If you think Clown World is a mess, imagine you’re Ron Paul right now.
You turn on the TV for your daily dose of Jewish nonsense, and you see Nancy Pelosi, of all people, talking about a “Constitutional Crisis”.
Her concerns are echoed, pun intended, by (((Jerry Nadler))).
You change the channel in disbelief, but everywhere you go, there’s a Democrat saying the same thing. Constitutional Crisis, Constitutional Crisis, Constitutional Crisis, and you think this would make more sense if it were some kind of deathbed confession. It’s almost as if the Democrat Party had finally decided to read the damn thing, and suddenly felt guilty about destroying the country for all these decades.
But of course, no such luck.
They aren’t feeling guilty about taking your guns away, or stifling your speech. They have no qualms about launching a counterintelligence operation against the now sitting President using the secret courts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They haven’t renounced their use of illegal immigration to alter the electoral college or the makeup of the House of Representatives. They haven’t come to grasp the meaning of the “general welfare” clause, and given up on wealth redistribution. They certainly haven’t stumbled upon the 10th Amendment and embraced the wisdom of states rights.
No, none of these eminently reasonable things have sparked the Democrat Party’s newfound interest in the Constitution of the United States.
Rather, they are complaining that Attorney General William Barr has not broken the law by releasing the unredacted Mueller report to the public, and have thus voted in committee to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. The matter will soon go before the floor of the House of Representatives for a full vote. The House being in Democrat hands, the measure is likely to pass.
Once approved, Pelosi, as House speaker then turns the matter over to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, “whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action,” according to the law. The Justice Department has to actually make the choice to take up a criminal case against someone, however, and in the past, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute criminal contempt of Congress cases. The current US Attorney for DC is Jessie Kong Liu, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, and like the rest of the Justice Department, is under his authority. So this route of presidential harassment is less than likely to bear fruit.
It is worth noting, of course, that Representative Nadler is more than welcome to go stop by the AG’s office and view the unredacted report at his leisure. This isn’t something that is being kept secret from him. He just doesn’t want to make the effort, and this means of review would not be nearly as helpful toward his blatantly obvious political motives.
While Congress has broad investigative powers, there are of course limits. The Supreme Court has said that congressional inquiries should have a “legitimate legislative purpose” and has explicitly stated that they should not be used for political purposes, or to embarrass, expose wrongdoing, or target a particular person or group.
Given Nancy Pelosi’s prior statements about subpoena power being an “interesting … arrow to have in your quiver in terms of negotiating on other subjects”, the motives here could not be more obvious. Add to this, Representative Al Green on MSNBC earlier this week, saying he fears that if Democrats don’t impeach Trump, he’ll be reelected, which of course, is what this is all about.
The White House, for their part, has invoked Executive Privilege over the material in the report, blocking further access to it.
Executive privilege, as you may be aware, is the power of the President and other members of the executive branch, to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government, in pursuit of information or personnel relating to confidential communications that would impair proper function of their offices. The power of Congress or the federal courts to obtain such information is not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution, nor is there any explicit mention in the Constitution of an executive privilege to resist such requests from Congress or the courts. Both are seen as “inherent” to the powers of the respective branches.
Historically conflicts between these competing powers has been handled through negotiation, rather than allowing the courts to decide. In this case, since the Democrats have taken it upon themselves to resist the Trump administration in every imaginable way, and a few which were previously beyond imagination, negotiation seems unlikely. The Democrats are thus left with the choice of whining about it impotently, or taking the matter to the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority is likely to side with the President, as would any liberal majority if liberals had any kind of standards beyond their own pursuit of power.
Hence the “Constitutional Crisis” could best be summarized as “the constitution doesn’t give the Democrats what they want”.
The impudence of the Left in this incident comes as no surprise to the savvy observer. Nancy Pelosi was unconcerned about the Constitution as she threatened that a future Democrat President might use his emergency powers to infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans. There is nothing in Article 1 Section 8 that would empower the Congress to ban fossil fuels, or any of the other lunacy contemplated in the “Green New Deal” nor for that matter, any power to enact the Affordable Care Act, or 90% of the other crap that gets crammed through each legislative session, by both parties. That, dear listener, is the real constitutional crisis.
Once upon a time, Congress understood limits on their powers. To enact alcohol prohibition, as the easiest example, Congress was well aware they had no such power, and thus the 18th amendment to the Constitution was necessary to send booze underground. Likewise, to end prohibition, Congress knew they lacked the authority to repeal a constitutional amendment on their own, and thus the 21st amendment was passed. Since then, Congressional restraint has been in steady decline.
I am not making a defense of drugs or advocating their legalization to say, that the example of alcohol prohibition makes it plain to see that Congress lacked the authority to ban drugs. This of course did not stop them from doing so. Nor did it stop them from empowering the Drug Enforcement Agency to ban substances at their discretion, without even Congressional say so, under the “Emergency Scheduling” powers in the Comprehensive Crime Control act of 1984.
Indeed, it would take an eternity to list the many examples of Congress exceeding their authority, so it might make more sense to address some landmark Supreme Court Decisions.
Take for example the incident historians sometimes refer to as the “switch in time that saved nine“. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom even conservative Americans foolishly and universally hail as a great President for defeating the Nazis, was on quite the run trying to convert our Nation to communism with his New Deal programs. Fortunately for you and I, the Supreme Court had the good sense to strike down most of these measures as unconstitutional.
Roosevelt and his Democrat controlled Congress saw this impedance of their coercive powers as its own constitutional crisis. In response, they formulated the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937. This was to alter the Judiciary Act of 1869, in which Congress had established that the United States Supreme Court would consist of the Chief Justice and eight associate justices. Roosevelt intended to pack the court with judges who would overlook the constitutional challenges to his programs, a measure Democrats openly contemplate on the Presidential campaign trail even today.
This resulted in a sudden jurisprudential shift by Associate Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, in the 1937 case West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish. The Court’s majority opinion was rightly seen as a strategic political move, to undermine the court packing plan. It worked, and thus you still see a Supreme Court of 9 Justices, at least until Democrats regain control over Congress and the White House. Unfortunately, this is also how you ended up with a federal minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and all manner of other redistributive schemes as the Lochner era came to an abrupt and unjustifiable end.
It likewise paved the way another notable case known as Wickard v. Filburn in 1942. An Ohio farmer, Roscoe Filburn, was growing wheat to feed animals on his own farm. The US government had established limits on wheat production, supposedly to stabilize wheat prices. Filburn grew more than the limits that he was permitted and so was ordered to pay a penalty. In response, he said that because his wheat was not sold, it could not be regulated as commerce, let alone “interstate” commerce, referencing the “interstate commerce clause” which grants congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”
The Supreme Court disagreed, stating in the majority decision “even if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.'”
This dramatically expanded the regulatory powers of the federal government to intervene in basically any matter that might impact the economy in any imaginable way.
You might be saying to yourself “But that would remove all limits on federal powers” and you would be exactly right.
Thomas Jefferson had expressed a similar concern in the earliest days of our then young Constitution.
The interstate commerce clause was one of the congressional power that Congress purported to exercise in creating our first central bank.
In his Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank in 1791, Jefferson was very concerned that the creation of a National Bank would open the floodgates for increased spending by the Federal government. His wisdom seems notably prescient in the current year, does it not? As a national bank was not one of the enumerated powers of the federal government in the constitution, Jefferson was opposed to its formation.
With regard to the interstate commerce clause, Jefferson wrote rather specifically, that to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the States, and with the Indian tribes.” did not extend to all economic matters. “To erect a bank, and to regulate commerce, are very different acts. He who erects a bank, creates a subject of commerce in its bills, so does he who makes a bushel of wheat, or digs a dollar out of the mines; yet neither of these persons regulates commerce thereby. To make a thing which may be bought and sold, is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling. Besides, if this was an exercise of the power of regulating commerce, it would be void, as extending as much to the internal commerce of every State, as to its external. For the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State, (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes. Accordingly the bill does not propose the measure as a regulation of trace, but as `’ productive of considerable advantages to trade.”
He likewise was skeptical of the excessive reliance on the “general welfare clause” which states that the Congress shall have Power “To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”
Of this Jefferson wrote that “To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.
It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”
The “Bank Bill” was signed into law by George Washington on February 25, 1791, beginning the neverending cascade of constitutional crises we’ve seen ever since, less than two years after the Constitution went into effect.
Thus, it is absurd on its face to see conservatives today fretting over the constitutionality of one matter or another, which would otherwise be to their political advantage. The lid was blown off the whole thing by the first Congress and the first President. The savior they hail for defeating the Germans in World War II, put the final nails in its coffin, and the rapid expansion of federal powers since has been little more than the predictable result of democratic elections.
We have many crises, but they are in no way rooted in the Constitution, no more than most of the laws passed by our Congress. The trouble lies in the quality of our citizenry, and the leaders they subsequently elect.
There’s a lot more to get to, plus your calls…
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