Tag Archives: separation of powers

St. Robert Bellarmine and the Declaration of Independence

Today is the feast day of St. Robert Bellarmine!

FOTM, therefore, is paying homage to this saint by re-publishing joandarc’s post from last year. 🙂

Today, September 17th, is the Feast Day of a most remarkable man, St. Robert Bellarmine.

He was born on October 4, 1542, in Montepulciano near Siena, Italy.  He had an excellent education, being schooled in the humanities, theology and philosophy, ordained a Jesuit priest on March 25, 1570.  He was a Professor of Theology at Louvain and was summoned to teach at the Roman College as the Chair of Apologetics.  He is affectionaly known as the Patron Saint of Catechists and Apologists, having approached with charity, reason and thorough analysis, the heresies of his day.  He was made a Cardinal on March 3, 1599 and appointed the Papal Theologian by Pope Clement VIII, and on March 18, 1602, he was appointed the Archbishop of Capua.  He composed varous books on spirituality, on the Church and the Mystical Body of Christ.  Pope Benedict XVI tells us that, “Since as a priest and bishop he was first and foremost a pastor of souls, he felt it was his duty to preach diligently.”  He gave hundreds of sermons.  Pope Benedict XVI further tells us that the “hallmark of Bellarmine’s spirituality is his vivid personal perception of God’s immense goodness.  This is why our Saint truly felt he was a beloved Son of God.  It was a source of great joy to him to pause in recollection, with serenity and simplicity, in prayer and contemplation of God.”

What is most important is that Bellarmine taught that we must center on our own pesonal conversion in order to reform our lives so that we are pleasing to God.

Rev. John C. Rager, S.T.D., stated to Professor David A. Schaff in defense of Bellarmine, that “the Congressional Library still possesses a copy of Patriarcha, a book which once stood on the library shelf of Thomas Jefferson.  Patriarcha, was written by Robert Filmer, the privage theologian of James I of England in defense of the Divine Right of Kings and principally in refutation to the Jesuit Cardinal Bellarmine’s political principles of popular sovereignty.”

Father Rager provides us some interesting parallels, clause for clause, of the American Declaration of Independence and Bellarmine’s statments, to-wit:

With regard to the equaity of men:

Declaration of Independence:  “All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Bellarmine:  “All men are equal, not in wisdom or grace, but in the essence and nature of mankind” (De Laicis,” c.7).  “There is no reason why among equals one should rule rather than another.” (Ibid.)  “Let rulers remember that they preside over men who are of the same nature as they themselves” (De Officus Princ.” c.22).  “Political right is immediately from God and necessarily inherent in the nature of man” (De Laicia” c. 6, note 1).

With regard to the function of government:

Declaration of Independence:  “To secure these rights governments are instituted among men.”

Bellarmine:  “It is impossible for men to live together without someone to care for the common good.  Men must be governed by someone lest they be willing to perish” (De Laicia,” c.6).

With regard to the source of power:

Declaration of Independence:  “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Bellarmine:  “It depends upon the consent of the multitude to constitute over itself a king, consul, or other magistrate.  This power is, indeed, from God, but vested in a particular ruler by the counsel and election of men” (De Laicis, c. 6, notes 4 and 5).  “The people themselves immediately and directly hold the political power” (De Clericis, c. 7).

With regard to the right to change the government:

Declaration of Independence:  “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government. . .Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient reasons.”

Bellarmine:  “For legitimate reasons the people can change the government to an aristocracy or a democracy or vice versa” (De Laicis, c. 6).  “The people never transfers its power to a king so completely but that it reserves to itself the right of receiving back the power” (Recognitio de Laicis, c. 6).

And says Father Rager:

“If Jefferson ever read as many as four pages of this book, he read on the fourth page, the following:

Four times Bellarmine’s name is mentioned in bold print on this contents page of Patriarcha.  The first chapter of Patriarcha is again prefaced with its table of contents and Bellarmine’s name appears on it three times.  Then, if Jefferson read the first lines of the chapter he read this:

‘Since the time that school divinity began to flourish there hath been a common opinion maintained.  Mankind is naturally endowed and born with Freedom, and at liberty to choose what form of Government it please.  And that the Power which any one Man hath over others, was at first bestowed according to the discretion of the Multitude.’

If Jefferson ever read as many as four pages of this book, he read on the fourth page the following:

‘To make evidence the Grounds of this Question, about the Natural Liberty of Mankind, I will lay down some passages of Cardinal Bellarmine, that may best unfold the State of this controversie.  Secular or Civil Power is instituted by man; it is in the people, unless they bestow it on a Prince.  This Power is immediately in the whole Multitude, as in the subject of it; for the Power is in Divine Law, but the Divine Law hath given this Power to no particular man.  If the Positive Law be taken away, there is left no Reason why amongst a Multitude (who are Equal) one rather than another should bear Rule over the Rest.  It depends upon the Consent of the Multitude to ordain over themselves a King, Counsel, or other Magistrates; and if there be a lawful cause the multitude may change the Kingdom into an Aristocracy or Democracy.  Thus, far, Bellarmine, in which passages are coprised the strength of all that I have read or heard produced for the Natural Liberty of the Subject.’ “

And Father Rager asks, “Would not Jefferson, who was seeking a formulation of “the natural liberties of the subject,” be attracted to read and re-read this quotation from Bellarmine which “comprised the strength of all that had ever been produced for the natural liberty of the subject?”  And does not the American Declaration reflect strikingly this very passage of Bellarmine quoted by Filmer and lying open before the eyes of Jefferson?”

We will never actually be able to confirm or deny if Jefferson ever read the original works of St. Robert Bellarmine.  However, in the Library of Princeton University there was, according to Father Rager, “a copy of Cardinal Bellarmine’s works in the days of Jefferson.  James Madison, a member of the committee which drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights was a graduate of Princeton in 1771 and certainly had access to Bellarmine’s works.”

Pope Benedict XVI tells us that Bellarmine “died in Rome on 17 September 1621.  Pope Pius XI beatified him in 1923, canonized him in 1930 and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1931.”

One cannot help but find noteworthy the similarities in thought as set out above.  Happy Feast Day to you, Dear St. Robert Bellarmine!  I implore you to interecede for the people of America before the throne of the Triune God to help our country be rid of its present tyranny, of its present war on people of faith lodged by this administration, of its present war on the culture of life where millions and millions of innocent children have lost their lives to legalized abortion on demand.  We need your help Great Saint!

Sources:

General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI, February 23, 2011, Saint Robert Bellarmine, Vatican website.

Catholic Sources and the Declaration of Independence, Rev. John C. Rager, S.T.D., CERC Home website.

~Joan

See our other posts on saints and angels by going to that page. Click here!

~Eowyn

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Mr. Paul Goes to Washington – Watch Live

mr-smith-goes-to-washington-1
Remember Jimmy Stewart in the Frank Capra classic movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is doing the same thing RIGHT NOW on the Senate floor.

Rand Paul
Sen. Paul is filibustering the POS regime’s appointment of John Brennan as CIA Director because the administration won’t disavow drone killing American citizens on US soil without due process. In fact, the POS’s attorney general Eric Holder three-times refused to answer the question whether it is constitutional for the the United States to use a drone to kill an American citizen on U.S. soil, even if said citizen does not pose an “imminent [national security] threat”.
This is unconstitutional and Sen. Paul said he’s had a enough of unconstitutional actions by this regime and will talk until he can’t do it any more.
Sen. Paul is getting great support from Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Will any other senators step in when Paul has to quit? Flood your senators’ phone lines with that question.
This is democracy in action, folks!
Sen. Paul and other supporting speakers are also using this occasion to give the American people an excellent crash course on the threats posed to our liberty by the Obama regime’s drones, as well as the fundamentals of the U.S. government as designed by our Founding Fathers — separation of powers into three co-equal branches, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights (especially the Fourth Amendment), and the importance of due process.
Read more in the Washington Times.
Watch Senator Paul live on CSPAN here.
H/t my friend Robert K. Wilcox
~Eowyn

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Judge blocks NDAA U.S. citizens detention law!

Remember that odious piece of legislation shit with the innocuous name, National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), which both parties in both houses of Congress passed and which that other piece of shit named Barack Obama signed into law on the last day of 2011?
Yes, it’s that anti-Constitutional piece of shit law that authorizes the President and military of the United States of America to arrest and indefinitely detain imprison U.S. citizens without cause or trial.
We gnashed our teeth and raised a hue and cry. Congressman Ron Paul, among some other representatives and senators in D.C., said they oppose the piece of shit NDAA, but no effort was made to repeal it.
Thank our Founding Fathers for devising a political system of federalism and separation of powers!
First, the state of Virginia said “No” to NDAA. Other state and local governments also began to fight NDAA,
Now the courts have entered the fray.
On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, a federal judge — an Obama appointee! — in New York, 48-yar-old U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest in Manhattan, ruled to (temporarily) block the measure.

U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest

Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado report for Bloomberg, May 16, 2012:

Opponents of a U.S. law they claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism persuaded a federal judge to temporarily block the measure.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan yesterday ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.

The complaint was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.

“The statute at issue places the public at undue risk of having their speech chilled for the purported protection from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ‘associated forces’ – i.e., ‘foreign terrorist organizations,’” Forrest said in an opinion yesterday. “The vagueness of Section 1021 does not allow the average citizen, or even the government itself, to understand with the type of definiteness to which our citizens are entitled, or what conduct comes within its scope.”

Forrest’s order prevents enforcement of the provision of the statute pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by Congress.

Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, declined to comment on the ruling.

The plaintiffs claim Section 1021 is vague and can be read to authorize their detention based on speech and associations that are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Hedges and two other plaintiffs testified in a hearing before Forrest in March, the judge said. A fourth plaintiff submitted a sworn declaration. The government put on no evidence, Forrest said.

Forrest, an Obama appointee who has served on the Manhattan federal court since October, rejected the government’s arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue over the law and that it merely reaffirmed provisions in an earlier law, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In her opinion, Forrest said the government declined to say that the activities of Hedges and the other defendants don’t fall under the provision. Forrest held a hearing in March at which government lawyers didn’t call any witnesses or present evidence, according to the judge. The government did cross-examine the plaintiffs who testified and submitted legal arguments.

“The government was given a number of opportunities at the hearing and in its briefs to state unambiguously that the type of expressive and associational activities engaged in by plaintiffs — or others — are not within Section 1021,” Forrest said. “It did not. This court therefore must credit the chilling impact on First Amendment rights as reasonable — and real.”

Hedges, who testified he has been a foreign news correspondent for 20 years, said he has reported on 17 groups that are on a State Department list of terrorist groups. Hedges testified that after the law was passed, he changed his dealings with groups he had reported on, Forrest said.

“I think the ruling was not only correct, but courageous and important,” Hedges said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The case is Hedges v. Obama, 12-cv-00331, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Thank you, Christopher Hedges!

God bless Judge Katherine Forrest!

H/t beloved FOTM reader Wade.  😀
~Eowyn

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Holder responds to 5th Court of Appeals: Obama screwed up

In order to better protect and secure the rights and liberties of the people, our brilliant Founding Fathers designed a government of separated powers.
Government power would be divided and dispersed among three branches — the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial — each with its separate charges and functions. Our Founders envisioned the result of the Separation of Powers would be Checks and Balance of government.
The head of the Judicial Branch of government is the Supreme Court. Unlike the Executive Branch (the White House, the Cabinet, and constituent offices and departments), the Supreme Court does not actually administer or govern the affairs of state. Unlike the Legislative Branch (Congress), the Supreme Court does not legislate, that is, make laws.
It is to the Supreme Court that the U.S. Constitution entrusts the signal tasks of interpreting the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and reviewing the constitutionality of the actions of the Executive Branch and the laws passed by the Legislative Branch. That review is called “judicial review.”
The term “judicial activism” refers to when the Supreme Court oversteps the boundaries of “judicial review” and begins legislating — making laws.
On April 2, 2012, Barack Obama took the unprecedented step of preemptively commenting on the Supreme Court’s review of the constitutionality of his signature health care law — before the Court has even issued a ruling.
Obama said if “an unelected body,” the Court, were to overturn his Obamacare — a law that was passed by “a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress” — such a move is both “unprecedented” and an example of “judicial activism”.
The next day, a three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals told the Department of Justice (DOJ) it has until Thursday to clarify Obama’s comments, specifically to explain whether the Obama administration believes the courts have the right to strike down a federal law.
Here’s the full text of DOJ’s letter, written by Attorney General Eric Holder, provided online by Fox News’ Insider. To read Holder’s letter in PDF, click here.

Judge Jerry E. Smith
Judge Emilio M. Garza
Judge Leslie H. Southwick
c/o Mr. Lyle W. Cayce

April 5, 2012
Clerk, United States Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit
600 S. Maestri Place
ew Orleans, LA 70130
RE: Phvsician Hospitals o[America v. Sebelius. No. 11-40631

Dear Judge Smith, Judge Garza, and Judge Southwick:

This Court’s letter of April 3, 2012 requested a response to questions raised at oral argument in this case, Physician Hospitals of America v. Sebelius, No. 11-4063 1. From the electronic recording of the argument, I understand the Court to have requested the views of the Department of Justice regarding judicial review of the constitutionality of Acts of Congress. The Court indicated that its inquiry was prompted by recent statements of the President.

The longstanding, historical position of the United States regarding judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation has not changed and was accurately stated by counsel for the government at oral argument in this case a few days ago. The Department has not in this litigation, nor in any other litigation of which I am aware, ever asked this or any other Court to reconsider or limit long-established precedent concerning judicial review of the constitutionality of federal legislation.

The government’s brief cites jurisdictional bars to the instant suit and urges that plaintiffs’ constitutional claims are insubstantial. See Appellee Br. of the United States at 17-38. At no point has the government suggested that the Court would lack authority to review plaintiffs’ constitutional claims if the Court were to conclude that jurisdiction exists. The case has been fully briefed and argued, and it is ready for disposition. The question posed by the Court regarding judicial review does not concern any argument made in the government’s brief or at oral argument in this case, and this letter should not be regarded as a supplemental brief.

1. The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute. See generally, e.g. , Free Ente1prise Fund v. Public Co. Accounting Oversight Bd. , 130 S. Ct. 3138 (20 10); FCC v. Beach Communications, Inc., 508 U.S. 307 (1993). The Supreme Court resolved this question in Marbwy v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177-78 ( 1803). In that case, Case: 11-40631 Document: 00511812922 Page: 1 Date Filed: 04/05/2012 the Court held that ” [i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Marbury, 1 Cranch at 177.

The Supreme Court has further explained that this power may only be exercised in appropriate cases. “If a dispute is not a proper case or controversy, the courts have no business deciding it, or expounding the law in the course of doing so.” Daim/erChJys/er C01p. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 341 (2006); see, e.g., Weinberger v. Sa/fi, 422 U.S. 749, 763-766 (1975) (addressing a statutory bar to jurisdiction). In the case before this Court – Physician Hospitals of America v. Sebe/ius, o. 11-40631 -we have argued that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case. See Appellee Br. of the United States at 15-38.

Where a plaintiff properly invokes the jurisdiction of a court and presents a justifiable challenge, there is no dispute that courts properly review the constitutionality of Acts of Congress.

2. In considering such challenges, Acts of Congress are “presumptively constitutional,” Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 507 U.S. 1301, 1301 (1993), and the Supreme Court stressed that the presumption of constitutionality accorded to Acts of Congress is “strong.” United States v. Five Gambling Devices Labeled in Part .. Mills,and Bearing Serial Nos. 593-221,346 U.S. 441 , 449 (1953); see, e.g., Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, 28 (2005) (noting that the “congressional judgment” at issue was “entitled to a strong presumption of validity”). The Supreme Court has explained: “This is not a mere polite gesture. It is a deference due to deliberate judgment by constitutional majorities of the two Houses of Congress that an Act is within their delegated power or is necessary and proper to execution of that power.” Five Gambling Devices Labeled in Part .. Mills,” and Bearing Serial Nos. 593-221, 346 U.S. at 449. In light of the presumption of constitutionality, it falls to the party seeking to overturn a federal law to show that it is clearly unconstitutional. See, e.g., Salazar v. Buono, 130 S. Ct. 1803 , 1820 (20 1 0) (“Respect for a coordinate branch of Government forbids striking down an Act of Congress except upon a clear showing of unconstitutionality.”); Beach Communications, Inc. , 508 U.S. at314-15.

3. While duly recognizing the courts’ authority to engage in judicial review, the Executive Branch has often urged courts to respect the legislative judgments of Congress. See, e.g. , Nature ‘s Daily. v. Glickman, 1999 WL 158 1396, at *6; State University of New York v. Anderson, 1999 WL 680463, at *6; Rojas v. Fitch, 1998 WL 457203, at *7; United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 75i v. Brown Group, 1995 WL 938594, at *6. The Supreme Court has often acknowledged the appropriateness of reliance on the political branches’ policy choices and judgments. See, e.g., Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New Eng., 546 U.S. 320, 329 (2006) (explaining that, in granting relief, the courts ‘·try not to nullify more of a legislature’s work than is necessary” because they recognize that’” [a] ruling of unconstitutionality frustrates the intent of the elected representatives of the people’”(alteration in the original) (quoting Regan v. Time, inc. , 468 U.S. 641, 652 (1984) (plurality opinion))); Turner Broadcasting System, inc., 512 U.S. at 665-66. The “Court accords ‘ great The “Court accords ‘ great weight to the decisions of Congress”‘ in part because “[t]he Congress is a coequal branch of government whose Members take the same oath [judges] do to uphold the Constitution of the United States.” Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57,64 (1981) (quoting Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Democratic National Committee, 412 U.S. 94, 102 (1973)). These principles of deference are fully applicable when Congress legislates in the commercial sphere. The courts accord particular deference when evaluating the appropriateness of the means Congress has chosen to exercise its enumerated powers, including the Commerce Clause, to accomplish constitutional ends. See, e.g. , NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1, 32 (1937); McCulloch v. Matyland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316, 408 (1819). See also Thomas More Law Center v. Obama, 651 F.3d 529, 566 (6th Cir. 20 11) (Opinion of Sutton, J.); Seven Sky v. Holder, 661 F.3d 1, 18-19 (D.C. Cir. 201 1) (Opinion of Silberman, J.)

The President’s remarks were fully consistent with the principles described herein.
[Filed and served via ECF]

Sincerely,
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General

Case: 11-40631 Document: 00511812922 Page: 3 Date Filed: 04/05/2012

Translated into ordinary English, Holder’s letter confirms that:

  • Judicial review is the unique constitutional responsibility of the Supreme Court;
  • It is not “judicial activism” for the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of any act of Congress; and
  • Barack Obama’s accusation that the Supreme Court’s judicial review of Obamacare is improper and constitutes a case of “judicial activism” was out of line.

Translated into even more understandable English, what Holder is saying is “I know the bastard screwed up but you and I both know what the law is.”
His former law student is dismayed at Obama’s entirely improper use of the term “judicial activism”. Read his essay here.
~Eowyn

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Obama tells Congress he'll decide what's constitutional


Obama’s arrogance knows no limits.
Our Founding Fathers devised a system wherein governmental power is separated into three branches. The main purpose of the separation of powers is to have the three branches check and balance each other, so that the people’s liberties are safe-guarded by having government not be monolithic and thus, tyrannical.
Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government — the main law-making body. The executive branch — comprised of the presidency and bureaucracies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security — is tasked with administering and carrying out (execute) laws and policies. Congress can pass whatever laws it deems fit, but if the executive branch does not implement those laws, the latter effectively are moot.
And that’s exactly what the creature who’s variously called Barry Soetoro, Stephen Dunham, and Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., is doing.
Chris Cox, the Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, writes in The Daily Caller, Jan. 5, 2012:

“Just a few days before Christmas, Obama served notice to all Americans that he will continue to abuse executive privilege by seeking new ways to vilify gun owners and further his anti-gun agenda.

Congress placed a provision in the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill for 2012 designed to bar the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from using any of its $30.7 billion taxpayer funds to ‘advocate or promote gun control.’ However, upon signing the bill into law, President Obama issued a caveat of his own:

I have advised Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress’s consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient.

In other words: ‘Congress may pass laws, but I decide which of its laws are constitutional and which I can simply choose to ignore.’

Of course, the Constitution doesn’t actually give the president this power, but Obama won’t allow a little thing like the U.S. Constitution get in his way. And in the present case, Congress is right to try to prevent him from using a federal health agency, not to mention our tax dollars, as a weapon in his ongoing war against the Second Amendment. As The Washington Times reports, NIH has wasted over $5 million since 2002 producing deceptive studies aimed at furthering gun control — including one study that tried ‘to prove that a home without firearms was essential to a child’s safety and well-being.’

Even more importantly, Congress knows that there is no scheme too radical, or dangerous, for the Obama administration when it comes to using federal agencies to push its anti-gun agenda.

Last month, email exchanges surfaced between employees at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) that show the administration helped illegally transfer guns to violent Mexican drug cartels in order to manufacture a case for gun registration. Now gun dealers in four Southwest border states must abide by a new gun registration requirement, courtesy of BATFE, that forces them to register the sales of any law-abiding American who purchases more than one semi-automatic rifle within five business days.

Congress never passed any law like this. Rather, Obama’s BATFE orchestrated the deadly ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-walking scandal to give cause for its unconstitutional gun-control edict.”

The Left complained about the “Imperial Presidency” beginning in the Nixon administration and, most recently, about George W. Bush. Now that the president is a Democrat, we no longer hear about the Imperial Presidency. For them, political party and ideology trump the Constitution. That is otherwise called tribalism.
~Eowyn

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US Credit Downgrade is the Constitution's Fault!

That’s what longtime newswoman Cokie Roberts said, yesterday on ABC’s “This Week.”

photo from zimbio.com


Cokie Roberts was the co-anchor of the ABC News’ Sunday morning broadcast, This Week with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts from 1996 to 2002, while also serving as the chief congressional analyst for ABC News. She covered politics, Congress and public policy, reporting for World News Tonight and other ABC News broadcasts. Now in semi-retirement, Roberts is a senior news analyst for NPR and a political commentator for ABC News, serving as an on-air analyst for the network.
Yesterday, August 7, 2011, on ABC’s “This Week”, Roberts blamed the U.S. Constitution for S&P’s downgrading of the U.S. Treasury’s credit from AAA to AA+:

“[T]he problem that we have here is the Constitution of the United States of America which actually does require people to come together from different perspectives whether it’s divided government or not. We have divided branches of government under any circumstance.”

Hey, Cokie. What you call “divided branches of government” is the Separation of Powers, which precisely was the intention and design of the Founding Fathers for the new America, the purpose of which is to prevent government tyranny.
You think “divided branches of government” and the Constitution are the problem for America’s credit downgrading? You’re an economic and political idiot.
S&P’s downgrading is because of the federal government’s addiction to debt — a national debt that now equals 100% of U.S. gross national product, and a debt with which your grandchildren are saddled.
And if you think the Constitution is the problem, go to China or Vietnam or North Korea where the communist party monopolizes all three branches of government, and see how you like it there. Moron.
See the video of Roberts on NewsBusters.
H/t America Coast2Coast.
~Eowyn

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King Obama Grants Stealth Amnesty to Student Aliens

One of the ways the pro-illegal immigration faction seeks to advance their goal is the Dream Act.

The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) is a proposed piece of legislation that would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal and deportable alien students.

Estimates of the number of alien students who could benefit under the Act range from 7,000–13,000 to over 2 million.  Those numbers, however, are deceptive because once the illegal alien student gains U.S. citizenship, s/he can then apply for citizenship for his/her family.

The DREAM Act was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, and reintroduced on May 11, 2011. But the Obama administration isn’t waiting for Congress to act. Instead, Obama is (mis)using his executive powers to effectuate a de facto DREAM Act via an administrative rule — a memo by the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ICE agents to not deport illegal aliens who would qualify for amnesty under the DREAM Act.

Who needs three branches of government? What did those white fuddy-duddy Founding Fathers know? Ha!

All hail King Obama!

P.S. Even ICE agents think this is all wrong. Last year, ICE union officials issued a unanimous no confidence vote in ICE Director John Morton, citing gross mismanagement within the Agency as well as efforts within ICE to create backdoor amnesty through agency policy. Today, almost one year later, the law enforcement agents and their union haven’t changed their minds. 

H/t beloved fellow Tina.

~Eowyn

Obama Administration Bypasses Congress; Grants Amnesty to DREAM Act Students

Federation for American Immigration Reform, June 27, 2011

In a calculated move to bypass Congress, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton issued a memo on June 17th to all ICE Field Office Directors, Special Agents in Charge, and all Chief Counsel, authorizing them to decline to remove illegal aliens who meet the qualifications for amnesty under the DREAM Act. (Memo from John Morton to ICE personnel, June 17, 2011)

In the June 17th memo, Director Morton couches this administrative amnesty as merely providing “guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to ensure that the agency’s immigration enforcement resources are focused on the agency’s enforcement priorities.” (Id. at pg 2; see also Memo from John Morton, Mar. 2, 2011) “The agency,” Morton writes, “must regularly exercise ‘prosecutorial discretion’ if it is to prioritize its efforts.” It then provides an extensive, but non-exclusive, factors ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should consider when determining whether to pursue the removal of an illegal alien. (Memo from John Morton to ICE personnel, June 17, 2011) The factors falling under the purview of the DREAM Act include:

  • The circumstances of the person’s arrival in the U.S. and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the U.S. as a young child;
  • The alien’s pursuit of education in the U.S., with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the U.S.;
  • Whether the person has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat; and
  • The person’s age, with particular consideration given to minors.

(Id. at pg 4) The memo also lists individuals present in the U.S. since childhood, minors and elderly individuals, and veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces as “positive factors” prompting particular care and consideration. (Id. at pg 5)

ICE agents are already heeding the memo’s directives. Less than a week after Director Morton issued the memo, ICE agents released University of California-Davis student Mandeep Chahal and her mother, even after the Board of Immigration Appeals ordered them removed to India. (Contra Costa Times, June 22, 2011) The Chahals’ attorney, Kalpana Peddibhotla, cited the Morton memo as the reason for her clients’ reprieve. (Id.) “I am pretty certain if that hadn’t happened, they would be sitting on a plane tonight,” Peddibhotla said. (Id.)

Leaders of the National ICE Council, a union which represents roughly 7,000 ICE agents, officers, and employees, were outraged by the memo and its implications. “Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what’s coming,” announced Council President Chris Crane in a press release. (National ICE Council Press Release, June 23, 2011) “Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the [Obama] Administration is now implementing it through agency policy.” (Id.) The Council also charges that ICE officials worked “hand-in-hand” with the open-borders lobby, but excluded its own officers from the process of developing policies. (Id.)

Members of Congress are also alarmed by the Obama Administration’s attempt to circumvent the law. Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) to the Homeland Security (DHS) fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill (H.R. 2017), which, if passed by the Senate, would in part override the Morton memo by barring DHS funds from being used to grant parole or deferred action (both forms of prosecutorial discretion) to most aliens subject to final orders of removal. The DHS bill is currently awaiting action by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is also expected to introduce legislation that would place more sweeping restrictions the Administration’s ability to grant parole, deferred action, or temporary protected status.

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Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

Two days ago, Federal Judge Roger Vinson did just that when he ruled that Obamacare’s requirement that every American must purchase medical insurance violates the Constitution. Already, Judge Vinson’s ruling is having an impact as news comes today that Wisconsin’s attorney general, J. B. Van Hollen, has declared his state to be free of any obligations imposed by Obamacare.

Vinson, a lover and grower of the camellia flower, was an aviator in the U.S. Navy. Here is Judge Vinson’s legal reasoning, which is lodged firmly in the U.S. Constitution and the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. It’s well worth your read!
Read the full text of Vinson’s ruling HERE.
H/t beloved fellows Tina & May.
~Eowyn 

 
 

The Constitutional Moment

U.S. Federal Judge Roger Vinson


 
Judge Vinson introduces ObamaCare to Madison and Marshall.
Wall St. Journal – Feb 1, 2011
‘If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
Federal Judge Roger Vinson opens his decision declaring ObamaCare unconstitutional with that citation from Federalist No. 51, written by James Madison in 1788. His exhaustive and erudite opinion is an important moment for American liberty, and yesterday may well stand as the moment the political branches were obliged to return to the government of limited and enumerated powers that the framers envisioned.
As Judge Vinson took pains to emphasize, the case is not really about health care at all, or the wisdom—we would argue the destructiveness—of the newest entitlement. Rather, the Florida case goes to the core of the architecture of the American system, and whether there are any remaining limits on federal control. Judge Vinson’s 78-page ruling in favor of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, among others, is by far the best legal vindication to date of Constitutional principles that form the outer boundaries of federal power.
At the heart of the states’ lawsuit is the individual mandate, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance or be penalized for not doing so. “Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States,” Judge Vinson writes.
Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration justified this coercion under the Commerce Clause, so it is fitting that Judge Vinson conducts a deep investigation into its history and intent, including Madison’s notes at the Constitutional Convention and the jurisprudence of the fourth Chief Justice, John Marshall. The original purpose of the Commerce Clause was to eliminate the interstate trade barriers that prevailed under the Articles of Confederation—among the major national problems that gave rise to the Constitution.
The courts affirmed this limited and narrow understanding until the New Deal, when Congress began to regulate harum-scarum and the Supreme Court inflated the clause into a general license for anything a majority happened to favor.
In a major 1942 case, Wickard v. Filburn, the Court held that even growing wheat for personal use was an activity with a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, thus justifying federal restrictions on the use of agricultural land meant to prop up commodity prices. It wasn’t until the William Rehnquist Court, a half-century later, that the Justices began to recover some of the original limits, notably in the Lopez (1995) and Morrison (2000) cases.
Yet even in its most elastic interpretations, the Commerce Clause applied only to “clear and inarguable activity,” Judge Vinson writes, the emphasis his. It never applied to inactivity like not buying health insurance, which has “no impact whatsoever” on interstate commerce. He argues that breaching this frontier converts the clause into a general police power of the kind that the Constitution reserves to the states. As the High Court put it in Lopez, obliterating this distinction would “create a completely centralized government.”

The Administration contends that not purchasing insurance—inactivity—is really activity, because everyone will eventually need medical care and their costs will be transferred to the insured. But Judge Vinson dissects that as a “radical departure” from the Constitution and U.S. case law. It is “not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted,” he writes. “Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.”
He notes that no one can opt out of eating any more than they can from the medical system, so return to the Wickard example of wheat: “Congress could more directly raise too-low wheat prices merely by increasing demand through mandating that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily, rationalized on the grounds that because everyone must participate in the market for food, non-consumers of wheat bread adversely affect prices in the wheat market.”

Unlike Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, who also found ObamaCare to be unconstitutional, Judge Vinson addresses the Administration’s fallback argument that the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause justifies the law even if the Commerce Clause doesn’t. He writes that this clause “is not an independent source of federal power” and “would vitiate the enumerated powers principle.” In other words, the clause can’t justify inherently unconstitutional actions.
Judge Vinson also went beyond the Virginia case in striking down the entire ObamaCare statute—paradoxically, an act of judicial modesty. Democrats intentionally left out a “severability” clause if one part of the bill was struck down, and the Administration repeatedly argued that the individual mandate was “essential” to the bill’s goals and mechanisms and compared it to “a finely crafted watch.” Judge Vinson writes that picking and choosing among thousands of sections would be “tantamount to rewriting a statute in an attempt to salvage it.”

***

We take a measure of vindication in the decision—David Rivkin and Lee Casey, the lawyers who argued the Florida case, first suggested in these pages that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. Judge Vinson’s learned opinion has put down a Constitutional argument that will reverberate all the way to the Supreme Court.

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