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With tomorrow being Independence Day, it’s worthwhile to see which people care about our founding documents. The comments in this editorial indicate that the DFL either don’t understand the Constitution or they’re dismissive of it.

About 2 weeks ago, a district court ruled that the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA, violated the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Despite the unanimous ruling, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is appealing the ruling. In his statement, Gov. Dayton said “I will continue to do everything in my power to defend the State of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe.”

The thing is that telling other states what they can’t do is something that’s beyond Gov. Dayton’s authority. That principle escaped one commenter who said “Of course, these same people oppose any clean energy preferring the spewing of pollution into our environment…even to the point of ignoring how some of our waters are polluted. I don’t want lead in my water. I don’t want my health endangered by pollution.”

First, the statement is BS. Conservatives love nuclear power, which is exceptionally clean:

The low-carbon electricity produced by such reactors provides 20 percent of the nation’s power and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and other air pollution like coal-fired power plants do and thus have saved some 1.8 million lives.

And that’s why Hansen, among others, such as former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, thinks that nuclear power is a key energy technology to fend off catastrophic climate change. “We can’t burn all these fossil fuels,” Hansen told a group of reporters on December 3, noting that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy source they will continue to be burned. “Coal is almost half the [global] emissions. If you replace these power plants with modern, safe nuclear reactors you could do a lot of [pollution reduction] quickly.”

Indeed, he has evidence: the speediest drop in greenhouse gas pollution on record occurred in France in the 1970s and ‘80s, when that country transitioned from burning fossil fuels to nuclear fission for electricity, lowering its greenhouse emissions by roughly 2 percent per year.

Another commenter who is an attorney said “Congress has no authority to determine whether any state attorney general abused their discretion.” In most cases, that’s true. When a state AG is dealing with an issue of state law that affects only their state, the federal government should keep its nose out of that state’s business. The minute that AG’s decision affects multiple states or the AG potentially violates part of the US Constitution, Congress certainly has oversight authority.

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The Democratic Party has waged a war against straightforward speech for decades. They aren’t pro-abortion. They’re pro-choice. They aren’t anti-gun. They’re for gun control. They aren’t pro-terrorist. They’re just opposed to racial and religious profiling. They aren’t big spenders. They’re pro-government ‘investment’. They aren’t the party of tax increases. They’re the party that favors the one-percent paying their fair share. They aren’t anti-fossil fuel. They’re pro-green energy. They aren’t pro-oppressive regulation. They’re for ‘common-sense regulations’.

Pardon my French but that’s BS. Democrats are pro-euphemism because that’s the only way their ideas sound palatable. If they didn’t spin what they’re for, they’d never win another election throughout eternity. At minimum, they’d get their butts kicked each year if they couldn’t hide their real identity.

The truth is that today’s Democratic Party is a collection of lunatics that don’t care about national security or our Constitution. The proof of that is the legislation that they pushed and the faux sit-in they staged. I wrote this article to highlight Hawaii’s disgust with the Constitution. Their governor just signed a bill that requires Hawaiians who buy a gun in Hawaii to register that gun, which then requires law enforcement to put all gun owners on the FBI’s criminal watch list. The bill blatantly thumbs its nose at the constitutional principles of due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The Democrats’ fundraising rally on the House floor shows that Democrats aren’t serious about protecting our nation from terrorists. Democrats put a higher priority on playing word games to achieve their goal of controlling people.

The Democratic Party of Hubert Humphrey, Pat Moynihan and JFK had a healthy libertarian streak to it. The Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is defined by its fascist and authoritarian tendencies.

Today’s Democratic Party isn’t anything like the Democratic Party of 25 years ago, much less like the Democratic Party of JFK. It’s a shame. We could use that party again.

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Comments sections of newspapers frequently look like a bad stretch of Twitter. Still, they’re often instructive of what people think on issues. In some instances, they’re proof that people don’t think. The comment section of this thoughtful LTE is quite instructive.

One commenter said “If a gun is just a tool, why do some people insist on having one on them 24/7? What sort of work requires a civilian to have that kind of a tool? Surely you don’t need a tool that is as efficient at killing and wounding as the one the Orlando shooter used.”

First, this commenter wasn’t alone in thinking that. Next, the obvious answer is that it’s important to have a gun with you 24/7 because terrorists and violent criminals don’t make appointments with their victims. Third, why shouldn’t civilians be prepared to protect themselves and their families 24/7? It isn’t like there’s an acceptable time to let your family get attacked.

Another commenter said “In one of his calls to action for Congress after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to pass legislation preventing suspected terrorists on the no-fly list from buying guns.” Let’s amend that statement so that it’s accurate. If we made that correction, here’s what it would say:

In one of his calls to action for Congress after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to pass legislation preventing suspected terrorists and innocent civilians who’ve done nothing wrong on the no-fly list from buying guns.

The thing Democrats reflexively leave out of their propaganda is the fact that famous people who haven’t committed a crime are on that federal no-fly list. Should people have their constitutional rights trampled based on speculation?

I just wrote this article to highlight a bill that Hawaii’s governor just signed into law. Here’s what you need to know about the bill:

Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to place firearm owners on the FBI’s Rap Back, which until now was used to monitor criminal activities by individuals under investigation or people in positions of trust such as school teachers and daycare workers.

Let’s be clear about this. Everyone who buys a gun in Hawaii will be put on the FBI’s criminal watch list. Obviously, they haven’t committed a crime. If they had, they’d be denied the ability to purchase a gun in the first place.

Further, anyone bringing a gun to Hawaii from the mainland will be required to register their gun. When they leave, they are given the right to petition the FBI to be taken off the FBI’s criminal watch list.

Let’s be truthful. The goal of these laws isn’t to protect people. The goal of this type of legislation is to give government the ability to harass law-abiding citizens 24/7 for wanting to protect themselves and their families and for exercising their constitutional rights.

Let’s remember that the Constitution was written to essentially tell the government what it wasn’t allowed to do. This picture should tell us why we should reject the Democrats’ gun grab attempts:

Personally, I’ll pick free and safe over endangered and not free every time.

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In a PR stunt, Gov. Dayton announced that he’s appealing the ruling shooting down the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. It’s a PR stunt because Gov. Dayton said “it’s a matter of protecting air quality.” The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals disagrees, saying that “Minnesota would need Congressional approval to enforce that section of the 2007 law.”

Gov. Dayton is standing on shaky constitutional ground. He’s argued that the NGEA “doesn’t illegally restrict new coal-powered plants but merely requires that they be offset by reductions at existing plants.” That’s irrelevant. The Interstate Commerce Clause, found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the US Constitution states “The Congress shall have Power To … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Think of the insanity if this wasn’t the case. If the ICC didn’t exist, North Dakota could pass a law that requires all electricity sold into North Dakota had to be from nuclear power plants. Without the ICC, Minnesota would face a choice of not selling electricity into North Dakota or to generate that electricity at nuclear power plants.

Such laws would demolish state sovereignty. That’s intolerable.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision last week that barred Minnesota from enforcing key sections of the Next Generation Energy Act. The court sided with North Dakota utilities and other interests that argued [the NGEA] illegally regulates out-of-state utilities.

As usual, Rep. Pat Garofalo nails it with this statement:

This is an election year stunt aimed at improving turnout with environmental activists. It’s Gov. Dayton’s signal that he’s with them. Sadly, Gov. Dayton didn’t swear an oath to be with them. The oath he took said that he’d uphold the Minnesota Constitution and the US Constitution. As usual, he’s got his priorities all mixed up.

It gives me great joy to write this post to tell loyal readers of LFR that a 3-judge panel has ruled that Minnesota overstepped its authority when it passed the Next Generation Energy Act, aka NGEA.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the Next Generation Energy Act violates the U.S. Constitution’s provision allowing only Congress to regulate commerce among states.” According to the article, the three-judge panel “unanimously decided Minnesota does not have the authority to order North Dakota plants to make changes,” saying “a statute that has the practical effect of exerting extraterritorial control over ‘commerce that takes place wholly outside of the state’s borders’ is likely to be invalid.”

Put in simpler terms, this ruling isn’t likely to be overturned. If it were, it would, hypothetically speaking, give North Dakota the authority to pass a law that required that all electricity generated in Minnesota and sold to the regional power grid to be nuclear power. Still, Gov. Dayton isn’t backing down:

“I will continue to defend the state of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe,” Dayton said. “The state statute does not prevent anyone from building and operating a new power-generating facility, whose emissions will affect Minnesota’s air quality. It only requires that those new emissions must be offset by the same or greater reduction in emissions from other plants. In other words, Minnesota’s law encourages the replacement of older, more-polluting power plants with more efficient, cleaner facilities.”

Those are brave-sounding words but they aren’t rooted in intelligence. They’re rooted in the left’s ideology. No state has the right to order another state what it must do on anything. That ‘right’ doesn’t exist.

Stenehjem said that Minnesota’s options are limited: ask the entire appeals court to take up the issue, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or accept Wednesday’s ruling and pay North Dakota $1 million. The attorney general said the first two options are rarely accepted by the court system and he prefers the third. “I think it is more of a roadblock than a speed bump,” Stenehjem said of the ruling.

This ruling pretty much settles this issue. Gov. Dayton has the right to appeal the ruling but that’s just a waste of taxpayers’ money on a case he’ll lose.

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When I wrote this post, I wrote it to highlight the fact that widely accepted Islamic documents teach principles that are totally contrary to the US Constitution.

In my post titled “Human rights in a Shari’ah world”, I highlighted a document titled “the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.” Kevin Johnson had the temerity to tell the truth about what’s in “the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam during his presentation, which is titled “Shariah 101.”

One of the things that Johnson highlights in his presentation is Article 22 of “the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.” Article 22 states “Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.”

Let’s compare that with the First Amendment.

The text of the First Amendment says “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.”

The difference between human rights in Islam vs. the civil rights in the Constitution is dramatic. The Constitution, specifically the First Amendment, doesn’t put qualifiers on the exercise of free speech. According to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, everyone has the “right to express his opinion freely” if it isn’t “contrary to the principles of Shari’ah.” That’s a pretty big qualifier.

This part of Dr. Johnson’s presentation drives that point home powerfully:

It’s apparent that being Shari’ah-compliant is important to St. Cloud’s Islamic leaders. It’s apparent because Dr. Johnson was terminated less than 2 weeks after he signed a contract with CentraCare and after he was told that CentraCare advised him they’d need him to work “as much as possible for the next six months” and less than a week after Dr. Johnson had given his presentation.

The chief point to take from this is that CentraCare put a higher priority on being politically correct than it’s putting on living according to the Constitution. If businesses like CentraCare are willing to trash the First Amendment and become Shariah-compliant, then the First Amendment will have been seriously undermined.

If you want to only be able to speak your mind when you aren’t contradicting Shariah, do nothing. If you think that the Constitution and the First Amendment are right, however, then it’s imperative that you join the fight against the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.

This article is this morning’s ray of hope for Minnesota’s constitution-loving patriots.

When Dave Unze wrote that “officers from Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud converged on Tyler Gottwalt” while he carried “a military-style rifle”, my initial reaction was that nothing good would come of the situation. It didn’t take long for Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud to reach different conclusions.

While “Sauk Rapids officers consulted with Benton County Attorney Philip Miller and … let Gottwalt go”, “St. Cloud officers disagreed and cited him for violating a city ordinance that prohibits carrying an uncased firearm in public.”

The good news, today’s ray of hope to constitutionalists, is that, following “a lengthy legal quarrel pitting a city ordinance against the state statute governing firearms,” “Stearns County District Court Judge Vicki Landwehr dismissed the charges against Gottwalt.”

I love this ruling. It isn’t because I’m advocating for people to carry AK-47s around St. Cloud. I love this ruling because it delivers a harsh reminder to cities that they can’t write gimmicky ordinances in the hope of overriding state statute.

While I love the outcome, I don’t like the fact that the city attorney didn’t notice the fact that this ordinance violated state statute. It’s one thing to be unaware of an ordinance that hasn’t been updated or repealed. I’d file that under ‘things happen’ or ‘they’re human’. When the arrest was made, though, City Attorney Matt Staehling should’ve tried finding out whether the city ordinance opposed state statutes.

Finally, Gottwalt should be compensated for his court costs because he never should’ve been through the system. The ordinance overstepped its authority once the state statute was passed.

After reading former Sen. Richard Lugar’s NYTimes op-ed on immigration, it isn’t surprising that he isn’t a senator anymore.

The first major tipoff came when he said “whether or not you like President Obama’s actions, he has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement.” It’s stunning that a former senator would make such a foolish straw-man argument. That isn’t the heart of United States v. Texas. The heart of U.S. v. Texas is found on pg. 7 of Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s opinion when he said “One of these memoranda contained an order establishing a new program utilizing deferred action to stay deportation hearings and award certain benefits to four to five million individuals residing illegally in the United States.”

SCOTUSblog talked about the topic of standing in this post, saying “Here is what is at issue regarding state “standing” to sue: to be allowed in federal court under Article III, a state government — like anyone else who seeks to sue in those courts — would have to show that the action being challenged causes it a definite injury or harm. The injury cannot be theoretical or speculative; it must be real, existing right now or predictably.”

That actually shouldn’t be that difficult to prove. It’s inevitable that having “four to five million individuals residing illegally” in Texas or one of the other 25 states that filed the lawsuit would cost individual states financial harm to one degree or another. That harm might come in the form of higher costs for health care programs, education or other benefits that are paid for at the state, county or school district level.

More importantly, though, Judge Hanen stated that one of Jeh Johnson’s memoranda “contained an order establishing a new program” that would “award certain benefits.” That isn’t allowed by Article I of the Constitution. Only the legislative branch is allowed to create new programs. The executive branch executes the programs on the books.

If the justices cared about the Constitution’s authorities, they’d admit that the executive branch has the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion but that it doesn’t have the authority to create a new program that Congress hasn’t authorized through legislation.

The thought that a senator, especially one that’s been a committee chair, doesn’t understand this is a bit frightening.

Gregory Diskant’s op-ed is a display of some of the most warped thinking (if it rises to that level) I’ve seen. Diskant argues that it “is altogether proper to view a decision by the Senate not to act as a waiver of its right to provide advice and consent. A waiver is an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.”

First, the principle of advise and consent is a responsibility, not a right or privilege. Second, it’s altogether improper to think that the executive branch has the authority to determine when the legislative branch has waived its responsibility of advise and consent. The Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling in NLRB v. Noel Canning is instructive on this separation of powers issue, saying “The Clause should be interpreted as granting the President the power to make appointments during a recess but not offering the President the authority routinely to avoid the need for Senate confirmation.”

Further, it states “For purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says that it is, provided that, under its own rules, it retains the capacity to transact Senate business.” In other words, the Senate’s rules, which are voted on at the start of each new Congress, determine when it’s in recess or when it chooses to waive its advise and consent responsibilities. It isn’t within the Executive Branch’s authority to make official determinations on how the Legislative Branch must do its job.

If the Supreme Court ruled that the Executive Branch could tell the Legislative Branch how to do its jobs, that would eliminate the system’s necessary checks and balances. Further, such a ruling would eliminate the concept of co-equal branches of government.

This sentence is particularly disturbing:

The president should advise the Senate that he will deem its failure to act by a specified reasonable date in the future to constitute a deliberate waiver of its right to give advice and consent.

Again, the Supreme Court ruled in NLRB v. Noel Canning that the Executive Branch doesn’t have the authority to tell the Senate how to do its business. That ruling wasn’t a 5-4 ruling, either. It was a 9-0 decision, meaning it was such an easy ruling that all 9 justices voted against President Obama’s executive overreach.

Mr. Diskant’s op-ed isn’t a serious piece of work. It’s virtually worthless from an academic or legal standpoint.

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Dennis Prager’s latest Townhall article interrupts the Democrats’ narrative that Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, is a moderate.

For instance, for the first time in the NFIB’s history, they will be taking a position against a Supreme Court nominee. In fact, it’s the first time in their history that they’ve taken any position, positive or negative, on a Supreme Court nominee.

Juanita Duggan, President and CEO of the NFIB, said they’re making their position known because “in 16 major labor decisions of Judge Garland’s that we examined, he ruled 16-0 in favor of the NLRB.” It’s apparent that Judge Garland’s mind was made up long ago. It’s clear that he’ll consistently favor Big Labor over the Constitution.

The term moderate isn’t relevant when talking about judges. You either interpret laws based on the plain language of the Constitution or you don’t. My thought is that moderate judges don’t exist except in newspapers like the NY Times, the Washington Post or the LA Times. Then there’s this:

“If the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, is replaced by a moderate-to-liberal Justice Garland, the court would tip to the left on several key issues, like abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, gun control, campaign spending, immigration and environmental protection.”

In other words, the very same author who describes Garland as a centrist believes that Garland votes left on essentially every major issue confronting the nation and the Supreme Court.

Based on this information and the Times’ description of Judge Garland, we should assume that centrist/moderate judges agree with liberals on “abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, gun control, campaign spending, immigration and environmental protection.” I can’t wait to hear how that’s dramatically different than liberal justices like Sotomayor or Ginsberg.

Republicans should reject Garland. They shouldn’t give him a hearing. They shouldn’t give him a vote on the Senate floor. They give him a Reid-like pocket veto while explaining why Garland is a creature of the left and while highlighting how dishonest the Democrats are in calling Garland a centrist.

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