Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category
Apparently, Brian Fallon didn’t get beat up enough during the election when his candidate, Hillary Clinton, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. After defending the worst presidential candidate in recent history, Fallon has decided that he’d like to match constitutional wits with Alan Dershowitz. Fallon wrote this op-ed to spin the Democrats’ BS that President Trump’s firing of an insubordinate acting AG was scandalous.
Fallon’s lightweight arguments aren’t persuasive. In the op-ed, Fallon said “It is an entirely appropriate exercise of the attorney general’s authority to determine whether, and how, to defend a president’s executive orders in the face of legal challenge. In this case, while Trump’s executive order may avoid explicit mention of banning Muslims or assigning preference to Christian refugees, the order will certainly have that discriminatory effect.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Dershowitz wrote that “Sally Yates is neither a hero, nor a villain. She made an honest mistake when she instructed the entire Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s wrong-headed executive order on immigration. The reasons she gave in her letter referred to matters beyond the scope of the attorney general. She criticized the order on policy grounds and said that it was not ‘right.'”
Firing Sally Yates wasn’t just proper. It was essential. She disagreed with President Trump’s policy. Prof. Dershowitz said that that’s wrong:
There are significant differences between the constitutional status of green card holders on the one hand, and potential visitors from another country who are seeking visas. Moreover, there are statutory issues in addition to constitutional ones. A blanket order to refuse to defend any part of the statute is overkill.
If she strongly disagreed with the policies underlying the order, she should have resigned in protest, and left it to others within the Justice Department to defend those parts of the order that are legally defensible.That’s what happens when you send a boy king to do a man’s job.
In picking Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, President Trump didn’t hit a home run. Metaphorically speaking, he hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat. It’s apparent that it’s a grand slam when the NY Times publishes an op-ed gushing about Judge Gorsuch.
Neal Katyal’s op-ed isn’t something that you’d expect to find on the NY Times’ op-ed page. The fourth paragraph of Katyal’s op-ed is gushy, saying “I believe this, even though we come from different sides of the political spectrum. I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court.”
On the opposite side of the political spectrum, the editors at National Review wrote “Originalism has faced resistance in modern times mostly because liberals would rather not go through the formal process of amending the Constitution in order to edit it to their liking, removing its structural limits on governmental power and putting their preferred policies beyond democratic review. Gorsuch’s record gives us cause to believe that he would use his vote and his voice to side with the actual Constitution.”
President Trump looked totally confident when he announced his pick:
President Trump explained why he picked Judge Gorsuch. He outlined the lengthy, impressive list of qualities Judge Gorsuch possesses. After President Trump finished his presentation, he turned the microphone over to Judge Gorsuch.
One thing that seemed to jump out at everyone was when Judge Gorsuch said that a judge that agrees with every ruling he’s made “is probably a bad judge.” The clear intent of that statement is that judges that agree with their rulings are most likely substituting their policy preferences for the text on the page. For instance, a judge that bans flag-burning isn’t doing his/her job. Few people think that burning the flag is the right thing to do. Most people would criticize it. The First Amendment, though, says that “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.” It doesn’t prohibit people from saying things we find hateful.
Based on what’s out there, Judge Gorsuch understands that perfectly. That’s why we should think he’s the best possible pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Democratic Party of Hubert Humphrey, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Scoop Jackson is ancient history. The Democratic Party of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, aka The One-Man Pocket Veto, and (especially) Chuck Schumer can be described succinctly. They party of Obama, Reid and Schumer is all obstruction, all the time.
This article highlights just how unhinged today’s Democratic Party is. The article opens by saying “Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Monday predicted that Democrats would launch a filibuster against whoever President Trump picks for the Supreme Court. ‘This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,’ Merkley told Politico. ‘We will use every lever in our power to stop this. … I will definitely object to a simple majority.'”
This isn’t surprising. Democrats are upset because they thought they’d get former President Obama’s third term. They thought they’d win back the majority in the Senate, too, so they could confirm lots of liberal justices. Instead, they nominated a corrupt politician who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Instead, they gained 2 seats in the Senate when they needed 5.
The important point, though, is that today’s Democratic Party isn’t interested in being public servants who listen to their constituents. Today’s Democratic Party isn’t interested in putting America first. Today’s Democratic Party is mostly about complaining when they don’t get their way. Today’s Democratic Party is about obstruction when people say no to their ideological wish list.
Simply put, Sen. Merkley has passionately and emphatically stated that his fidelity is to the Democratic Party, not the people he was elected to represent or the Constitution he swore an oath to defend.
The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), which has ties to McConnell, quickly sent out emails questioning whether the red-state Democrats would back Merkley’s filibuster.
Of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the group said: “Will he stand with the people of his state who overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump to be able to pick a Supreme Court nominee? Or will he stand with [Sens.] Elizabeth Warren [Mass.], Bernie Sanders [Vt.], and the rest of the Democratic caucus that only cares about its far left base of permanent protesters?”
If Democrats want to filibuster President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, let them. That will expose them as obstructionists who obstruct for the sake of appeasing their political base. Democrats don’t care about this:
Democrats only care about maintaining power.
Technorati: Jeff Merkley, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, One Man Pocket Veto, Obstructionists, Hubert Humphrey, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Scoop Jackson, Patriots, Donald Trump, Supreme Court Nominee, Constitution, Mitch McConnell, Senate Leadership Fund
This article puts forth an interesting legal theory, though I’m not sure it’s applicable. The novel legal theory revolves around whether President Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities is unconstitutional. I’m betting this theory fails.
In the article, Damon Root brings up the original Obamacare lawsuit, otherwise known as National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, aka NFIB v. Sebelius. Mr. Root notes that “At issue was whether Congress exceeded its Spending Clause powers when it threatened to cut off all existing Medicaid funding to any state that refused to expand Medicaid in accordance with the new health care law. The federal government’s Medicaid expansion amounted to a ‘gun to the head,’ the Supreme Court held. ‘A State that opts out of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion in health care coverage…stands to lose not merely ‘a relatively small percentage’ of its existing Medicaid funding, but all of it.'” That sort of ‘economic dragooning…leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce.'”
The difference between the commandeering of state budgets in NFIB v. Sebelius and cutting off of law enforcement grants is that the ACA told states that they had to expand Medicaid. The federal government, through the ACA, said that states that didn’t expand Medicaid would lose all Medicaid funding. The withholding of funding to sanctuary cities isn’t commandeering because these sanctuary cities opted to apply for grants in exchange for helping the Department of Homeland Security with immigration-related issues.
In NFIB v. Sebelius, the federal government told states what they had to do without giving them an option. Cutting off funds to sanctuary cities isn’t the same because these cities applied for (think requested) federal grants. In exchange for these grants, those cities sign maintenance of service agreements that obligate them to specific things. In this instance, that means helping DHS capture illegal aliens.
The short story is simple. These sanctuary cities want the money but they refuse to enforce the law. That isn’t commandeering. That’s negotiating in bad faith.
What’s ignored is what’s important. After Congress appropriates the money, it’s the Executive Branch’s responsibility to ensure that the money is spent in accordance to the law. With sanctuary cities, they aren’t spending the money in accordance with our nation’s laws. It isn’t just within the Trump administration’s rights to monitor how cities spend this grant money. It’s their affirmative responsibility to verify that this grant money is spent in compliance with our nation’s laws.
Summarizing, commandeering is when the federal government tells local governments what they must spend their money on. In this instance, cutting off grants that cities requested in exchange for doing things that the federal government wants done isn’t commandeering. That’s simple contract law.
Sen. Feinstein’s statement on President Trump’s executive order on extreme vetting represents the Democrats’ national security policy. In her statement, Sen. Feinstein, (D-CA), said “Under the president’s executive order, Syrian refugees can only come to this country if they are Christian—regardless of the level of persecution or need. To me, this an unbelievable action. It’s one thing to see that an individual is properly vetted. It’s an entirely different matter to say that because someone comes from a particular country or is a member of a particular faith that he or she has no access to this country.”
Sen. Feinstein isn’t telling the truth. Follow this link to read President Trump’s executive order on extreme vetting. The part that jumped out at me was the part that said “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Then there’s this section:
Sec. 5. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures. Refugee applicants who are already in the USRAP process may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of these revised procedures. Upon the date that is 120 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.
It’s a dark moment when a supposed expert in national security plays games with America’s safety. Here’s Sen. Feinstein’s full statement:
Andy McCarthy’s article either proves that Sen. Feinstein is dumber than a sack of hair about the commander-in-chief’s authority or she’s dishonest. Either Sen. Feinstein knows about this provision or she hasn’t done her homework:
Federal immigration law also includes Section 1182(f), which states: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
The thing that’s frightening is that Democrats sat silent when President Obama tried rewriting existing laws through executive orders but are besides themselves when President Trump issues an EO that states that his administration will follow existing laws:
To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).
In other words, President Trump’s EO that temporarily stops refugees from entering our nation cites the specific law he’s obeying.
Think of this. A bill is passed by Congress, then signed by the president. How can something that gets bipartisan support and is signed by the president be un-American? Further, the Constitution gives the Executive Branch the affirmative responsibility of protecting the United States from terrorist attacks.
President Trump’s EO follows US law and the Constitution. That’s what Sen. Feinstein calls un-American. It’s frightening that Sen. Feinstein either doesn’t understand the Constitution or is too dishonest to admit that the Democratic Party is willing to ignore the Constitution for political gain.
To: Larry Jacobs, Walter F. Mondale Chair for Political Studies at the University of Minnesota
From: Gary Gross, Uppity Peasant
Subject: The US Constitution
Dr. Jacobs, during your appearance on Almanac this past Friday night, you said that conservatives should be “on high alert” because President Trump didn’t mention the Constitution in President Trump’s Inaugural Speech. While that’s technically true in a narrowly defined way, it isn’t reality.
Early in President Trump’s Inaugural Speech, he stated “Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.” Perhaps you didn’t recognize this constitutional principle but I definitely noticed it. I wasn’t alone, either, because that constitutional principle is called federalism.
The Tenth Amendment says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, the things that aren’t affirmative responsibilities of the federal government are sent to the states or the people by the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Dr. Jacobs, it’s time you started reading the US Constitution so you don’t miss obvious constitutional principles like federalism.
Frankly, Dr. Jacobs, I’ll be thrilled if President Trump moves power out of Washington, DC. Based on the articles I’ve read, I think that’s quite possible.
After reading this Washington Times article, there’s little doubt in my mind that President Obama will appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
First, the article says “Mr. Obama’s moment will come just before noon, in the five minutes that the Senate gavels the 114th Congress out of session and the time the 115th Congress begins. In those few moments the Senate will go into what’s known as an ‘intersession recess,’ creating one golden moment when the president could test his recess-appointment powers by sending Judge Garland to the high court.” It continues by saying “The move would be a legal gamble under the high court’s last ruling in 2014 on recess appointments. That 9-0 decision overturned a handful of Mr. Obama’s early 2012 picks, saying the Senate was actually in session when the president acted, so he couldn’t use his powers. That ruling also said, however, that there’s a difference between appointments made during the annual yearlong session of Congress, dubbed ‘intrasession,’ which Mr. Obama used in 2012, and picks made at the end of the year, after Congress adjourns, which are known as ‘intersession.'”
This statement is downright foolish considering who we’re talking about:
William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, said Mr. Obama would have the power to elevate Judge Garland. But he said it would be “politically unwise and damaging to the prestige of the court. It would exacerbate acute political tensions that have roiled the transition process and promise turbulence from the very start of the Trump administration, and it would contribute to the growing public perception that the court is unduly political,” Mr. Ross said.
Anyone that thinks President Obama worries about doing controversial things is kidding themselves. He thrives on those things. That’s why I’m certain he’ll appoint Garland.
The political downside for Democrats is that they’d be required to defend that indefensible decision. Republicans would use that against them in 2018, which is already shaping up to be a bloodbath for Democratic senators. That, however, isn’t a big deal to President Obama. What does he care? He’s already decimated the Democratic Party during his time in office:
Since President Obama took office, there are 12 fewer Democratic governors, 63 fewer Democrats in the US House of Representatives, 12 fewer Democrats in the US Senate and almost 1,000 fewer Democrat state legislators.
Why would President Obama care if Republicans picked up another dozen Senate seats after he’s out of office?
Right after the Orlando night club bombing, US House Democrats pushed a bill that sounded logical but that would’ve violated Americans’ civil rights. That bill was called No-Fly, No-Buy. During the Pelosi sit-in, Rep. Nolan took to the microphone and said “I represent rural communities in northeastern Minnesota. Everybody in my neighborhood has shotguns and deer rifles – including me. I’m proud to strongly support the Second Amendment. But the fact is, when you’re out duck hunting, you can only have three shells in your gun. Why? To protect ducks! That’s right; we put limits on guns to protect ducks. So why can’t we do the same for our elementary schoolchildren? For our friends and neighbors in places of worship? For our families who want to catch a Friday night movie? For our LGBTQ community who just want to go out for some fun and dancing on a Saturday night? Surely they deserve the same concern and safety that we afford to ducks.”
This is proof that Rep. Nolan is either an idiot or incredibly dishonest or perhaps a little of both. Stewart Mills’ latest videotape highlights what’s wrong with Rep. Nolan’s thinking (if it can be called that):
Here’s a partial transcript of Stewart’s video:
One of his initiatives is called No Fly, No Buy. It sounds simple enough, until you understand that if you find yourself on the secret government no-fly list, they can take away your Second Amendment rights. There’s no evidence that this unconstitutional proposal, based on an arbitrary set of secret government lists, would have prevented any of the recent terrorist attacks here on US soil. No Fly, No Buy is an assault on your constitutional rights. Not only does it violate our Second Amendment. It also violates our Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Government can’t take away our rights without due process. Period. Our Second Amendment rights are just as sacred as our First Amendment rights to free speech, to assembly and to religion.
Rick Nolan’s speech is a display of Rep. Nolan’s apathy towards the Constitution’s protections.
As for Rep. Nolan’s statement that he strongly supports the Second Amendment, the truth is that he protects a liberal’s definition of the Second Amendment. That’s a warped interpretation of the Second Amendment. Further, it’s totally apparent that Nolan isn’t fighting for our Fifth and Fourteenth amendment protections.
Technorati: Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi, Gun Control, No Fly, No Buy, Democrats, Stewart Mills, Second Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Civil Rights, Constitution, Republicans, Election 2016
Rachel Stassen-Berger’s article highlights two frightening facts. First, it highlights the fact that Gov. Dayton doesn’t take his oath of office seriously.
In his oath of office, governors swear to protect the state and federal constitution. When asked “Thursday if he believes he signed an unconstitutional law, Dayton said, ‘It’s fine with me if they (the Supreme Court Justices) decide that.'” In other words, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have a problem if the Minnesota Supreme Court rules that he signed a bill that’s unconstitutional.
That’s actually the least frightening thing from the article. The most frightening quote from the article was Ms. Otto’s statement that “This office belongs to the taxpayers and not to the Legislature. Auditing counties is a core constitutional duty of the office. I will not let this go. I must do everything I can to preserve this function on behalf of the people of Minnesota.”
Actually, Ms. Otto’s statement is frightening on multiple levels but mostly because of this part of Minnesota’s Constitution:
What part of the “duties and salaries of the executive officers shall be prescribed by law” doesn’t Ms. Otto understand? Are we to believe that the duties of the State Auditor are defined by state law but that the duties of those that work for the State Auditor are defined by the Minnesota State Constitution? If the Constitution defines the auditors’ responsibilities, which article and which section are those duties found in?
Simply put, Minnesota’s Constitution established the Office of State Auditor, aka the OSA. That’s indisputable. It’s equally indisputable that the duties and authorities of the OSA aren’t spelled out in the Constitution. That’s because they’re assigned by the legislature and approved by the governor. That’s what happened in 2015.
If the Minnesota Supreme Court rules that the 2015 law is unconstitutional, the justices that ruled it unconstitutional should be impeached and replaced with jurists that are faithful to the Constitution, not to the DFL. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Let’s hope that this is so straightforward that it’s a unanimous ruling against Ms. Otto. Otherwise, the Minnesota Supreme Court would essentially rule in the DFL’s favor the vast majority of the time.
That isn’t justice. That’s hardball politics.
Thus far, people have tiptoed around what the judge ruled last Friday in the lawsuit brought by Rebecca Otto. Ms. Otto is quoted as saying “In the decision, the court granted our motion in part and denied it in part,” Otto said. “As we requested, the court recognized the core constitutional function of the Office of the State Auditor to audit counties. The court also held that the Office of the State Auditor may ‘continue to exercise its constitutional authority to audit counties to pay for such audits.’ We are reviewing the opinion and analyzing our options.”
It would’ve been surprising if the court had ruled that the OSA didn’t have the authority to be the state’s main auditor. This isn’t surprising. That’s as surprising as the judiciary finding that the Secretary of State had the authority to monitor elections. Later, Ms. Otto said this:
“Unfortunately, the district court also permitted counties to hire private CPA firms at their discretion to conduct an “initial audit.” We respectfully disagree with this aspect of the district court’s decision. It will result in an unacceptable diminishment of the protection this constitutional office provides on behalf of the taxpayers of this state.”
The OSA already has given some counties the authority to hire CPA firms to do their audits. With that being the case, Ms. Otto’s intellectual fight is flimsy. She’s essentially arguing that she has the authority to give counties the right to hire CPA firms to perform their audit but that the legislature doesn’t have that authority.
Further complicating matters is that Ms. Otto is essentially arguing that the statutes that have assigned specific responsibilities to the OSA and other statutes assigning specific responsibilities to other constitutional offices are constitutional but that this statute, and this statute alone, is unconstitutional.
If the Minnesota Supreme Court rules in Ms. Otto’s favor, then we’ll have verifiable proof that Gov. Dayton stacked that court with judges that will rule in the DFL’s favor no matter what the Constitution says. Let’s hope that these justices aren’t partisans first and jurists second. Here’s hoping that they’re jurists first, last and only.