Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category

Donald Trump’s love of eminent domain abuse isn’t sitting well with constitutional conservatives. Recently, Carly Fiorina explained why Mr. Trump’s love of eminent domain abuse runs contrary to limited government conservatism when she said “I think Donald Trump, among others, has engaged in crony capitalism in its most raw and abusive form. When commercial interests get together with government to take away private property for their own commercial interests, that’s a big problem. And I think I join so many conservatives in saying that eminent domain has been abused. And it has been abused by the collusion between governments eager for revenue and businesses eager for competitive advantage. So I find the Kelo case—if ever there was a case for judicial engagement instead of judicial restraint, it’s this set of issues.”

There’s nothing pro-limited government about developers who don’t respect private property rights buying off city officials in their effort to steal land from a private property owner. That’s the definition of crony capitalism:

Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.[1][2] Crony capitalism is believed to arise when business cronyism and related self-serving behavior by businesses or businesspeople spills over into politics and government,[3] or when self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.

Donald Trump isn’t a constitutionalist. He definitely isn’t a limited government conservative. Finally, it’s apparent that he thinks that he should get anything he wants even if that something is owned by someone else.

That’s the definition of evil. If we want an evil president, we can just keep the corrupt SOB that’s currently in the White House or elect a corrupt career politician that’s running as a Democrat. The day that the Republicans nominate another corrupt politician is the day I leave the GOP.

When Bret Baier asked Donald Trump about his opinion of eminent domain, Mr. Trump said that “eminent domain is a wonderful thing” before saying that eminent domain should be used to get “holdouts” to sell their property.

Now Mr. Trump is dramatically changing his answer to sound less like a big government liberal.

During his interview with Bret Baier, Mr. Trump described a situation where the developer had purchased “11 or 12 parcels” but one “holdout” wouldn’t sell. Mr. Trump argued that the developer, who wants to create a big factory employing thousands of people, should be able to use eminent domain to boot the private property owner out of their home. Now that he’s at the center of a conservative firestorm, Trump’s retreating, saying that “You can’t build a road without eminent domain. In order to survive as a country, how you can not have roads?”

That’s classic liberal backtracking. It’s no different than Hillary Clinton saying that she doesn’t support the TPP that she negotiated. Mr. Trump knows that nobody in the conservative movement objects to the use of eminent domain to build roads or other pieces of infrastructure. That isn’t controversial.

The right to be secure in your property is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution. It’s the foundation of our capitalist system. Mr. Trump thinks that taking a person’s property isn’t a big deal if it’s for the greater good, as long as he’s the determiner of what the greater good is.

That’s just a different way of saying that the ends justify the means. Either way, this proves that Trump isn’t the man (or woman) of integrity we need in the White House. Having a president who would appoint justices that reinforce Kelo v. New London ruling

It’s a good thing for President Obama that Charles C.W. Cooke doesn’t have a megaphone as big as the president’s. If he did, Mr. Cooke would’ve already have given the constitutional law professor the beating in mock court that he deserves. This post totally obliterates President Obama’s gun control arguments.

Cooke quotes President Obama from the president’s press conference as saying “We know other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.” Shortly thereafter, Cooke demolishes that statement, saying that “Contrary to the president’s implications, Britain and Australia are not “countries like ours” when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms; they are completely, utterly, extraordinarily different. When the British government banned handguns in 1997, there were fewer than half a million in circulation.”

The question President Obama doesn’t want to get confronted with is how he figures nations that confiscate guns are like ours. The good news for President Obama is that the Praetorian Guard media will do its utmost to protect him from pesky questions like that. The bad news is that people in the heartland know the difference between nations that outright confiscate guns and the United States. That’s because the difference is quite dramatic.

This exchange is dramatic:

Frankly, Mr. Cooke let Mark Halperin paint himself into a corner. Once that’d happened, the debate was over.

Saying that Donald Trump isn’t a constitutional conservative is understatement. Calling Trump a despicable man who’s only interested in himself is totally justifiable, especially in light of this video:

DONALD TRUMP: In life, you have a thing called condemnation and cities have a right to condemn for the good of the city, whether it’s New York, whether it’s Los Angeles, whether it’s any other place. Atlantic City is one of those places and it’s got the right to condemn.
DANA BERLINER: In the 1990s, Donald Trump was behind an outrageous case of eminent domain abuse. Vera Coking was an elderly widow who lived in her home alongside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk. She bought that home and Donald Trump wanted Vera’s home so he could build parking for his casino across the street.
TRUMP: Everyone coming into Atlantic City sees that property and it’s not fair to Atlantic City and the people. They’re staring at this terrible house instead of staring at beautiful fountains and beautiful other things that would be good.
JOHN STOSSEL: You’re bullying these people out…
TRUMP: Excuse me. That’s wrong. For you to use the word bully is very unfair. This is a government case. This is not a Donald Trump…
STOSSEL: Yes, it’s Donald Trump. It’s you and your cronies in government working together.
TRUMP: For you to call these people cronies is very unfair. You’re calling good public servants cronies.
BERLINER: An unaccountable state agency tried to condemn Vera Coking’s property and transfer it to Donald Trump. He convinced the government officials to use their eminent domain power to take Vera’s home. This was public power but it was used for private gain.

Eventually, a case like this made its way to the Supreme Court. We know it as Kelo v. New London. The Rehnquist Court sided with the developers. An entire neighborhood was demolished, supposedly to build a shopping mall. After the ruling, though, the development never happened. An entire neighborhood was destroyed for nothing. Here’s more to the Trump-Stossel fight:

STOSSEL: Basic to freedom is that if you own something, it’s yours. The government doesn’t just come and take it away…
TRUMP: Do you want to live in a city where you can’t build schools? Do you want to live in a city where you can’t build roads or highways or have access to hospitals? Condemnation is a necessary evil.
STOSSEL: But you’re not talking about a hospital. You’re talking about a building that a rich guy finds ugly.

This is proof that Trump is no more a constitutional conservative than Hillary Clinton.

What’s disgusting is the fact that otherwise level-headed Republicans are actually buying Trump’s schtick. They’re saying that he’s a fighter. They’re partially right. Trump can always be counted on to fight for the things that interest Trump. Trump’s hardline statements against illegal immigration are part of a charade that’s soon to be exposed. Trump is, putting it charitably, a temporary border hawk. That’ll become apparent when the opposition research on Trump shows how his properties were built with illegal immigrants.

Donald Trump is no more a conservative than Hillary is. In fact, Trump has contributed to her campaigns in the past. He’s also contributed to the Clinton Foundation.

Laurence Tribe’s op-ed about the King v. Burwell ruling is typical progressivism. It’s all about rationalizing a terrible, wrong-headed decision. Tribe made some statements that deserve rebutting. This is one of those statements:

The Supreme Court correctly applied standard interpretive methods in holding that, despite the apparent clarity of those four words, the law makes subsidies available on all exchanges, state and federal. Looking to the overall purpose, structure, and context of the Act, the court asked with incredulity why Congress would risk total implosion of the ACA just to encourage states to create their own exchanges especially when Congress itself provided the federal backstop.

When the words are clear, which they are, the test that Tribe mentioned isn’t applied. Typically, that test is only applied if the words are ambiguous. Chief Justice Roberts said that the 4 words were “inartful drafting.” Justice Scalia’s response was that it wasn’t likely that that inartful drafting would appear in the ACA’s language 7 different times.

As for whether Congress “would risk total implosion of the ACA just to encourage states to create their own exchanges”, the answer is yes. That’s why the federal government didn’t start building their website right away. Their plan — their concerted plan — was to pressure states into creating their own exchanges. Further, the IRS didn’t write its rule extending subsidies to people who bought their insurance through until it was clear that a substantial number of states weren’t going to create state-run exchanges.

Isn’t it curious that that clarification wasn’t the first thing mentioned in the rules? The instructions to the IRS weren’t written until late in the process. Why wasn’t it the first rule written? If the ACA’s success hinged on the subsidies, shouldn’t that have been the first rule written?

The people also won because the Roberts Court has given them a solid basis for trusting that hard-won victories in Congress will remain intact when challenged in the court. When it decides constitutional cases, like the much-anticipated same-sex marriage cases, the court’s role is to serve as a check on the people, ensuring that legislative or popular majorities don’t act in violation of the Constitution. This is the sense in which the court has famously been described as “counter-majoritarian.”

The Constitution was built to restrict what government isn’t authorized to do. That’s insanity. The Fourth Amendment wasn’t written to tell people what they couldn’t do. It was written to tell government what it can’t do. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from conducting unreasonable searches against private citizens and publicly-traded companies.

The First Amendment prohibits Congress from writing laws that restrict people’s ability to speak out against politicians and government. It isn’t a check on people. It’s another check on government.

If Prof. Tribe can’t understand the most basic principles underpinning the Constitution, then his opinions on Supreme Court rulings is questionable.

The last 2 nights, Megyn Kelly has featured Amherst University’s decision to expel a student after a woman accused him of rape. Here’s the video of Monday night’s segment:

There’s no excuse for what Amherst University did. First, the fact that a woman waited 2 years before ‘reporting’ a rape should’ve been a hint to Amherst that this case should be viewed with a healthy bit of skepticism. Second, after the alleged rape was reported, the female student’s texts were recovered from a third party. They showed that the female student did more than consent to having sex. The texts showed she initiated sexual contact. In fact, it went further than that. After having sex with the man she accused of raping her, she texted another male student and asked him to “entertain” her.

It’s disturbing is that Amherst didn’t reverse the male student’s ejection from Amherst after the texts were discovered. What’s more disturbing is that the accused student wasn’t allowed representation. Further, it was against US Department of Education rules to let that female student to be cross-examined by the male student’s attorney because it might be a traumatic experience for the accuser.

This unnamed male student has hired legal counsel. They’re likely to file a lawsuit against Amherst and the Department of Education for violating the student’s due process rights. If ever there was a slam dunk case, this is it. Amherst didn’t show any interest in the accused student’s constitutional rights. The accused student was stripped of his ability to defend himself. When exculpatory evidence was discovered and presented to Amherst, it was treated as if it didn’t exist.

This is the video of last night’s segment on the Amherst story:

That the US Department of Education put together these guidelines that leave students essentially defenseless against accusers is disgusting. Brit Hume is right. It’s an article of faith that there’s a culture of rape on college campuses. The studies that purport to show this epidemic have been thoroughly discredited. Another thing that’s disgusting is that the US Department of Education would implement a plan that ignores students’ constitutional rights. The DOE didn’t water down the accused students’ constitutional rights. The US DOE just threw these students’ constitutional rights out entirely.

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It’s looking like Rebecca Otto will file a lawsuit to prevent private auditors from conducting audits:

State Auditor Rebecca Otto Wednesday reiterated her determination to take a recent change to her office’s responsibilities to court unless legislators repeal the new rules in a special session. “They’re going to have a special session and they can deal with this then,” Otto told MPR News host Tom Weber. “If they choose not to, they’ve made a choice. If they don’t want to [spend money on a lawsuit], they should take care of it in a special session.”

Gov. Dayton and Ms. Otto have gotten uppity about this. David Schultz has chimed in, too. Here’s my question to that trio: Where in Minnesota’s Constitution does it outline the State Auditor’s responsibilities?

I’ve read Article V. That’s where the Constitution establishes the office of State Auditor. Nowhere in Article V does it list the auditor’s responsibilities. Article V, Sect. 3 outlines the governor’s responsibilities. That’s the only constitutional officer whose responsibilities are defined in Minnesota’s Constitution.

Since the legislation passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Dayton doesn’t attempt to abolish the State Auditor’s office, there isn’t a constitutional issue. The office is still intact. It’s just that the auditor’s responsibilities have changed. Here’s where things get tricky for the DFL.

Twenty-eight counties currently have the right to hire private auditors. That carve-out isn’t in the Constitution, meaning that changed through the passage of a state statute. If that change can happen through passing a state statute, why can’t other changes happen via state statute?

Otto argues the move is unconstitutional, and that it stands to gut her office.

Ms. Otto will lose that fight. Here’s why:

Anderson’s plan extends that option to all Minnesota counties, though it preserves Otto’s authority to double check private audits.

Sarah Anderson’s plan changes Ms. Otto’s responsibilities. It doesn’t eliminate Ms. Otto’s responsibilities, which is the linchpin constitutional argument.

If Rep. Anderson’s legislation sought to eliminate the State Auditor’s constitutional office, that legislation would be DOA. When the Treasurer’s office was eliminated in 1998, it was done with a constitutional amendment.

That doesn’t guarantee that the courts will do the right thing. Unfortunately, there are too many liberal jurists who either don’t understand the Constitution or they implement their policy preferences. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in this instance. If it does, however, then it’s time for voters to vote out the justices that don’t follow the clear language of the Constitution.

Not even justices are above the law.

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It’s amazing that the DFL is working itself into a tizzy over the changes to the State Auditor. It’s even triggered a fight within the DFL over whether to dump Sen. Bakk as the Senate Majority Leader. It’s now accelerated to the point that a bunch of the DFL’s most loyal special interest allies are weighing into the fight. Check out the list of DFL special interest allies that’ve signed onto the letter:

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Sierra Club – North Star Chapter
Center for Biological Diversity
Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest
Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Save Lake Superior Association
League of Women Voters – Minnesota
Izaak Walton League of America – Minnesota Division
Protect our Manoomin Water Legacy
Save Our Sky Blue Waters
Wilderness Watch
Land Stewardship Project
Clean Water Action
Alliance for Sustainability
Climate Generation

The letter was signed by Jeremy Schroeder, the executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. Check out this paragraph:

Preserving the State Auditor’s audit authority protects taxpayers and is critical for accountability and transparency. Concerns about the effects of allowing local units of government in Minnesota to select their own auditor are bipartisan and significant. State Auditor Rebecca Otto has made a compelling case for the value to taxpayers of maintaining transparent and open audits of local government units in Minnesota. Allowing local units of government to shop for their own auditors opens the door to potential abuse and corruption. Our organizations believe in good governance, and this change decreases transparency and accountability.

That’s a flimsy argument. There’s nothing standing in the legislature’s way of passing a law that establishes criteria that the private auditors would have to meet. That would eliminate any “potential abuse and corruption.”

Preserving the State Auditor’s audit authority protects the Minnesota Constitution and upholds basic standards for transparent lawmaking. The attempt by the Minnesota Legislature to privatize one of the primary functions of a Minnesota constitutional officer raises significant legal as well as policy questions.

Actually, there aren’t any constitutional questions. Minnesota’s Constitution establishes the office of State Auditor. It doesn’t establish what the State Auditor’s responsibilities are. They’re established through the legislative process.

Finally, it’s interesting that these organizations give a rip about the issue.

Much ink has been spilled on what the state auditor’s responsibilities are. Prof. David Schultz wrote this on the issue:

The governor should have never signed a bill that allowed for this. Nothing against private auditors, but this is the constitutional duty for the Auditor. The privatization will cost tax payers more in the long run–as is typically the case with many privatizations. But in many ways, it probably does not matter whether the governor wins to get this privatization overturned–the provision is probably unconstitutional, conflicting both with Article V, section 1, of the Constitution creating the office of the Auditor, and Article III, section 1, the separation of powers clause of the Constitution.

I read what the Minnesota Constitution says about the State Auditor. Here’s what Article III says:



Section 1. Division of powers. The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive and judicial. No person or persons belonging to or constituting one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others except in the instances expressly provided in this constitution.

Here’s what Article V says:



Section 1. Executive officers. The executive department consists of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, and attorney general, who shall be chosen by the electors of the state. The governor and lieutenant governor shall be chosen jointly by a single vote applying to both offices in a manner prescribed by law.

[Amended, November 3, 1998]

Sec. 2. Term of governor and lieutenant governor; qualifications. The term of office for the governor and lieutenant governor is four years and until a successor is chosen and qualified. Each shall have attained the age of 25 years and, shall have been a bona fide resident of the state for one year next preceding his election, and shall be a citizen of the United States.

Sec. 3. Powers and duties of governor. The governor shall communicate by message to each session of the legislature information touching the state and country. He is commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces and may call them out to execute the laws, suppress insurrection and repel invasion. He may require the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to his duties. With the advice and consent of the senate he may appoint notaries public and other officers provided by law. He may appoint commissioners to take the acknowledgment of deeds or other instruments in writing to be used in the state. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. He shall fill any vacancy that may occur in the offices of secretary of state, auditor, attorney general and the other state and district offices hereafter created by law until the end of the term for which the person who had vacated the office was elected or the first Monday in January following the next general election, whichever is sooner, and until a successor is chosen and qualified.

[Amended, November 3, 1998]

Sec. 4. Terms and salaries of executive officers. The term of office of the secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor is four years and until a successor is chosen and qualified. The duties and salaries of the executive officers shall be prescribed by law.

[Amended, November 3, 1998]

Sec. 5. Succession to offices of governor and lieutenant governor. In case a vacancy occurs from any cause whatever in the office of governor, the lieutenant governor shall be governor during such vacancy. The compensation of the lieutenant governor shall be prescribed by law. The last elected presiding officer of the senate shall become lieutenant governor in case a vacancy occurs in that office. In case the governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the same devolves on the lieutenant governor. The legislature may provide by law for the case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability both of the governor and lieutenant governor to discharge the duties of governor and may provide by law for continuity of government in periods of emergency resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack in this state, including but not limited to, succession to the powers and duties of public office and change of the seat of government.

Sec. 6. Oath of office of state officers. Each officer created by this article before entering upon his duties shall take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and of this state and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office to the best of his judgment and ability.

Sec. 7. Board of pardons. The governor, the attorney general and the chief justice of the supreme court constitute a board of pardons. Its powers and duties shall be defined and regulated by law. The governor in conjunction with the board of pardons has power to grant reprieves and pardons after conviction for an offense against the state except in cases of impeachment.

Notice what isn’t in Article V of the Constitution. It doesn’t list the State Auditor’s responsibilities. I highlighted Sec. 3 because that’s about the “powers and duties of governor.”

That means that a) the Constitution only created the office of State Auditor. It didn’t define the State Auditor’s responsibilities. That means that the Auditor’s responsibilities are established by Minnesota state statutes. That means that there’s nothing constitutionally improper concerning the bill Gov. Dayton just signed. Gov. Dayton can express his displeasure with the just-signed provision.

Rebecca Otto has been complaining non-stop about the bill but she had multiple opportunities to testify against the bill early in the session. She chose not to, which is her option. Her complaints sound more like whining than constructive criticism.

If Gov. Dayton insists that this be repealed, then it’s him who will cause a government shutdown. Let Gov. Dayton and Ms. Otto explain why 28 counties have the option of hiring a private auditor but that 59 counties didn’t have that option.

This morning’s reading has included the latest information on how the Clintons used Hillary’s official position as head of the State Department to enrich the Clinton Foundation. After that, I read more about Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm’s fishing expedition into conservatives’ political activities. After I finished with that, I read this article about the federal government’s confiscation of Marvin Horne’s agricultural crop.

After reading these articles, it’s clear that progressive policies are ruining the United States. It’s equally clear that we won’t recognize the United States if these policies continue. The nation that our Founding Fathers will have been confiscated by progressive thugs who hate the Founding Fathers’ United States.

Let’s start by talking about the constitutional protections progressives threw into a trash can during Chisholm’s fishing expedition. The thugs (I won’t call them law enforcement officers) that raided Cindy Archer’s home told her she couldn’t talk about the raid to anyone and that she couldn’t get a lawyer to represent herself. Then they repeated these actions in 9 more homes. The thugs had search warrants but it’s questionable how valid they are. According to the Constitution, you need to tell the judge what evidence you have to get a warrant. Telling the judge ‘We think Ms. Archer has information that will help our investigation’ won’t cut it.

What’s worse is Ms. Archer being told that she couldn’t get an attorney. Here’s the text of the Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Having thugs in uniforms tell Ms. Archer that she couldn’t talk with a lawyer is un-American and fascism.

KEY QUESTION: Do we want to live in a nation where the government is used as a weapon against citizens exercising their right to participate in the political process?

Next, let’s talk about the Clintons using Hillary’s position at the State Department for personal gain:

Was there a quid pro quo? Based on the Times reporting, there was certainly a lot of quid (millions in donations that made it to a Clinton charity; a half-million-dollar speaker’s fee) and multiple quos (American diplomatic intervention with the Russians; approvals when the Russian firm offered a very “generous” price for Uranium One). The Clinton perspective is that, although the approvals were delivered by the State Department when Clinton led it, there is no evidence that she personally delivered them, or of the “pro” in the equation.

The Clintons’ defense didn’t include an outright denial of wrongdoing. What’s telling about the Clintons’ denial is that it stopped short of denying that they were involved in influence peddling.

KEY QUESTION: Do we want to live in a nation where the well-connected get rich without contributing anything of value to the economy?

Finally, let’s look at how weaponized government confiscated agricultural products without compensating farmers for the products they produced. The Horne family raised lots of raisins on their farm. The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) ordered them to limit their production of raisins. When the Horne family refused to accept the government’s demands, the USDA fined them $700,000 for not obeying the government.

Farmers should have the right to grow however many crops as they want. The government shouldn’t be able to limit the quantity of products they produce. It’s the farmers’ property. It’s their right to do whatever they want to do with their property as long as they aren’t physically harming others.

KEY QUESTION: Did the Founding Fathers intend for the government to limit the size of an individual’s crops? Or did the Founding Fathers write the Constitution in such a way that limited the federal government’s authority in telling individuals what they could do?

When government can tell people that they don’t have the right to counsel, that government has confirmed that they’re a lawless regime. When government dictates to farmers what crops they can grow and how much of that crop they can grow, then that government has become the people’s dictator, not its servant. When individuals use their official government responsibilities to enrich themselves, then we’ve reached a point where those individuals have stopped being public servants.

It’s at that point when weaponized government must be defanged and the individuals involved in these activities must be stripped of their ability to enrich themselves. It’s imperative that citizens of good faith halt the Democrats’ culture of corruption.