed to be, and berating those who don’t agree with the politicized, narrow interpretations of the law you favor. It would do you some good to realize that we have a judiciary to keep these things straight for a reason. Obama doesn’t call himself a constitutional law professor, he was one, and may be one again, when his terms are over. He earned that status. What credibility have his critics earned?

Jim M-
No, actually, that is my technique. That’s why you find more news stories than opinions among my links. I don’t do it for purity, I do it so I can kick my opponent’s ass.

Somebody tried to intimidate me by saying Dick Durbin’s chances were being sunk by Obama’s campaign. I turned around and socked them with a poll that indicated that Durbin was likely to win reelection by a wide margin. Rather than argue against the philosophy of his conclusion, I argued with the grounds of his argument.

Hence, rather than argue with you about the right or wrong of the income tax, when you talked about redistribution, I cited the 16th Amendment, which was explicitly written to permit income taxes, and then cited the additional taxing and spending authority of the Constitution itself.

In other words, the legal authority the Constitution gives the government to redistribute wealth. Hell, while I’m at it, I can cite the Fifth Amendment’s final clause to include real estate in that redistributive right.

If you want to argue the right or wrong of how the government redistributes wealth, fine. But don’t tell me that the government doesn’t already do it, much less that it isn’t legal to do it, because you have no grounds on which to make that argument.

Lee Jamison-
Our system of government was complex long before FDR screwed anything up. What was making government more complicated was dealing with an increasingly modern and industrial society.

Hell, Republicans introduced many of the bureaucracies and departments we now take for granted as part of the government. And none of this was imposed against the will of the majority of the people at that time.

As for what’s stopping us? It doesn’t look like much will be. For a long time, people were willing to let your people indulge your agenda. They thought it might do some good. For a time it looked like it wood. But time and time again, we have seen this laissez faire system crash again and again for some pretty stupid reasons, reasons that people were predicting would be trouble, reasons that were disregarded by those who were sure in their political faith that a market unencumbered by regulations would find the right equilibriums.

Ultimately, your people pushed your agenda harder than the American people wanted it pushed, and the consequence will be that this November 4th, the people are going to shove back hard. This will continue to be the pattern as long as your party gets in the way of meaningful, needful reforms.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 5:58 PM
Comment #268600

Don-
You jest at a scar that never felt a wound. The redistribution you’re complaining about is not the same kind of redistribution that you’d be justified in getting into such a frothy rage about. It’s a tax policy not unlike what Reagan offered. Tell me, is Saint Ron suddenly a commie? Honestly, get some perspective on tax policy, and take a break from the echo chamber that feeds on this nonsense.

As far as landslides go, Obama has the potential to get one. If you’ve actually followed the polls, actually are apprised of the state of the race, Obama is ahead in states that went for Bush. Conservative projections have him already over the threshold to be elected. The question is whether this is a victory with a decent margin, or a positively astounding margin. Anything might happen on election day, but a win by your side is highly unlikely.

As far as being outed as a socialist, just do yourself a favor and start using words for what they mean, not what you want them to mean.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 6:09 PM
Comment #268601

Henry:
I have a major disagreement with your philosophy and cannot let it pass. You made a statement that IMHO compares and contrasts our thinking in a most telling way:

“In fact, if this Independent Citizen would be allowed to have my way, the top 20% should pay for the entire 52 Trillion National Debt since they have enjoyed the benifits of society while the Poor has watched their purchase power as consumers decrease over the same period of time.”

IMHO this is a very common sentiment in our country today but could not be more wrong by moral, legal or constitutional standards. I know these are strong words, but they are used in an attempt to challange everyones’ thought process on this issue*. IMHO the sentiment that you have conveyed is simply that others that have more that me should pay all because they have more than me therefore they must not deserve to keep what they have.

Let me explain why this philosophy totally ticks me off. I am a blue collar worker($50-80K/year). I have went through the “party” years, quite strongly I might add. I have pissed away most of my potential, but make a decent living. I am the sole wage earner for my family, have one son and I will retire as a millionaire. More importantly, my finances are such that either my son or his children will be multimillionaires due to an inheritance from me.

Sure, I could live in a nicer house, drive nicer cars, travel more and garden/can less food. I could work a lot less overtime and afford more niceties of life, enjoy my “here and now”, but why make these sacrifices at the expense of my family’s future? More importantly, why should my son and/or his children be punnished for my choices in life? What right would/should you have to take the majority of my work and sacrifices because someday I will be the top 20%? How am/will I be enjoying the benefits of my country more than anyone that has made worse financial decisions? I work with people that have more now than I will ever have and with people that earn the same salary but will retire on Social Security as the main income. Why should you take more from one group because they took advantage of their opportunities’ more than the other group did?

In short I ask this simple question: Can you name anyone in this country that with some hard work and self sacrifice could not guarantee the prosperity of their family in as little as two generations removed? If not, I propose that those that you want to punnish for being rich are guilty of nothing more than good judement, hard work and sacrifice…to their family’s benefit. If the opportunity is there for all, why punnish those that sacrifice to take advantage of it?

*Please note that I am not attacking you personally, but am challanging your philosophy. If you or any of the editors perceive this as a personal attack let me know and I will publically apologize and edit this

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 28, 2008 6:10 PM
Comment #268604

Stephen:

You stated, “Income Tax is covered by the Sixteenth Amendment, basic tax authority, appropriation and authorization of the use of those funds to do the government’s work in the main document itself.”. I am just curious if curious if you can point out where the “Founding Fathers” intended for the redistribution of wealth.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 28, 2008 6:20 PM
Comment #268605

Stephen
His words are not my partisan arguments and you would do yourself a favor by not automatically screaming how wrong somebody is when they dare question Obama.
The Obama believes abortion should be a right protected by the Federal govt and that the 2nd Amendment is a right that states be able to give permission for it to be exercised or even ban it.
Does that make sense for a “Constitutional professor” to be saying?

Posted by: kctim at October 28, 2008 6:20 PM
Comment #268606

Stephen:

Let me expand my question to you. You cited the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and then the 5th. These Amendments were passes 122 years, or two generations apart. I am curious as to what the intent of the Amendments you have cited are as compared to the intent of the Framers of the Constitution. IMHO this goes to the rule of law vs the rule of man.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 28, 2008 6:33 PM
Comment #268608



Good day everyone;

I said it before and nobody believed, …the ‘captains’ in congress ( those democrats:Pelosi, Reid,Frank and others) are giving bonuses and misusing the moneys form our savings to PERPETUATE THIER UNSCRUPULOUS PRACTICES!.

Do not you see it now happening?

Others things are going around too, SO GET ALERT!, GET CORRETLY INFORMED !.
Would be real good to watch another news sources beside the TV TABLOIDS ,:CNN and MSNBC.

If you do not remember, or do not know what I said before? , here is the text:


Now I am really curious. It seems that freedom of speech is going to be down to the ground, should Obama gets the presidency.

Oh!, well, so then really we are going to become a socialist ( should I say communist ) nation. Interesting, just like in the old days in old Russia,… only the news soviet agency TASS with the two branches fussed in as doubble one:- ISVESTIA,PRAVDA, and whoever does not agree with them, is pray for the KGB!

So, no more O’reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, the entire FOX NEWS structure for that matter!, Oh! yeah! because the TV TABLOIDS ( CNN and MSNBC) are deep in the can with the democrats not to mention number of newspapers and magazines (YELLOW PRESS JUST AS WELL )

Oh!, swell!, those clowns will definitelly survive under ‘THE NEW ORDER’!

And there is more,… we are about to deep once more into our taxpayers savings to aliviate the wounds that those crooks at WallStreet did to us.
BINGO! - THE BERNANKE SECOND INJECTION!,…correct!, wih the ‘MORE OF THE SAME CROOKS AND THIEVES FROM SHORT TIME BACK’

THIS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL OUR SAVINGS GET TOTALLY DRAINED AND THEN!,… GOOD BYE STRONG COUNTRY!,… EASY PREY FOR DESTRUCTION!

Pathetic.

Want to add an extra explanation to the scenario?


The first ‘bail-out’ served only to PERPETUATE THE UNSCRUPULOUS PRACTICES BY corps and individuals ( mostly democrats!) Fannie, Freddie, Raines, Johnson, O’Neal, ETC. and backed by Barney Frank, Pelosi and others,…well you know the story.

And also everybody knows how dilligents those crooks and thieves were, going in mini-vacation-kind-of-cellebration spending over 145 THOUSAND $$ in expensive hotels and maasages, ETC,…all that type of things.

Now they are shooting for more money !! , with new so called,…’directives’ and /or ‘concepts to furnish programs and ways to help the people,…even further’,…so they say.

Ah! mighty galaxies!, like we should believe them!. Indeed , they all are objects of art, actually they are: - CON-ARTISTS!,…that is the concept.

Well, with the first bail-out they open the doors to the SOCIALISM that Obama want to INJECT to our economic system and will definitely constitude the fall of the american power.

Picture this if you will,

1. Economic crissis is created ( let to be happened ) to help Obama, to be attractive to the masses, for ECONOMY is a big factor in our life-style, and in fact is a pillar for our national security.

NOTICE THAT ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ARE PUT INTO EFFECT TO THOSE STATES WE NEED TO BACK DOWN THEIR EMPHASIS TO DESTROY FREEDOM. It is an effective technique.

So, this was allowed to happened here in our very grounds.

2. Now, Obama comes with a plan to even further nationalization of the private assets :- ‘SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND’- actually a SOCIALIST PRACTICE. Just get educated on this: and read THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO and other writtings by Carl Max and Fredderick Engels.
THEN, compare this kind of literature with our CONSTITUTION and wrttings by John Locke and Thomas Hobbs and you VERY CLEAR, WILL SEE THE DIFFERENCE!

My fellows american , this sounds to me like a MASTER PLAN to bring down the power of our great country.
OBAMA IS A ‘TROJAN HORSE FACTOR’ BRINGING WEAKNES TO OUR COUNTRY, OK?

A MASTER PLAN OF DESTRUCTION. VERY ELUSIVE, VERY EFFECTIVE!

Does it sound science-fiction to you?,…too speculative? Well, I have news for you : WE ARE LIVING IT! and our children will pay HIGH PRICE if we do not put the RIGHT PEOPLE in the LEADERSHIP!

We are in need,… OUR COUNTRY NEEDS NOW SOMEONES WHO ELIMINATE CORRUPTION , OVERSPENDING, AND MANTAIN NATIONAL SECURITY IN PLACE.

We need leaders that take on corruption in government and in the financial sector, WE DO NEED REAL REFORM NOT A MOCKERY AND FALSE TALKING PROMISES.

A question:

Can Obama fight and eliminate the CORRUPTION , and eliminate the absurd OVERSPENDING in Washington and in the finanacial spectrum without POLITICAL SUICIDE?

YES? or NO?

The reason I ask is because he is all the way to his eye-balls connected to corps and individuals of questionable integrity , responsible with all this economic mess,…you know ,…CONFLICT OF INTERESTS HERE!

He IS very successful in sounding CONVINCING to the masses for most out there are not informed, NO EDUCATED IN THINGS IMPORTANT TO KNOW. OBAMA DOES NEED INGNORANCE AMONG THE MASSES, SO HE CAN CONTROL AND DRIVE THEM.

This is common sense: if taxes ( all types, SPECIALLY THE CORPORATE GAIN CAPITAL TAXES are elevated) the jobs that they are OUT THERE, WILL REMAIN OUT THERE AND EVEN MORE WILL GO OUT THERE.

If actual taxes are untouched and croporate gain taxes get elilminated or reduced, JOBS FROM OUT THERE, WILL RETURN HERE TO AMERICANS AND MORE JOBS WILL BE EMERGE AS RESULT.

Is simple fouth grade arithmetic, we do not need to be a theoretical scientist in quantum physiscs to understand this one. Is very simple 1+1=2, and 2x2=4.

WE HAVE TO STOP THIS MADNES!

A ‘TROJAN HORSE FACTOR’ IS AMONG US AND NEEDS TO BE REVEALED! TOTALLY EXPOSED!

Just give some thoughts to his, will you ?,…it is worthy,OUR CHILDREN ARE IN THE LINE HERE , DO NOT FORGET THEM!

I do hope that Sen McCain or Gov Palin ( or both of them ) ask Obama openly, during one of those rallies something like this:

“SEN OBAMA, CAN YOU FIGHT THE CORRUPTION AND GREEDY IDIVIDUALS IN WAHINGTON AND IN THE FINANCIAL SPECTRUM STARTING FROM DAY ONE IN OFFICE WITHOUT GO INTO POLITICAL SUCIDE?,…WOULD YOU DO THAT FOR THIS COUNTRY?”
I would like to hear his answer!

I wander how the electorate will react.(???)

Sincerely, Daniel Cabrera
Merrillville, Indiana
PS; With Obama as president we REALLY GET MORE OF THE SAME!

Don’t you get it? MORE SAME CORRUPTION AND DEFICIENCY IN ECONOMY
JUST REMEMBER THE DEMOCRAT WERE THE ONES THAT SCREWED-UP
MEANING , FANNNIE, FREDDIE, RAINES,JOHNSON,O’NEAL,BARNEY FRANK,
PELOSI,BERANKE AND OTHERS CLOWNS THERE.
OBAMA=MORE OF THE SAME - REAL AND PRESENT DANGER!

Hey!, WAKE-UP! OBAMA IS WEAK,WEAK,WEAK,…HE IS ONLY AND ONLY,
JUST FLASHY!

If he gets elected, all those on his favour now, will be extremely sorry, wishing to
have a TIME MACHINE to go back in time and undo the voting.

But you see, TIME travels only in one direction for us humans, and once we do
ANYTHING , THERE IS POINT OF NO RETURN!

Perhaps future technology will provide otherwise ( it just might be,…not sure yet

_______________________________________________

ECONOMY;

It seems that the ‘trump-card’ is economy nowadays.
Ahh!!…. ECONOMY! ,…the confetti of the month!

Ok, to make it short , even the high-stars business men and experts say over and over this:…”….nobody knows what to do really ……we all trying shoots in the dark,…for is an unprescedental plateau…”


In other words, do not, …did you read well?,..DO NOT ! pretend that McCain or Obama( any of them) will shake this one, and fix it just like by magic.

ON THE OTHER HAND:- also, the top bussiness men and experts have a consensus of:- …”if higher taxes, at the present economy status are applied the economy will definitelly plumet lower very dangerously…”

History shows that the last time encreasing of taxes were made in a similar situation, that generated THE BIG DEPRESSION in the early 30’s.
SO WOULD BE GOOD THAT EVERYONE, READ, INVESTIGATE AND GET FAMILIARIZE WITH THIS.

So, it will be INCORRECT to elevate taxes OF ANY KIND at present times. This should gives an idea wich one from the candidates is/are the let so say :,…THE LESS OR LEAST DESTRUCTIVE for our economy structure.

But that is on just on ECONOMY. Make your own story, the best you can.

The next topic perhaps , could be NATIONAL SECURITY, but this is for another segment.

Oh! yes!,because if our beloved country is not secured wisely/get attacked and destroyed , we will not have any ECONOMY to worry about.

So you see?,…we need a POWERFUL AND WELL SEASONED PRESIDENT for that task, CORRECT?…and lately,things around the world are not precisely the most promising ones for to be happy about!, RIGHT?


SO, THINK ABOUT THIS ONE FOR NEXT TIME!


NATIONAL SECURITY;
TEST FOR OBAMA-WORLD CRISSIS

Let so make the enunciation short:

1. Powell endorses Obama .

2. Biden gave us a ‘PROPHECY’,.. a TEST for Obama (ONLY OBAMA)).

If wisdom, experience, courage, tacticals and estrategics, along with vision for global dynamics could be infused or transfused or absorbed , or CREATED BY WHATEVER UKNOWN STRANGE PROCESS , as result of POWELL’S ENDORSEMENT,…then we can be definitely sure that our NATIONAL SECURUTY, domestic and abroad, would be well set.

The scenario is however far form reality and even the fictional, does not fit the wishful thinking.

Those ‘OUTSIDER OBSERVERS’, understand, sense, and know for sure that IF the president elected is of STRONG RECORD OF STRENGH, this our great country is going to be PROTECTED AT LARGE NO MATTER WHAT for the PACKAGE will be there.

IF , ON THE OTHER HAND, WEAKNESS IS SENSED ( as our enemies are wishing for), a continuation of asaults ( 9-11 type ) is for to be experienced over and over here in main land USA grounds,…not too good scenario.

Obama said number of times, that Iran, and Venezuela are not threats for they are: ‘small countries’,…well, for the records?,…THERE IS NO SUCH A THING AS ‘SMALL ENEMY’ ,…GET THIS VERY, VERY CLEAR.

A picture in a ‘byrd-eye-view’:

Russia, is in the offense, does not stay in their word, even further is right here in our backyard in association with Venezuela ( Hugo Chavez to be exact) .

Iran continues nuclear progam and weapon enterprises, ignoring over FIVE YEARS OF ATTEMPTING DIPLOMACY from USA and Security Council at United Nations, including The European Consortium,…well my friends,… ( NOTHING WORKS WITH THOSE GUYS), and in addition , just in case is not enough?,… North Korea is in similar predicament.

Now, get it straight, OUR COUNTRY NEEDS A STRONG LEADERSHIP THAT TRANSLATE INTO : ‘DO NOT! MESS WITH USA, PERIOD!

ONLY A STRONG LEADER CAN MAKE THAT REFLECTION OUT THERE TO THE WORLD.

Omama DOES NOT HAVE THE RANKS.

Perhaps now you can think about this, or not,…and cast a logical and educated vote.

You choice.

Ultimately I woud say that a fundamental part of our success will depend greatly also in to PRESERVE OUR WAY OF LIFE WTH THE SYSTEM WHICH SHOULD FIT OUR GREAT COUNTRY :- A DEMOCRACY-CAPITALIST.

In addition to accomplish and perpetuate this, is paramount to prevent future CORRUPTION AND DESTRUCTIVE GREED IN GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS.

We do know Obama is unfited for the protection of our country, nor inclined to clean-up nor stabilize government and the financial spectrum for reasons already known.

In addition is also known that his root of afiliations and associations are not at the latitud for someone who seek the presidential rank. On that we can point out : corps and individuals of questionabel integrity such as ; Freddie, Fannie, Raines, Johnson, O’Neal, Frank, Reid, Pelosi ;- along with another anti-american characters such asACORN goup, Ayers, Wright, Alinsky.

Not to mention outsiders anti-american sympathizers like The Hamas and other terrorist gorups who they would see with good eyes, Obama as president of our country.

In conclusion, Obama’s complete alure is not the bestt one.

The picture IS NOT POSITIVELY PROMISING.

In view of this scenario Obama could be branded as: ENEMY OF THE ESTATE.

Should not , and MUST NOT be elected as president of our great beloved nation.

THINK OF THIS VERY SERIOUSLY!

Sincerely,
Daniel Cabrera
Merrillvillle, Indiana


Posted by: Daniel Cabrera at October 28, 2008 6:34 PM
Comment #268609

Cara,

My apologies both to you and to Barack Obama. I am dyslexic, though I have fought hard against it all my life, and simply didn’t realize my error ‘til you pointed it out. I meant no disrespect.

Stephen,

That people like Richard Nixon, who expanded government authority in every way imaginable, including the the pure folly of price controls, and George W. Bush were Republican does not make them conservative. These are big-government market interventionists almost as radical as Roosevelt was. (As a matter of fact, I sometimes wonder if Hubert Humphrey would not have worked out better for the country precisely because his association with Johnson would have left him less able to act on his fondest desires.)

The fact that illegitimacy has a constituency, Stephen, does not make it a good idea. If you have such a constituency at least found the government you want in LAW rather than interpretation.

Put it back on the rails the Founders envisioned- a country founded not in the inscrutable machinations of an elite jurocracy in which five people can spell doom for all our liberties, but in the written word that holds graspers after power at bay.

Don’t pretend to yourself that the bad dog that today seems to serve the purpose of terrifying your enemies would never catch a whim to gnaw on your own children.

Monsters are very hard to keep well trained.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 6:38 PM
Comment #268611

submarinesforever,

I am just curious if curious if you can point out where the “Founding Fathers” intended for the redistribution of wealth.
Excellent point. The Sixteenth Amendment addresses only revenue. It says nothing about the redistribution of income for any purpose other than providing operating funds for the Federal government. As a matter of fact even FDR knew full well that he would have been only a one-term president had he broached the idea of redistributing income for what would have been termed “charity”. Thus Social Security was set up as an insurance “trust fund”, inviolable until Johnson broke into it to pretend to balance the budget in his final year as president.

Your previous post, by the way, clearly passes muster as a philosophical critique. It was in no way an attack.

Stephen,

The Constitution was mean to be the basis for a derived system of laws. Logical combinations of those laws produce many of the rights we cherish, and many of the controversies we despise.
Flat out wrong. By this logic out rights would be the product of the actions of man, and men could take those rights away. Here, in fact is what the Declaration of Independence says of our rights-
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,..

Get that, Stephen? “…to secure these rights governments are instituted among men…” The rights are not a product of the laws. The laws proceed from the desire to secure the pre-existing rights! The rights are there, the people give to the government their consent to maintain order for the good of all.


Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 7:09 PM
Comment #268612

Stephen wrote, “Obama doesn’t call himself a constitutional law professor, he was one, and may be one again, when his terms are over. He earned that status. What credibility have his critics earned?”

Well Golllleeeee Stephen, that’s news. Is he the only one? Would you like me to find a few other law professors of greater renown who disagree with Mr. Obama and who aren’t socialists?

I recently read that as the president of the Harvard Law Review, Mr. Obama never wrote an article. I researched this and here is what I found.

Exclusive: Obama’s lost law review article

“As president of the Harvard Law Review and a law professor in Chicago, Senator Barack Obama refined his legal thinking, but left a scant paper trail. His name doesn’t appear on any legal scholarship.”

I read the one article that is being ascribed to him and frankly, I could have written one just as good.

Link: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12705.html

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 7:16 PM
Comment #268613

The poor know-nothings of the GOP keep throwing around terms like ‘socialism’ but they obviously don’t know the definition.

“Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society.”
wikipedia

No one is advocating state ownership of the means of production & distribution of goods. No one. The financial sector has been quasi-nationalized, but having injected capital, and having guaranteed money markets and commercial paper, the federal government has gone no further. This is probably a mistake, but never mind…

No one is advocating an egalitarian state. No one is advocating a classless society.

In light of the definition of socialism- or any definition, for that matter- progressive taxation is not a socialist policy. For the past century, progressive taxation has been US policy.

Tax policy can be used as a fiscal policy, targeting portions of the population depending upon the desired result. For example, the Bush administration pursued a tax policy which rewarded corporations and the wealthiest 1% at the expense of the rest of the population. This resulted in wealth capture. McCain advocates the same.

Obama advocates a tax policy which is intended to provide a fiscal stimulus. Instead of wealth capture, the intention is stimulative; to target the middle and low classes, in order to generate immediate spending, which results in job creation.

It’s horrible to listen to conservatives throw around charges of ‘socialism.’ It’s the kind of Know-Nothing, aggressive stupidity that always comes to a bad end.

File it under ‘the dumbening of America.’

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2008 7:22 PM
Comment #268614

Lee wrote; “Don’t pretend to yourself that the bad dog that today seems to serve the purpose of terrifying your enemies would never catch a whim to gnaw on your own children.”

WOW…well said Lee. Thanks!

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 7:22 PM
Comment #268616

phx8

No one is advocating state ownership of the means of production & distribution of goods.
No they are just advocating that the government effectively (but not LITERALLY) owns the people who own all that stuff, so the effect is the same. If you’re an American the state can determine how much of what you have is excess, within the limits of confiscation damage the effective taxing load the economy can carry, and can do with that as it pleases.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #268617

phx8 wrote: “It’s horrible to listen to conservatives throw around charges of ‘socialism.’ It’s the kind of Know-Nothing, aggressive stupidity that always comes to a bad end.”

phx8 perhaps doesn’t recall a time when being called a “liberal” was insulting. I predict it won’t be long before, if Obama is not defeated, that liberals will be proud to claim the label “socialist liberals”.

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #268621

Likewise, rightwingers through around the term “redistribution of wealth” yet have been responsible for the largest redistribution: from the blue states to the red states. If you examine the amount of federal money that flows to states compared to how much in taxes are paid by the states to the federal coffers, there is a huge redistribution from liberal to conservative states. For example, Alaska gets about $1.98 for every dollar they pay, yet New Jersey gets $0.53 or so. Yet, for some strange reason, none of the wingers here ever complain about that. But when someone suggests rescinding the huge tax cuts the wealthy got from BushCo, they start to scream bloody murder. Hmmmmm….

Posted by: mental wimp at October 28, 2008 8:00 PM
Comment #268622

phx8:

You pointed out that ““Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society.” Then, ” No one is advocating state ownership of the means of production & distribution of goods. No one. The financial sector has been quasi-nationalized, but having injected capital, and having guaranteed money markets and commercial paper, the federal government has gone no further. This is probably a mistake, but never mind…”

I ask you, Sir, then how do you define taking more of the money that I am earning AND saving for myself and my posterity, in the intrest of “fairness”; when in fact I have layed out a scenario that others with the same opportuntiy to save have squandered the opportunity, just to give what I have earned to those that not earned it, to those that have not made the needed sacrifices for their futures’? Whose monies should it be first and foremost, mine because I earned it, or the governments to redistribute to those that did not? IMHO if the charge that I levy for my time, training and skills belong to the government first, at a disportional rate to others, then the government owns everything that I have not only achieved, but my time and sacrifice, and by your definition the government owns every aspect of my life and we are by your definition a socialist society. Is that the rule of law, or the rule of man?

“In light of the definition of socialism- or any definition, for that matter- progressive taxation is not a socialist policy. For the past century, progressive taxation has been US policy.” I agree that that is the U.S. policy, but it is a liberal policy that is socialistic. Just because it is the policy of our government does not make it morally right, progressive and not anti-socialist. Out policy has been wrong for time peroid. Going by your logic the “Unitarian Government Theory” is correct because it is our policy. Is something correct because because it is the government’s policy or because it is the rule of law?


Posted by: submarinesforever at October 28, 2008 8:01 PM
Comment #268623

Lee said
“I don’t speak for the Republican Party. I speak as a conservative who has been advocating for the rule of law my entire adult life. I like is no more when Republicans violate it than when Democrats do so. What I see, though, is that the judges Republicans nominate to the court are less likely to make up their own law than are the Democrat nominated judges.”

Please point me toward the thread where you have stated that the subpoenas that congress have issued in the past two years should be honored.
If you have not — why not? Its a rule of law that a subpoena be honored.
And also point me out to where you have protested all the signing statements Bush made while in office, after all those where done to avoid the law as it was written.
—Savage

Posted by: A Savage at October 28, 2008 8:06 PM
Comment #268625

Jim, et al:

Going by your reference, should we follow Senator Biden’s presidence and “Bork” Senator Obama?

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 28, 2008 8:26 PM
Comment #268630
If you examine the amount of federal money that flows to states compared to how much in taxes are paid by the states to the federal coffers, there is a huge redistribution from liberal to conservative states. For example, Alaska gets about $1.98 for every dollar they pay, yet New Jersey gets $0.53 or so. Yet, for some strange reason, none of the wingers here ever complain about that. But when someone suggests rescinding the huge tax cuts the wealthy got from BushCo, they start to scream bloody murder. Hmmmmm….

Hmmmmm… is what I say.

What I’d really like to see is who is paying these taxes in the blue states that get redistributed to red states. 5% of Americans pay over half of all the income taxes in this country and the only thing that makes a state blue is how many liberals there are in that state. Not how many of them are paying high taxes or even any taxes.

This is really a big city vs. small town and rural thing. The big companies are usually set up in big cities, and thats where the big bucks get made.

So how ‘bout this? Since you bring this up, let’s make it so rich blue states don’t have to shift their dough to poorer red states anymore. Nice idea. The rich don’t have to carry the poor any longer. And while we’re at it, rich Republicans who make their money in blue states don’t have to share so much of it with all of the liberals within those blue states who like to vote for tax increases. Who is with me?

Posted by: Liam at October 28, 2008 8:56 PM
Comment #268638

submarines,
Progressive taxation has been the policy of every administration for the past century, including McCain. Is it a liberal policy and socialistic? Compared to what? Perhaps you should be advocating for a flat tax, or sales tax, or perhaps only tax corporations. That’s up to you. Most alterntives to progressive taxation are regressive, and receive little public support. I think there are ways of putting together a flat tax that might work- by including liberal, progressive measures which counter the regressivity- but that’s another discussion.

That’s not where the McCain campaign is going with this. They are name calling, and tossing around terms like ‘socialism,’ yet they advocate the same policies, with the only question being how to distribute the burden. It’s hypocritical to pretend otherwise, and for anyone who thinks about it for more than a few moments, it’s downright stupid.

I think conservatism- true conservatism- still has valuable ideas to bring to the table. I don’t see that kind of conservatism in McCain’s campaign. What I see is pretty appalling.

Posted by: phx8 at October 28, 2008 10:22 PM
Comment #268644

submarinesforever-
Let me bug you for a moment, because this really annoys me. You ask where the founding fathers intended the redistribution of wealth, and two things occur to me. The first is that in a practical, non-perjorative sense, the redistribution of wealth is built into the constitution, with taxation, tarriffs, built in to gain revenues, and appropriations and authorizations built into the other side of spending. In a very real sense, that’s what they intended.

But that’s not what the connotation I’m reading here is. When used in the neighborhood of terms like socialism, communism, and other such red baiting, it’s basically meant to create visions of the confiscation of wealth on a Huey Long scale.

What unmitigated bunk. So far, I’ve chosen to take an axe to the silly notion that somehow normal redistribution is outside the authority or common practice of this government, but it doesn’t seem like that is enough for your people. So here goes: Barack Obama’s tax plan is no more redistributive than the years of tax plans that the Republicans pushed through under Bush and Reagan. if Obama’s a commie, so are they.

Getting back to the founding fathers, I think they were quite satisified to leave the governance of the nation in the hands of future generations, rather than try to micromanage them from beyond the grave. They started us out with some very good and very smart principles that have endured, and kept this nation stable. They didn’t, though, set our constitution or our government in stone, and that’s helped this nation endure in the face of tumultuous changes that have washed over this nation in it’s 200+ years on this planet.

Or, let me put it this way: when the Federal Government of these United States began life, it’s funding came from tarriffs and custom duties. You know, what Republicans nowadays would call protectionist trade policy!

There are ways in which following the intent of the framers is helpful, and where it’s just slavish imitation of a bygone era. Also, in a real sense, you have to ask “Which framer?”. and even “Which attitude of that particular framer?” These were not a homogenous set of folks here. They were not all mainline Christians, they are not all thrilled with the prospect of the strong government put forward by the Federalists. The Bill of Rights, as a matter of fact, is a compromise between those who favored the new constitution, and those who opposed it.

One thing for sure, though: the sixteenth amendment passed overwhelmingly, among a supermajority of states, and a supermajority of both chambers of congress, a Republican Congress at that. The founders left the door open, though they made the climb to that floor of constitutionality an difficult climb, and the income tax managed to pass that.

What were they (the people who passed this amendment) thinking? Perhaps they were thinking that the old way of generating revenues was outdated. Perhaps they were thinking the same thing we were thinking: that those who get better use of the government’s resources should pay a little more for it. It would fit into the progressive ethos of the times.

This was a government that was designed to change with the times. The real question is not whether the founding fathers intended every interpretation. Nobody could. The question is, what was intended, in a general sense, by these constitutional principles, and how do our legislative, judicial, and executive choices fit within that? We’re talking about the challenges in principle.

Take the Fourth Amendment. Obviously, many of the technologies that now constitute critical issues under it are not literally covered by the constitution. How could they forsee them? But the intent was obvious: people’s persons, possessions, property, communications and records would be safeguarded from all search and seizure besides that supported by well-founded warrants and/or probable cause.

There are some gray areas, and times when the constitution suffers at hands of those trying to put expedience ahead of the rule of law.

Getting back to the original issue, I once took a telecom policy class in college, and the essential grounds for the fairness doctrine is that the airwaves don’t belong to these broadcasters, they belong to Americans in general. However, because of the physical realities of radio broadcasts within line of sight, it’s impossible for every individual to have their own broadcasted voice on the spectrum. To keep things clear, everybody would have to be given a certain amount of bandwidth, of course, though, there isn’t enough for everybody to clearly broadcast their points of view on each frequency.

So, we essentially hand a monopoly to one person or one set of people. It’s illegal for one of us to communicate using that frequency, which in truth belongs to everyone of us. The fairness doctrine is meant to make up for that by discouraging the monopolization of airwaves by the broadcaster’s personal views. The simple way to handle this is to act more like the steward of the public resource they are, rather than treat their government-backed monopoly as a private resource that they can use however they please.

I see the fairness doctrine as an extention of the rule of law. Rather than create a system where private interests are utterly subjugated, and the media is all state run, or one where private interests either run amok (everybody broadcasting to their hearts content, and all signals dying in the interference), or completely dominate the public interest (broadcasters able to use that grant of the public’s radio frequency to push whatever they want, no matter how pornographic, offensive or partisan), we created a system where public and private interests were balanced.

The Republicans are swinging around this dead cat of a perjorative term, calling people’s beliefs systems socialism, or other equally icky things, but nobody’s much stopping to define what that is, they’re mainly telling us who supposedly subscribes to this. That to me smacks of rhetorical convenience, of leaders in your party deciding what picture to paint of the situation, and painting that instead of being truly honest with their supporters.

I think, despite the warnings, you’ll probably find Obama’s governance to be a hell of a lot less dramatic than his detractors are promising it will be. Look at his campaign, for crying out loud. This is not a guy who craves strife and disorder. This is not a guy who thinks much of those who go chasing selfish agendas at the expense of the constitution.

Lee Jamison-
I really can’t stand the way some Republicans talk about our courts. There is a real disrespect there for anybody who doesn’t toe your agenda’s line. And I don’t think it’s an accident that Bush turned out to be such a big-government figure in reality, even as he made all those promises about small government.

Well, if you look at any recent Republican, you’ll find the rhetoric departs from the reality every time. The Conservatives do exist, but they are always admixed with those who detest liberalism not so much for the strength of it’s government reach, but rather for its direction. So long as you had Democrats to keep you occupied, you could always pretend to ignore the government expanding agendas that Wall Street Republicans, the Religious Right, and other factions favored, but when the power became all yours, everybody got their wishes fulfilled, and nobody could deny anymore at what cross purposes all these agendas were. In a party where compromise was a mortal sin, it was inevitable that we’d see the party fracture, and the parts take that collapse as a sign that they needed to go more radically in their own direction.

Your rhetoric is evidence that you’re on that path. Well, the rest of us are going to talk about Government in more sedate and substantive terms, without all the scary rhetoric meant to motivate a fractured, radicalized party.

Take this response to my comment about the constitution being meant to be the basis of a system of derived laws. Flat out wrong?

Mister, the Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in American History. Legally, though, it means nothing. We are Constitutional Democratic Republic, not a Declarational Democracy. The Declaration is a list of grievances, a manifesto meant to reject a monarchy across an ocean.

It was never intended to be the law of the land. Not even in the beginning, after Indepdence had been won. For that they turned to the Articles of Confederation. With those proving difficult to govern a nation by, the Constitution was drawn up.

I don’t care how much you flaunt the sentiments of the Declarations in my face, because the document that guarantees what freedoms are promised in there is the Constitution. So let’s stick to that, thank you very much.

The Constitution is rife with passages that essentially say: work out the details yourself. There are whole layers of government mechanism and niceties that the Framers don’t even bother to mention or work out. Instead, Congress is directed to draw them out, to do what is necessary and proper to carry out its dictates. And then you have the Bill of Rights.

You don’t create a judiciary if you don’t think things will get complicated. Somebody has to decide what the law means in the individual cases, whether criminal or civil. Did this person fulfill their contract? Is it enforceable? Who’s liable? What crime might have been committed, and did they commit this crime?

Judgments must be derived from the law, not merely decided like a person ordering from a Chineses Restaurant menu. It’s what I’d call a human factors rich environment. And I’ll tell you what: decently interpreted law that does people good is better than perfectly interpreted law that f***s everything up. Justice and fairness are not merely nice sentiments, but part of a functioning society. Plessy Vs. Ferguson might have satisfied a logical interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, but it hid a violation of the spirit of the law: separate was never equal.

Ultimately, the question with the Fairness Doctrine is this: Which is the worse violation of the spirit of the first Amendment: forcing broadcasters to present viewers with a broader set of viewpoints on the airwaves they’ve licensed from the public, or letting them take everybody’s airwaves and air their message and their messages alone on them. Are these broadcasters private stewards of a public resource, or the unaccountable beneficiaries of government largesse with the people’s resources?

I imagine conservatives like yourselves have been spoiled with years of unaccountable use of a public resource that belongs to neither one of our party’s alone, but the time has come to realize that the system was never set up so just one set of people could benefit, and everybody else subsist off the scraps of the table.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 11:23 PM
Comment #268651

Still waiting for ANY Republican or other conservative to prove the Republican respect for the rule of law.

As in, both Bush and Palin ordered their aides to IGNORE Congressional subpoenas…can anyone show an example of a Democratic president or governor doing the same?

But no Republican or conservative will reply, because they know that my challenge proves how little the Republican leadership cares for the rule of law.

It’s the same old story - don’t fight battles you can’t win. That’s why NO Republican or conservative will refute the fact.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 29, 2008 12:56 AM
Comment #268663

phx8:

I agree with you 100%. I support the Fair Tax or even a flat tax. Both canidates have socialist policies, neither are getting my vote.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 29, 2008 5:26 AM
Comment #268664

Stephen:

Well thought out response. It is 5:30 am and I am not going to get in depth this morning as I have to go to work. I just want to point out 1 thing:

You state, “of leaders in your party deciding what picture to paint of the situation” I am not now, never have been and apparently never shall be a member of a political party.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 29, 2008 5:34 AM
Comment #268674
If you have not — why not? Its a rule of law that a subpoena be honored. And also point me out to where you have protested all the signing statements Bush made while in office, after all those where done to avoid the law as it was written. —Savage
Savage, The LAW that is relevant in these cases is the Constitution itself, not any law made under the ageis of the Constitution. The three branches of government are co-equal, designed to be representing the peoples’ interests in different ways. This is the reason the Washington administration, when faced with the first congressional subpoena, sat down to create a set of guidelines about the nature of those subpoenas that could be answered and those that could not.

Inherently the two branches interests are at odds. It makes no sense for the Executive to accept a de-facto prerogative on the part of the Legislative to call it to task any time it feels it expedient (whether for real, imagined, or purely partizan reasons) to do so. Such a capitulation would place the Executive at the Legislative’s feet. That is the LEGITIMATE foundation of the term “Executive priviledge”.

In areas of overlapping responsibility, such as the running and oversight of various Executive departments, we have seen fights over who should have the greater power, but here, again, the Constitution really is the relevant law. The president is charged with running the Executive and the Congress is charged with defining what the departments of the Executive shall be and funding those departments. The president is supposed to “faithfully execute” the laws, but this has been repeatedly interpreted as a charge defining the responsibilities of the office as a conduit of the people’s power, not as a mandate of subservience of the Executive to the Legislative.

So, the point of all that is, while the Executive may, under the Constitution, call the Legislative into action, the Legislative is nowhere given the power to call the Executive to come before it on bended knee.

I do not know specifically, by the way, what the earlier comments about refusals of subpoenas on the part of governors is referring to. If it is a matter of long-standing the Executive of a state has no right of which I am aware to sandbag an investigation by the Legislative branch of the Federal Government.

If it was an expedient attempt on the part of the Democratic Congress to interfere in the electoral politics of the nation, though, it should be treated by the people as manipulation of their right to choose leaders.

Stephen,

I love the way you talk down to me like a schoolboy when I irritate you.

As you will know, if you consult your Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, making his argument against the inclusion of the Bill of Rights (#84) held that the Constitution was founded in a principle that the government had no powers not specifically granted. The course of events didn’t run his way and the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution. In fact, though, the very dangers he warned of are at hand, for even with the intentionally broad and vague Tenth Amendment added specifically stating that powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved to the states and to the people, INTERPRETATION by a power-grabbing judiciary has given the government powers it has no legitimate, Constitutionally stated claim to.

That alone negates all your well-considered (and somewhat condescending) words, Stephen.

You cannot have it both ways. If we have rights, whether they precede the Constitution and are merely protected by the device, or they descend from the document itself, and the Judiciary is empowered by either our inattention or the quiet insurrection of political manipulation to interpret them away they are mute.

That is why I keep pressing you, Stephen, and you personally, to understand the importance of a government founded in written law, passed by the consent of the people. That is the ONLY real “Rule of Law”.

Your admonitions of trust in what are really potential tyrants, regardless of how well founded they may be in theories of institutional complexity, can give no comfort to people who have seen over and over the lessons of well-meaning consessions to calls for irrevocable power.

Conservatives make bedfellows with bad people. Prove to me Liberals do not do the same! Power-grabbers see our grievances as a resource. For today they will reserve the violence they do do those whom they find most expedient. For today your power-grabbers expediently avoid promising to hurt you. If you do not found your protections of rights in WRITTEN LAW and protect that law jealously at the ballot box, when expediency expands the bounds of those the powerful see fit to hurt to include you you will sound as foolish in your complaints to the sheep around you as we sound now to you.

Stephen, when the Constitution, the founding law of the land, can be fundamentally changed by the mere interpretation of five people there is no law.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 29, 2008 10:06 AM
Comment #268683

Lee Jamison-
Nowhere in the constitution does it say that the Executive Branch has a invulnerable privilege ascribed to it which allows it to refuse all calls by the legislature to be accountable about its policies. Nor is the separation of powers ever explicitly referenced.

Essentially, you argue strict construction of the constitution in one place, and then talk about derived principles in another. Worse yet, you take a position that denies the Legislative branch it’s constitutional mandate of oversight.

You can talk of their interests being at odds, but the public intererest is clearly not served by a bunch of people who won’t even show up to congress to claim the privilege, which legally most authorities believe they have exceeded. The court already ruled against Nixon’s claim that executive privilege was sancrosanct. There are limits to the counsel that the President can keep secret.

As for signing statements, here’s the thing: never before has a President tried to use one of those to explicitly tell Congress he would not enforce a law.

That’s blatantly unconstitutional, for two reasons: first, the President is the obligated agent of execution for Congress’s legislation. His job is to carry out the law, not rewrite it to his satisfaction. If he doesn’t like a part of the law, he has a veto he can threaten people with or use. Second, there’s a whole other branch that is dedicated to interpreting the law, to determining what is and is not constitutional. He can appeal to the judges of our nation’s courts, and see if they disagree. In the meantime, so long as he has signed it, he must enforce it as is.

The unitary executive theory is a poisonous dose of authoritarianism, based on the thinnest of constitutional grounds. I’ve got news for you, buddy: the authority of Commander in Chief is not the authority to disregard the rest of the constitution. It’s the commmand of the military. That’s it.

Bush exceeded his Constitutional authority in a way that not even Nixon dared to. The worst, most authoritarian Republican of the past was more observant of constitutional niceties and duties than this President. Is it any wonder that continued Republican control of the White House is scary, much less McCain’s erratic behavior?

Getting to your directed comment, let me say this: I will explain things to you in great detail and exhaustively basic terms so long as you fail to understand the depths of your error. Alexander Hamilton may have argued against the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, but he lost that argument. And was he wrong to lose it?

What do you think would have happened to gun rights in the early seventies to late eighties, had there been no Second Amendment? How many people would have been silenced, how many folks deprived of their liberties?

History tells us that power tends to expand to fill the cracks of any system. No matter how literally you reduce any system of laws, to function, those laws must be interpreted, and they often must be interpreted together, creating emergent patterns of derived law and precedent. Without the Bill of Rights, our laws would have inevitably drifted past your theoretical limits of constitutional power towards darker shores of iniquity Thus the need for negative rights, rights that removed the authority of Government to enact certain laws and take certain actions, either doing so unilaterally, or placing conditions on the positive exercise of state power.

Jefferson and the other Anti-Federalists were right to be suspicious of an unbridled expansion of federal power, just as the Federalists were right that the government needed more power to do its job.

One thing is for certain, though: the authority of the Supreme Court, regardless of any name-calling or accusation, is constitutionally founded. Their interpretation is law, and is the final say.

The rule of law is dependent on the law being the final word for everybody, not some person’s opinions about what our pre-existing rights are. The law, the decisions of the court, and other elements of what the Judiciary deals with are documented, available to the people. The whims of those carrying on about pre-existing rights are not so accountable. Either the law as provided to everybody is supreme, or we’re working off the whims of whoever happens to be in charge. History tells us that government by the whims of the powerful alone nearly always ends in corruption, if not disaster.

The problem with this argument:

Stephen, when the Constitution, the founding law of the land, can be fundamentally changed by the mere interpretation of five people there is no law.

is that at its heart, it is an attack on the legitimacy of the very courts empowered by the constitution to decide what the law means. Essentially, you are saying that you consider those decisions illegitimate. Essentially, you are saying that unless they follow your intepretation, and discard well over a century of applicable jurisprudence on many subjects, then there is no legitimacy to the law at all.

God, man, do you realize what a radical position you have taken? Right or Wrong, most Americans acknowledge the courts as the final authority on the law. But to discount their decisions on political grounds as being inapplicable? Do you know how arrogant, how outside the pale you have taken yourself?

It is this heated, hardline, corrosive politics that people have become sick and tired of, the naked disregard for any other political party or philosophy’s constitutionally attained power, the naked thirst for power without accountability or checks and balances.

What people like me have fought for is the limitation of power, the limitation of a government that’s far exceeded it’s mandate, and a party which has indulged partisan agendas and diktats at the expense of the country’s general welfare. The fierce urgency of now for us is taking a political movement that has outlived its usefulness, which has pushed our Democracy to the breaking point, and putting the brakes on it.

If we go too far in restoring the balance, believe me, the people will let us know, but for the time being, folks are on our side, and we’re glad to have their help. They too feel that you folks just don’t know your limits, nor America’s, and fear that in the name of proving yourselves right, you’re ready to risk this country’s ruin, after having already done so much damage.

Your response illustrates a fundamental point: Republicans are no longer the party of conservatism. They are the party of radical change. And that radical change is no longer wanted.

People want a return to times when investments were safer, markets less volatile, employment more stable and more rewarding. They want a return to the time where America’s diplomacy won victory after victory for our country, where we didn’t engage in endless wars chasing a victory that long since died on the side of a road. They want a return to an easy going popular culture, only this time unburdened by the guilt of cultural inequities. They want folks that can reassure them with active security measures, rather than scare them into the next round of creepily invasive, dubiously constitutional acts of legislation.

In short, they want a return to the good old days. They see that possiblity in what one Republican called Obama’s “conservative” style of leadership. I know that will drive you up a wall, but look right now at Obama’s camp, and listen to all the crickets: you don’t hear people leaking, passing blame back and forth. You don’t have one controversy after another being self-inflicted by the campaign. People see his calm, his deliberation, and his thoughtfulness, and believe that whereever he seeks to lead us, we’re more likely to get their in one piece, than we would with McCain’s leadership.

This will be the great irony of this decade: the Republicans, after years of cautioning about the Liberal’s radicalism, have immolated themselves on a pyre of their own radicalism.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2008 11:14 AM
Comment #268687

Stephen,

The problem with this argument:


Stephen, when the Constitution, the founding law of the land, can be fundamentally changed by the mere interpretation of five people there is no law.

is that at its heart, it is an attack on the legitimacy of the very courts empowered by the constitution to decide what the law means. Essentially, you are saying that you consider those decisions illegitimate. Essentially, you are saying that unless they follow your intepretation, and discard well over a century of applicable jurisprudence on many subjects, then there is no legitimacy to the law at all.

Not so. It is an attack on the power of the courts to remake the meaning of law. That is not interpretation. If that is, to you, a repudiation of the authority of the courts so be it. The negation of the Tenth Amendment is a repudiation of law by the courts. That means we have no hold on them. They are empowered to do anything.

There is no rule of law in such a system.

If acknowledging that is “radical” to you, paint me radical.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 29, 2008 11:51 AM
Comment #268691

Lee Jamison-
Define “remaking the meaning of the law”. No really. It’s a rhetorical trick you folks always employ when some court decision doesn’t go your way. You accuse them of being activists, rather than actually discuss their decisions.

What are the legal traditions they departed from? You folks never say. We’re asked to take it for granted that the decisions were illegitimate, and that everybody needs to do their best to get the court packed with those who believe the same.

This seems to be the inevitable cycle of radicalization with your party. You have a minor policy disagreement, which you portray to the media and your supporters as an atrocious miscarriage of justice to score political points. Then the folks who don’t know it’s just an overheated argument come along and take it seriously, and arrange their policies accordingly. Rinse, repeat.

The truth is, most of us don’t buy this notion that the Court’s been going off on a limb lately, and most of the decisions and constitutional attitudes that it’s jurisprudence represent are conventional wisdom nowadays. That’s the thing, really. You can portray yourselves as heroes fighting against a usurpation of law, but most of the rest of us think that things are arranged just fine in that regard.

What scares people about your approach is that it lends itself rather easily to folks going off the limb. If you follow your thoughts through to their logical conclusion, you basically have authoritarian takeover by your side as the only choice that makes sure. If you believe the rule of law is dead, what’s to prevent you from justifying the use of force to restore what you believe in?

The threat of right through might seems to be the unspoken premise in much of the campaign rhetoric and political talk nowadays on the right. How can you support such an undermining of the order of the rule of law, yet still lecture the rest of us on the constitution? It seems more a zealous fundamentalism on an interpretation of the document than a true appreciation of its intentions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2008 12:50 PM
Comment #268702


WEALTH IS POWER: Power is the means by which the course of civilization and society is dictated. Therefor, wealth, in this country, should be distributed in accordance with our Constitution and the wishes of those in whom power is vested by the Constitution.

Suppose that one person had the ability and the means to secure 99% of the wealth produced in this country legally. Would that be Constitutionally acceptable in accordance with the right to own and control property?

Unfortunately, WE The People, meaning our society, allow ourselves to be lead or dragged along by our nose ring.

Posted by: jlw at October 29, 2008 2:36 PM
Comment #268709

Stephen,

Lee Jamison-
Define “remaking the meaning of the law”. No really. It’s a rhetorical trick you folks always employ when some court decision doesn’t go your way. You accuse them of being activists, rather than actually discuss their decisions.
What are the legal traditions they departed from? You folks never say. We’re asked to take it for granted that the decisions were illegitimate, and that everybody needs to do their best to get the court packed with those who believe the same.

The quick answer is to point to decisions like that in a case from Delaware, decided in 2005. I’ll exerpt a portion of the Washington Post story on the decision-


By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 24, 2005; Page A01

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project’s success is not guaranteed.

The 5 to 4 ruling provided the strong affirmation that state and local governments had sought for their increasing use of eminent domain for urban revitalization, especially in the Northeast, where many city centers have decayed and the suburban land supply is dwindlingNothing in either the Federal law or in the Constitution changed to make this sort of land-grab to enrich private developers acceptable. It was an entirely new reach of government power into property rights, utterly unprecedented in American history. It meant that the Courts now assume the property rights of individuals are now subservient to the property rights of the very wealthy.

The Yeas were the liberals. (That’s protecting the Little Guy for ya)

Roe v. Wade effectively DEFINED a human being absent any guidance from any legislative body because its remedy, homicide, is not an acceptable remedy for any matter of privacy in which one replaces a fetus, as considered in the case, with a living human being. For example, no one is permitted to throw a madman from a plane even if he presents a significant threat to the passengers.

In 2004 the Supreme Court of New Jersey ignored a law in that state that said no one may be added to or taken from a ballot within 55 days of an election to ensure that a Democrat would win their Senate seat (whereas two years ago Democrats fought to enforce such a law in Texas to ensure no Republican could replace Tom Delay, but, I digress…)

The uses of the Commerce Clause to imply governmental powers no court had ever imagined till after W.W.II, represent pure meddling. They were just quick and easy amendments without the trouble of consent.

Now, with just a little research I think I could do even better, but this was essentially off the top of my head.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 29, 2008 3:42 PM
Comment #268713

The reason this discussion is compelling is that it illustrates exactly why we have a Supreme Court and why it must be staffed by the best jurists in the country. Lee clearly believes that he knows the inherent meaning of the constitution. Stephen argues that the meaning isn’t clear. That people disagree on the meaning of text is neither novel nor surprising. It is hard to argue that the meaning of text so broad as the constitution, written in a language from 200 years ago, is perfectly clear and its application to every circumstance without ambiguity with a straight face.

It is only when the Supreme Court becomes involved in a clearly political matter as in Bush v. Gore that their interpretation becomes problematic (this would seem to apply to the NJ Supreme Court case Lee pointed to as well, although I am not familiar with that one). Otherwise, without a Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, we would be left with what? Fisticuffs? Shouting matches? It’s hard to fathom what would replace it. When people complain about “strict constructionism” or some such, they are merely stating their disagreement with the outcome of the deliberations. It will always be so.

Posted by: mental wimp at October 29, 2008 3:57 PM
Comment #268719

mental wimp,

The point I’m making is that sometimes it is incumbent on us to win clarity by changing the Constitution. If we want powers to establish agencies like an Education Department, which is clearly not provided for in the Constitution and, therefore, clearly falls to the states under the Tenth Amendment we have the power to make that legal by writing a legitimate amendment. We should not take up jury-rigging a sailing ship as a nuclear cruiser by hiring a bunch of interpretive shipwrights to do it for us.

I agree with some of what Stephen says. The existing Constitution is not up to the task of modern government as written. But I’ll be damned if I’ll accept leaving the making of necessary changes to a microscopic, polarized, legal elite not answerable to all the people.

By the way, there is, in there, a pretty good picture of Democrat elitism, too.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 29, 2008 4:39 PM
Comment #268731

Stephen:

Feel free to “bug” me at any time. I know that we may not agree on issues and I haven taken offence at some of your statements(I admit fault for practically every time that this has happened), but I do respect you and like the debates.

You said, “You ask where the founding fathers intended the redistribution of wealth, and two things occur to me. The first is that in a practical, non-perjorative sense, the redistribution of wealth is built into the constitution, with taxation, tarriffs, built in to gain revenues, and appropriations and authorizations built into the other side of spending. In a very real sense, that’s what they intended.”. No sir. I disagree totally with the premise stated here. In fact I challange you to show me one program that the founding fathers put into place to take wealth from one individual to give to another. To say that because they put the ability to raise money and spend the same money in the Constitution means that they were for the redistribution of wealth is a false premise. In support of my position I will point that the Constitution that was ratified did not allow for the taking of one’s property in the form of taxes on individuals so therefore redistribution of wealth could not have occured!

“What unmitigated bunk. So far, I’ve chosen to take an axe to the silly notion that somehow normal redistribution is outside the authority or common practice of this government, but it doesn’t seem like that is enough for your people. So here goes: Barack Obama’s tax plan is no more redistributive than the years of tax plans that the Republicans pushed through under Bush and Reagan. if Obama’s a commie, so are they.” I would like to point out that I have used the communist reference, but in all fairness I understand why you have chosen to do so. That being said, your point is moot. IMHO, President Reagan is so far the greatest President and CIC in my lifetime. It would be a hard job for anyone to compare his positions and philosophy to Senator Obama’s and prove that President Reagan’s is nearly as socialist as Senator Obama’s. I am fully aware that domestic spending increased dramatically under President Reagan, but keep in mind that he compromised with the Democrats that had a hammerlock on Congress. They wanted the domestic spending and he wanted the money to rebuild the military. We got both. But back to the main point, our tax system will not be fair unless every citizen pays the same rate of taxes. Until that day comes we are being controlled by rule of man.

“One thing for sure, though: the sixteenth amendment passed overwhelmingly, among a supermajority of states, and a supermajority of both chambers of congress, a Republican Congress at that. The founders left the door open, though they made the climb to that floor of constitutionality an difficult climb, and the income tax managed to pass that.” I have no doubts that constitutionally the government can tax income. My arguement is that if we are governed by rule of law then we should have the same rights and responsibilities as every other citizen AND no citizen should should be targeted differently due to what he has earned.

“This was a government that was designed to change with the times. The real question is not whether the founding fathers intended every interpretation. Nobody could. The question is, what was intended, in a general sense, by these constitutional principles, and how do our legislative, judicial, and executive choices fit within that? We’re talking about the challenges in principle.” I agree. let me answer your question as best I can. It was intended to treat every citizen equally under the law(except for the three-fifths, but that is a different discussion altogether). To the best of my recolletion, the founding fathers by and large did not think that a man should be afforded special privileges because of his station in life. That they wanted all men to be treated the same under the law. So I ask is our tax policy upholding those principles? Absolutely not!

You and others have used the phrase “that those who get better use of the government’s resources should pay a little more for it.”. I will ask you as I have Henry and phx8, given the very real scenario that I have presented about my own life choices and sacrifices, how is it that I fall into the group that has gotten better use of the government’s resources and therefore should pay more for it? Rule of law, or rule of man?

As to the fairness doctorine, rule of law does NOT apply to this as you are are stating. The Democrat Party is going to attempt, quite frankly succeed in reinstating this to silence opposing views. I am saying this because of Rep. Pelosi’s and Senator Reid’s own words. They have stated that they are going to silence Rush and Sean once and for all. This is rule of man.

I will give you an example of applying this doctorine as rule of law. We have many citizens that cannot get commercial air time. By applying this doctorine, every radio station should be forced to play one country song followed by one rap, classical, jazz, metal, R and B…. until every musical taste should be given equal air time. It is a pity that your so called “rule of law” only applies to political speech and not the meduim that it is expressed in.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 29, 2008 6:06 PM
Comment #268768

Lee Jamison-
I’m aware of the Kelo decision. I didn’t like it, but nobody really came up with a constitutional reason why the decision was wrong on the law. The fifth amendment clearly tells us that the government has the power to take people’s property for government use, providing they are compensated for it. It’s part of how we built the interstate highways. But what happened in New London, while unjust, was not unconstitutional.

The courts did not actively begin or give this power to the states and municipalities. Nor, to my knowledge, have they stood in the way as communities and states changed the laws to forbid this. They simply said that there wasn’t grounds to consider that taking unconstitutional. Where does it say in the constitution that the government can’t take property, and put it into private hands?

Are you not creating a right from whole cloth, or asking the Supreme Court to do the same?

As far as Roe v. Wade goes, birth has been the traditional beginning of one’s status as a person. Even the bible recommends a lighter punishment for somebody who causes a woman to miscarry than for homicide in its terms. Medical privacy was also a pre-existing right. There is legitimate question as to the quality of the argument, but it’s been settled law for quite some time.

As far as the New Jersey decision goes, wouldn’t both our sides be hypocritical? Sure, Democrats denied DeLay his replacement, but weren’t you trying to do the same? At best, this arrangement just seems to cancel itself out. Next time you seek the moral high ground, try not to use an example which essentially says you tried the same thing yourself. (replacing after the deadline or opposing a replacement)

As far as Commerce Clause goes, the fairness doctrine was enacted and enforced by a commission that has roots going back to the teens. The extensive use of federal authority to regulate business dates back to the turn of the century before, to the first people who called themselves progressives. I don’t know why you think that this just suddenly happened because of the liberals, that suddenly folks started intruding on big business’s turf with regulations in FDR’s time.

Of course FDR’s expansion of government was considerable. But it was with America’s consent. They elected him, then re-elected him, then, for good measure, elected him a couple more times!

submarinesforever-
Raising money through taxes and tariffs means taking it from people bringing in goods or doing something else, and then giving that money to somebody else. Distribution, and redistribution. Unless you’re trying to restrict this to some arbitrary argument meant to force a marxist connotation on the word, taxation and tariffs are instruments of redistribution.

Disagree with that premise, but its a fact: all governments mandate some sort of redistribution to fund themselves. A government that can’t mandate its own funding is no government. The real question is the shape of the redistribution.

Here’s what I would ask: why must the funds go to the rich? Why not the middle class? Or to phrase it more accurately, why not the middle class tax brackets? I don’t know whether you realize this, but a Rich person isn’t taxed for all his money at the top bracket. They are are taxed at all brackets. So, essentially, they get the tax cut, too, they just don’t get as much of it. But isn’t it our government too?

I bring up Reagan to make a simple point: a lot is being made of very little difference in tax policy. Rather than get into the weeds of the circumstances of the policy, let’s just acknowledge that. We have plans and proposals that are nowhere near communist, that once were normal, which are not being treated as extraordinarily leftist.

I’ll talk more later, I got to get to bed, but let me leave you with this point:

Both Democrats and Republicans have both promised and delivered government much more liberal than what Obama is proposing or promising. It is only from the perspective of the modern GOP that this actually seems freakish, socialistic.

Republicans won several elections with the fairness doctrine still in place. They distributed their talking points, and operated their share of talk radio under its policies. Reagan won with this policy in place. All the fairness doctrine woudl prevent them from doing is just painting the schedules wall to wall with right-wing voices You would still see these people on talk radio, especially the more popular ones. The only thing they’d have to worry about is competing.

Would competition really be so bad?

The fairness doctrine is a compromise between the principle that the airwaves belong to the people, and the private interests of those who wanting to run those who bring in the ratings.

Do your people need exclusive use of a station to win arguments and elections? Or have you folks already won in the past without the help of such block booking?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2008 1:28 AM
Comment #268867

Stephen,
Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)-

Are you not creating a right from whole cloth, or asking the Supreme Court to do the same?
No Supreme Court in American history had even seen fit to find a right for a WEALTHY PARTY to simply sieze, even for some vague “greater good” the private property of a poorer individual. Clarence Thomas echoed my view with this dissent-
“This deferential shift in phraseology (from “public use” to “public purpose”) enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a ‘public use.’”
Is there not a danger that any individual’s property, being primarily for individual use could fall prey to the Court’s new terminology simply because corporate or industrial use could always be expected to have a more “public purpose”?

Such an interpretation of the Fifth Amendment would make any assertion of individual private property rights a sham. Hell no, I am making no rights up out of “whole cloth”! I leave that up to the liberal sorcerers brooding over the boiling pots of Washington D.C. This was a dangerous, completely original invention of new law by judicial elitists.

On Roe v. Wade , 410 U.S. 113 (1973) you simply avoid the real point. It is irrelevant when some vague “they” of court history regarded human life to start. Up until 1973 the states could make the value decision for when a human became human based on their local value structure with their own legally authorized representatives, who they could then toss from office if a majority of voters substantially disagreed.

The Court, by an elitist, unaccountable ruling of a tiny group of people seized from the public the right to make the most crucial choice any human being can participate in- when we become people in the eyes of the law. If their choice had been unanimous, and it was not, it would have been the most arrogant judgement in American Judicial history.


As far as the New Jersey decision goes, wouldn’t both our sides be hypocritical? Sure, Democrats denied DeLay his replacement, but weren’t you trying to do the same? At best, this arrangement just seems to cancel itself out. Next time you seek the moral high ground, try not to use an example which essentially says you tried the same thing yourself. (replacing after the deadline or opposing a replacement)
Now this is just funny, since the Texas Supreme Court stood up for Texas election law in denying a new Republican candidate a place on the ballot in 2006 while New Jersy’s Democratically controlled Supreme Court ignored that state’s law on replacement of a candidate.


On the matter of consent. The Britsh have what they call a “Constitution” It is an ad hoc collection of documants and traditions largely pieced together with whichever way the wind is blowing today. This is exactly what you are arguing for. It is exactly what I am arguing against. Just because people operating under a crumbling system of traditions and understandings and glances away at well timed moments continue to elect people who complicate and confund that system does not mean they have had the chance to approve the mutilation of the foundations of their government.

We don’t get to approve or disapprove the atrocities of the Supreme Court upon the foundation of our society.


Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 30, 2008 3:20 PM
Comment #268881

On the “Fainness doctrine”, as I did on another string, I will borrow ,a href=”http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/005561.html”>from myself—

The Doctrine itself, furthermore, had something of a checkered past. In a paper entitled “The Fairness Doctrine: A solution in search of a problem” Adrian Cronauer addresses uses of the powers of the Fairness Doctrine to actively squelch public comment-

“Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President Kennedy, told how Kennedy’s administration used the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters, in the hope the challenges would be so costly that these broadcasters would find it too expensive to continue their broadcasts” (see footnote 14 of that paper)
The D.C. Circuit also invited the Supreme Court to revisit Red Lion, observing how such analysis “inevitably leads to strained reasoning” and concluding “the line drawn between the print media and the broadcast media, resting as it does on the physical scarcity of the latter, is a distinction without a difference.”

Numerous attempts have been made to revive the doctrine, starting with the Senate’s refusal for three years to approve Reagan and Bush administration nominees to the F.C.C. (Cronauer), but in light of the Doctrine’s increasingly questionable legal footing these efforts have failed.

Another item of interest is how the doctrine began to unravel. In the FCC v. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA, 468 U.S. 364 (1984) case noted above the original plaintiff was Pacifica Foundation, the nationwide, largely liberal leaning, educational radio network. Fairness Doctrine regulations prevented educational stations operating within frequencies set aside for educational purposes from expressing editorial opinions. One may note with some humor that the 1984 opinion struck down that provision of the doctrine.

The Present Debate

It cannot be argued that there is less access to opinions or news as a result of the demise of the Fairness Doctrine. Whereas in 1980 there were 75 radio stations in America dedicated to political controversy or news and talk, by 2004 there were more than 1400. This, according to ”Why is Talk Radio Conservative?” By William G. Mayer (findarticles.com). That number, according to Mayer, does not include not-for-profit radio stations such as the previously mentioned Pacifica stations or National Public Radio where conservatives, at least, believe liberal views are well represented. It is, in fact, the end of the Fairness Doctrine that permitted these stations to have overt political content at all!

Liberals are not concerned with “fairness”. Nor are they concerned with liberal access to the public airways, because they have more of both WITHOUT the Fairness Doctrine. The only reason they want to get back to the strong-arming of political speech on the public airways is to remove conservative voices and access to information.

Period.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 30, 2008 4:34 PM
Comment #268894

Stephen:

Thanks again for the response. IMHO we are laying out two competing philosophies in a manner that any intrested third person can read, comprehend and make an informed decision as to which philosophy is correct. I tip my hat to you for laying your arguements in the manner that you have.

“Raising money through taxes and tariffs means taking it from people bringing in goods or doing something else, and then giving that money to somebody else. Distribution, and redistribution. Unless you’re trying to restrict this to some arbitrary argument meant to force a marxist connotation on the word, taxation and tariffs are instruments of redistribution.” followed by “Disagree with that premise, but its a fact: all governments mandate some sort of redistribution to fund themselves. A government that can’t mandate its own funding is no government. The real question is the shape of the redistribution.”. The premise that I disagreed with was your statement ” the redistribution of wealth is built into the constitution, with taxation, tarriffs, built in to gain revenues, and appropriations and authorizations built into the other side of spending. In a very real sense, that’s what they intended.” I have never read any writings from any founding father nor have I read where the Second Continental Congress ever considered taking one man’s property, time or labor to give it arbitrarily to another unless it was to pay for goods and services provided to the government. I note that there is a vast difference between our use of the words distribution and redistribution. IMHO distribution has connotations of paying for services rendered, redistribution in our sense of the word means giving with no services rendered(charity).

Keeping with the theme of Lee’s article, I argue that our tax system does not give all men equal protection under the law and treat all men equally. Bluntly, it is the rule of man not the rule of law. It is used to punnish some behaviors, reward others. It is used to target specific groups for that punnishment. As such it is unjust and restricting to the fundamental freedoms of all men.

“Here’s what I would ask: why must the funds go to the rich? Why not the middle class? Or to phrase it more accurately, why not the middle class tax brackets? I don’t know whether you realize this, but a Rich person isn’t taxed for all his money at the top bracket. They are are taxed at all brackets. So, essentially, they get the tax cut, too, they just don’t get as much of it. But isn’t it our government too?” Why should the funds go to the rich? IMHO this is the crux of our philosophical differences on this issue. IMHO were we to have rule of law, ones compensation for time, labor and skills would belong to the individual first and therefore would only be taken from him at the same rate as it is taken from all others. By our rule of man system and your philosophy, the compensation for one’s time labor and skill belong to the government first and the government shall be the ones to decide how much you will be allowed to keep as compared to everyone else.

As to the fairness doctorine I will address the most pertinent question you asked, “Would competition really be so bad?”. Were the liberal ideology be able to compete in markets and actually make a profit there would be no need for the government to force it on America. But more importantly, would you be in favor of forcing television news to report political news on a 50/50 spilt and with even positive and negative positions on all politicians?

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 30, 2008 5:40 PM
Comment #268896

Stephen:

There was one point that I wanted to make in your debate with lee on the Kelo decision and your reference to the Fifth admendment. This case, as I understand it, was brought because a government took land from a citizen and gave it to a private developer. If you recall the words in the Fifth Admendment are, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”. Nothing in this states that property may be taken from one individual and given to another.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 30, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #268901

submarinesforever,

I agree wholeheartedly that Stephen always gives an excellent account of the arguments of the left. While he occasionally drifts into emotionalism, as many of the left-leaners here do, he is largely giving an honest effort at answering our best efforts with the best the left has.

He is easily the most talented person writing consistently on this site.

That said, talent does not good philosophy make, which is why we can give up so many points of I.Q. and still stand toe to toe with him.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 30, 2008 6:56 PM
Comment #268904

Should an Obama administration be successful in his plans to “spread the wealth around” thru taxation, how long would it be before these socialists would begin to tax accumulated wealth along with income and earnings?

The concept of a “Death Tax” has been around for quite some time and varies in the amount being confiscated at death from time to time.

I would fully expect Obama to require, and with eager congressional approval, that all wealth exceeding a certain arbitrary amount be forcefully taken while the holder of that wealth still lives. Of course, it would be done in the name of “fairness” or some such other nonsense not provided for in our constitution.

Just imagine how socialists would drool at the thought of getting their hands on the accumulated wealth in this country without having to wait for death to hasten the taxman.

I fully believe that even if Ted Kennedy were dead at the time, he would rise from his grave to vote for this having made certain that the Kennedy wealth is protected by some loophole.

Posted by: Jim M at October 30, 2008 7:21 PM
Comment #268916

Jim M,

One of the points I’ve tried to be careful to note is that Democrats are not enemies of WEALTH. Take, for instance, the matter of Kelo v. New London above.

In that case a very liberal state sided with a large corporation to sieze property held by relatively poorer individual landowners for private use. In other words the government made a decision about who was qualified to hold wealth.

The large corporate interest was better qualified in the eyes of the liberals to utilize property.

Socialists and National Socialists alike believe there should be concentrations of wealth. They simply believe they are more qualified than we are to determine who should hold that wealth.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 30, 2008 8:29 PM
Comment #268921

Stephen,

I’ve missed a few points you made in the process of trying to get some paying work done.

As for signing statements, here’s the thing: never before has a President tried to use one of those to explicitly tell Congress he would not enforce a law.

That’s blatantly unconstitutional, for two reasons: first, the President is the obligated agent of execution for Congress’s legislation. His job is to carry out the law, not rewrite it to his satisfaction. If he doesn’t like a part of the law, he has a veto he can threaten people with or use. Second, there’s a whole other branch that is dedicated to interpreting the law, to determining what is and is not constitutional. He can appeal to the judges of our nation’s courts, and see if they disagree. In the meantime, so long as he has signed it, he must enforce it as is.

The unitary executive theory is a poisonous dose of authoritarianism, based on the thinnest of constitutional grounds.I don’t know what I said about “signing statements”, but in the paragraphs quoted here I agree with you. The president can’t pick and choose what laws he will uphold and what laws he will ignore. You’re right. This action is blatantly unconstitutional and flies in the face of the rule of law.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 30, 2008 9:01 PM
Comment #268925

Stephen,

I’m reposting this with the quotes set up properly so you get proper credit for your work.

I’ve missed a few points you made in the process of trying to get some paying work done.

As for signing statements, here’s the thing: never before has a President tried to use one of those to explicitly tell Congress he would not enforce a law.
That’s blatantly unconstitutional, for two reasons: first, the President is the obligated agent of execution for Congress’s legislation. His job is to carry out the law, not rewrite it to his satisfaction. If he doesn’t like a part of the law, he has a veto he can threaten people with or use. Second, there’s a whole other branch that is dedicated to interpreting the law, to determining what is and is not constitutional. He can appeal to the judges of our nation’s courts, and see if they disagree. In the meantime, so long as he has signed it, he must enforce it as is.
The unitary executive theory is a poisonous dose of authoritarianism, based on the thinnest of constitutional grounds.
I don’t know what I said about “signing statements”, but in the paragraphs quoted here I agree with you. The president can’t pick and choose what laws he will uphold and what laws he will ignore. You’re right. This action is blatantly unconstitutional and flies in the face of the rule of law.


Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 30, 2008 9:06 PM
Comment #269011

For information purposes, I would like to point out that there are six “tier one” law schools in Chicago, including Northwestern, Loyola, Illinois, DePaul, and Chicago-Kent at IIT, besides the U of C, which I suspect gets it’s ranking based on the politic correctness of the clinics they run, see http://www.law.uchicago.edu/academics/clinics.html
John Marshall is a “tier two” law school here, but I don’t think you would find many people who would regard them as less of a law school than the others.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 31, 2008 6:23 PM
Comment #269127

a tiny group of people seized from the public the right to make the most crucial choice any human being can participate in-

Ah, you see, the most crucial choice any human being can participate in is one that involves her own body and its disposition. This is what the court recognized in Roe v. Wade. And you conservatives hate it, hate it, hate it, because you want to intervene in that very crucial, very personal decision. And that is why I will always oppose your attempts to insert the state into that situation where it clearly does not belong, at least up to the point of viability.

Posted by: mental wimp at November 1, 2008 11:53 PM
Comment #269152

mental wimp,

If the courts can decide when a human being is person in the eyes of the law then, inherently, the state, in the form of a microscopic, totally unaccountable judicial body royal, has in fact stepped into that decision.

That the people of a state can decide to extend the protection of law to a fetus or withold that protection is not a disavowal of privacy. It is far, far more private simply to carry a fetus to term and discard the unwanted newborn, but all of society flies from that solution. Those who take that path are universally called murderers. The logic of your assertion falls to pieces then and there.

The imposition of the values of the elite on the many is a disavowal on the part of the rulers of the people’s competence to establish values of their own in law. In most states that would probably have meant policies remain as they are today. But we have taken tyrrany’s baby steps. The people are being intellectually intimidated into allowing judges to declare them incompetent to choose their most deeply held values for themselves.

Today the Judiciary is siezing from us the right to choose against convenient homicide, tomorrow it may be taking the right to express religious values in public discourse, the next day is may be taking from one’s self the right to utilize one’s own talents and profit from the work of one’s own hand.

The government that can choose for itself to acknowledge or withold acknowledgement of its people’s competencies has a tremendous incentive to judge them incompetent. THAT is what you have advocated for.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 2, 2008 9:51 AM
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