Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category
Conn Carroll’s article is frightening. Check this out:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that President Obama is “very interested” in the idea of raising taxes through unilateral executive action.
“The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans,” Earnest said in response to a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calling on Obama to raise more than $100 billion in taxes through IRS executive action.
“Now I don’t want to leave you with the impression that there is some imminent announcement, there is not, at least that I know of,” Earnest continued. “But the president has asked his team to examine the array of executive authorities that are available to him to try to make progress on his goals. So I am not in a position to talk in any detail at this point, but the president is very interested in this avenue generally,” Earnest finished.
The thought that President Obama “has asked his team to examine the array of executive authorities” on raising taxes without congressional approval is proof that he’s either a scofflaw or he isn’t the constitutional scholar he claims he is. Here’ the text of the heart of Article 1, Section 7:
SECTION. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Article 1 of the Constitution deals exclusively with the Legislative Branch’s authorities and responsibilities. Here’s the only time anyone from the executive branch is mentioned in Article 1:
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
If it took President Obama’s team more than 15 minutes to determine “the array of executive authorities that are available to him” for unilaterally raising taxes, then they’re illiterate.
A first-year law student knows that the Executive Branch doesn’t have any authority to raise taxes, especially unilaterally.
The thought that a Democrat US senator sent President Obama a letter “imploring the Obama administration” to raise taxes through executive action is proof that Democrats hate the Constitution. President Obama’s overreaches have repeatedly gotten shot down unanimously by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Democrats have sat quietly on the sidelines without dissenting.
The Democrats’ silence is deafening.
This polling says everything in terms of the Democratic Party’s utter disdain for the Constitution and their appreciation for anarchy:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 26% of Likely U.S. voters think the president should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country. Sixty percent (60%) disagree and say the president should not have the right to ignore the courts. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But perhaps more unsettling to supporters of constitutional checks and balances is the finding that 43% of Democrats believe the president should have the right to ignore the courts. Only 35% of voters in President Obama’s party disagree, compared to 81% of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either major party.
I’d bet the proverbial ranch that Rasmussen wouldn’t have gotten these results if Scott Walker were president. Democrats, aka the ‘ends-justifies-the-means-when-we’re-in-power-party, only care about the rule of law when a Republican is in the White House.
Imagine what the Democrats’ response would be if President Walker permanently suspended the ACA’s major provisions, starting with the employer and individual mandates, then continuing with the collection of revenues from the medical device manufacturers’ excise tax before finally writing a regulation that eliminates the requirements for the qualified health plans.
I’m betting that less than 10% of Democrats would think that Gov. Walker “should have the right to ignore the courts“ if he tried gutting the ACA. It’s all about whose ox is getting gored, isn’t it? Thinking that the laws apply to others but not to you is as anti-American as it gets. Either the law applies to everyone or there’s chaos and division.
President Obama and his supporters support splitting America. He’s worked on that since his inauguration. His divisiveness showed early. Rather than accepting suggestions from Republicans on his stimulus bill, he shafted them, saying that “I won.” President Obama’s my-way-or-the-highway style of governance took hit after hit in the courts on issues of presidential overreach. No other president has had 13 straight unanimous rulings go against him in the Supreme Court.
Even judges he appointed rejected his arguments in these cases.
Days before his election, President Obama said that he and his supporters were just days away from transforming America. While it’s true he changed the Democratic Party, he, thankfully, failed in changing America. The Democrats went from being the evil party to the party of lawlessness.
Eric Posner’s article is frightening from the standpoint that he thinks implementing speech codes at universities is justifiable because students are still children:
Lately, a moral panic about speech and sexual activity in universities has reached a crescendo. Universities have strengthened rules prohibiting offensive speech typically targeted at racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities; taken it upon themselves to issue “trigger warnings” to students when courses offer content that might upset them; banned sexual acts that fall short of rape under criminal law but are on the borderline of coercion; and limited due process protections of students accused of violating these rules.
Most liberals celebrate these developments, yet with a certain uneasiness. Few of them want to apply these protections to society at large. Conservatives and libertarians are up in arms. They see these rules as an assault on free speech and individual liberty. They think universities are treating students like children. And they are right. But they have also not considered that the justification for these policies may lie hidden in plain sight: that students are children. Not in terms of age, but in terms of maturity. Even in college, they must be protected like children while being prepared to be adults.
The frightening part of those paragraphs is that they aren’t the most frightening part of the article. Another thing that’s worth highlighting is that Posner thinks students are still immature children. If that’s true, then it’s proof that society has gotten soft. During WWII, teenagers helped defeat Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. Now their contemporaries aren’t capable of handling conflict? Seriously?
Check this paragraph out:
There is a popular, romantic notion that students receive their university education through free and open debate about the issues of the day. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Students who enter college know hardly anything at all—that’s why they need an education. Classroom teachers know students won’t learn anything if they blab on about their opinions. Teachers are dictators who carefully control what students say to one another. It’s not just that sincere expressions of opinion about same-sex marriage or campaign finance reform are out of place in chemistry and math class. They are out of place even in philosophy and politics classes, where the goal is to educate students (usually about academic texts and theories), not to listen to them spout off. And while professors sometimes believe there is pedagogical value in allowing students to express their political opinions in the context of some text, professors (or at least, good professors) carefully manipulate their students so that the discussion serves pedagogical ends.
It’s one thing to insist on order in the classroom. It’s another to attempt to “carefully control what students say to one another.” Order in the classroom is a must because it gives every student the ability to hear what’s being taught. Telling students what they can’t say is censorship with a different name.
Saying that “free and open debate” are “out of place even in philosophy and politics classes” isn’t just silly. It’s frightening because it’s fascism in the classroom. It leads to monolithic thinking. It produces cookie cutter classmates that think alike. That’s unacceptable.
Most important, it isn’t possible for Mr. Posner to produce proof that he’s right It isn’t possible because it doesn’t exist. It’s a theory in search of proof.
Notice the conflating of principles in this question:
If students want to learn biology and art history in an environment where they needn’t worry about being offended or raped, why shouldn’t they?
Everyone has the right to live in a society “where they needn’t worry about being” raped. One of the cornerstones of civil societies is public safety. Nobody has the right to live in a society “where they needn’t worry about being offended.” Living in an offense-free society isn’t possible. It’s also offensive to me from the perspective of who determines what’s offensive. Nobody is qualified to determine what’s offensive.
Michael Brodkorb’s article is insightful in that it highlights this week’s vote to delay Gov. Dayton’s decision to raise Gov. Dayton’s commissioners’ pay was a sham:
Let’s set the stage for Bakk’s tour de force performance. In 2013, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation – supported by Bakk – which would allow the Governor of Minnesota to set the salaries of commissioners. Dayton supported the legislation and said in a statement, “I have lost outstanding employees because someone else could offer them salaries 50 percent or even 100 percent higher than state government.”
After the legislation was passed, the commissioners received salary increases in 2013 and 2014. I could not find any public comments of concern about the salary increases from anyone, including Bakk. In January, Dayton again exercised the authority granted to him by Bakk and the Minnesota Legislature and he set salary increases to commissioners in 2015. But this time, Bakk cried foul.
As Michael said, this is political posturing. Last night on Almanac, the DFL’s panelists (Ellen Anderson and Ember Reichgott-Junge) attempted to downplay the Bakk-Dayton fight. The Senate vote is phony but the Bakk-Dayton fight is serious.
Here’s hoping that the House passes the Senate bill without amending it. That way, the bill goes immediately to Gov. Dayton’s desk, where he’s promised to veto the bill. After the legislature gets Gov. Dayton’s veto letter, they should immediately bring it up for a vote to override Gov. Dayton’s veto. Article IV, sec. 23 of Minnesota’s Constitution lays out the procedure for overriding a governor’s veto:
Sec. 23. Approval of bills by governor; action on veto. Every bill passed in conformity to the rules of each house and the joint rules of the two houses shall be presented to the governor. If he approves a bill, he shall sign it, deposit it in the office of the secretary of state and notify the house in which it originated of that fact. If he vetoes a bill, he shall return it with his objections to the house in which it originated.
According to this webpage, the bill originated in the Senate:
Senator Bakk moved to amend the Cohen amendment to S.F. No. 174 as
1.3Page 1, after line 6, insert:
1.4″Page 2, after line 30, insert:
When Gov. Dayton vetoes the bill, Sen. Bakk will have a real decision to make. He can either drop the subject and be exposed as proposing the amendment to provide political cover on an unpopular subject or he can schedule a vote to override Gov. Dayton’s veto. Most importantly, the DFL majority in the Senate will be in jeopardy because the DFL will be exposed as not being particularly bothered by Gov. Dayton’s pay increases to his commissioners.
This was a show-and-tell vote. It was a freebie. It helped DFL senators look like they were doing something without actually doing something. Sen. Bakk’s amendment didn’t repeal Gov. Dayton’s authority to raise his commissioners’ pay. It just delayed part of the pay increase Sen. Bakk and the DFL legislature gave to Gov. Dayton. After all, Gov. Dayton’s commissioners had already received part of their raises long before last fall’s election.
Bill Jacobson’s op-ed for USA Today highlights in outstanding detail President Obama’s unconstitutional actions. Let’s start with this:
Three areas of the Obama administration going it alone stand out: Immigration, Obamacare and the environment. Immigration is perhaps the most dramatic example.
Legalizing and eventually providing a path to citizenship for the estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants is a top administration priority. But that priority hit a roadblock in the form of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and soon, Senate. Out of frustration, Obama has taken unilateral action to evade the immigration laws.
Prior to 2014, the administration already had imposed non-repatriation policies at the border, and established the “mini-dream” policy, precluding deportation of people who were brought to the country illegally as minors and met certain other criteria. These policies, however, only applied to a relatively small portion of the total illegal immigrant population. So more was needed, and that “more” would not be coming from Congress.
It’s worth highlighting this first because it’s likely to get dealt with first. With the government funded for the year except the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans can play hardball on this issue. All they have to do is attach a rider to funding DHS prohibiting DHS from spending any money on documents that President Obama promised when he took this unconstitutional action.
That’s the short-term fix. The medium-term fix will come when the courts slap down President Obama’s actions in due time. The long-term fix will happen when a Republican president secures the Tex-Mex border, then signs one-piece-at-a-time immigration reform.
It’s worth noting that it’s Congress, not the president who sets immigration policy:
Congress’s legislative powers are enumerated in Section Eight:
The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
Here’s the heart of Prof. Jacobson’s commentary on the subject:
This immigration end-run creates a class of people who effectively are exempt from the immigration laws, without Congress ever having recognized such an exemption. It is not prosecutorial discretion but a usurpation of legislative power.
The executive branch never is vested with legislative authority. The minute this gets to the courts, they’ll rule against the Obama administration.
Here’s Prof. Jacobson’s excellent closing argument:
The exploitation of environmental regulatory authority not to implement laws, but to create a regulatory equivalent of legislation, is an abuse of executive discretion. At every level, the Obama administration has signaled that going it alone is the only way to get things done.
But that is not how our constitutional system is set up. The Framers understood the threat of an overreaching executive who wants to be king not president.
When President Obama leaves office, the next president will have a lengthy list of things to clean up from President Obama’s assault on the Constitution.
After reading this LTE, there’s no question that fascism is alive and well in the United States. Here’s what the LTE proposes:
Combined, about $43,781,720 was spent on campaigning just for the governor, Senate and U.S. House elections in Minnesota. Think what that money could have been used for in the state.
I realize it’s not a lot of money in the total scheme of things, but it sure could have been used for something better than all the advertising. There should be no money allowed except from individuals living in the state or legislative district. No money should come from PACs, corporations or unions; only from people who can vote! PACs, corporations and unions don’t vote.
There also should be no negative advertising. Period! Only advertising should be about the candidate’s position on issues and what the candidate will try to do if elected. Period!
Who made this person the arbiter of what’s protected by the First Amendment and what isn’t? This is what happens when schools don’t teach their students the Constitution. It’s what happens when parents don’t teach their children the Constitution, too. It’s what happens when buffoons don’t think things through, too.
Why shouldn’t PACs, corporations and unions have the right to participate in the political process? There’s nothing in the text of the First Amendment that says it only protects individuals’ right to free speech.
What’s particularly bothersome about this LTE is that he didn’t bother mentioning the fact that the DFL and Nancy Pelosi’s ads were particularly dishonest. The other thing that’s troubling is the fact that the DFL’s ads and Nancy Pelosi’s ads outright lied. Repeatedly. Though this isn’t a Pelosi ad, it’s of a similar nature:
That ad was run by NARAL Pro-Choice USA. It accused Cory Gardner, Colorado’s new senator-elect, of banning birth control. NARAL ran this slanderous ad despite their knowing that Sen.-Elect Gardner proposed making contraception available without a prescription.
The best way to clean up politics isn’t by limiting citizens’ participation in the political process but by defeating the politicians whose ads are essentially smear campaigns. Politicians won’t stop running smear campaigns until they don’t work anymore. This isn’t that complicated.
Another key step in eliminating negative campaigning is by tying outside groups’ spending to the candidates they’re attempting to help. While it’s illegal to for politicians to coordinate with these outside expenditure organizations, it isn’t illegal to issue a heartfelt statement specifically criticizing these smear campaign ads. For instance, a man of integrity caught in soon-to-be former Sen. Udall’s position could’ve issued this statement about NARAL’s smear campaign ad:
My campaign condemns in the harshest possible terms NARAL’s ad suggesting my opponent wants to ban birth control. While my opponent and I disagree on a wide range of issues, and while I stand ready to highlight those points of disagreement during our debates and out campaign, I can’t sit idly by while this smear campaign is carried out on my behalf. I hereby demand that NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado take this ad down immediately.
In the Eighth District, there was little difference between Rick Nolan’s advertisements and Pelosi’s advertisements. In fact, the DCCC’s advertisements against Torrey Westrom and Rick Nolan’s advertisements against Stewart Mills were cookie-cutter copycats of Pelosi’s advertisements against Stewart Mills.
I’ll have more to say on Rick Nolan’s spinelessness later this morning.
Last night on the Kelly File, Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer had a great discussion on President Obama’s imminent executive order that would prevent authorities from deporting Hispanics fitting a certain description. First, here’s the video of the interview:
Here’s the key part of the interview:
“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer told Kelly. “If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws.
“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s an unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”
When statutes are drafted, the legislative language often has descriptions of who’s subject to specific parts of the law. That’s especially true with income tax codes, where the language must include a description of who pays what tax rate. If they didn’t include that description, the legislation wouldn’t apply to anyone or it would apply to everyone.
The only constitutionally-sanctioned remedy for what President Obama wants to do is to work with Congress to change the United States’ immigration statutes. Therein lies the problem. President Obama doesn’t play well with others. He doesn’t even get along with Harry Reid, much less with Mitch McConnell or John Boehner.
At the end of the interview, this interesting exchange took place:
MEGYN KELLY: What would happen, Charles, in this country if we had a Republican president who said, ‘you know what? I’m gonna use my prosecutorial discretion to just not go after those who harass women going into abortion clinics. I realize that there are laws on the books that say we should go after them but I just see them as worthy of my mercy and I tried to push a bill through Congress but those darn Democrats wouldn’t allow it. So with the stroke of my pen, I’m now gonna say we’re just not going to prioritize those prosecutions…’ This may be a precedent that the left might not want to set
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, the example I like to use, let’s say you get a Republican president who says ‘I’ve tried to get the abolition of the capital gains tax because it’s hurting our economy but the congress simply won’t cooperate and I will not wait so I have issued an executive order that the IRS will no longer collect capital gains taxes or pursue anyone who doesn’t pay them.’ Everyone would say that this is obviously a breech of the Constitution and it would be an impeachable offense.
They’re both right. There’s no question whether the left is willing to transfer large parts of the legislative branch’s authority to the executive branch. They did that with the ACA and with Dodd-Frank. There’s no question, either, about whether President Obama sees himself as an autocrat. Finally, there’s no question that these Democrats are willing to ignore their responsibility to defend their branch of government against intrusion by the other branches of government.
The only positive that’ll come from this is that President Obama’s executive order is politically stupid. If he signs that executive order, Democrats will be criticized as being anti-law enforcement and pro-chaos. Then they’ll be tarred and feathered for looking the other way when laws were being broken just because the man who broke the laws was from their political party.
This isn’t a solution to a real problem but it is a political headache for Democrats.
Technorati: President Obama, Illegal Immigration, Executive Orders, Prosecutorial Discretion, Impeachable Offense, Lawlessness, Democrats, Megyn Kelly, Constitution, Charles Krauthammer, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner
I’ve believed that John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, was a vindictive partisan prosecutor long before George Will wrote this column. Will’s column chief contribution is that it focuses attention on several key points that should receive additional highlighting. Here’s one such point:
The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.
Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.
That’s what the threats and intimidation wing of the Democratic Party looks like. John Chisholm is a thug with institutionalized authority to ruin innocent people’s lives. He’s the ‘leader’ of the Wisconsin chapter of the Democratic Party’s threats and intimidation wing.
In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups.
On Oct. 14, much too late in the campaign season to rescue the political-participation rights of conservative groups, a federal judge affirmed what Chisholm surely has known all along: Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago, the only coordination that is forbidden is between candidates and independent groups that go beyond issue advocacy to “express advocacy”, explicitly advocating the election or defeat of a particular candidate.
Why Wisconsin ever passed these John Doe laws is inexplicable. It’s authority to start a fishing expedition, something that’s contrary to the principles of probable cause and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Chisholm’s goal might’ve already been achieved:
But Chisholm’s aim, to have a chilling effect on conservative speech, has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation. Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.
I’ve written before about weaponized government. Chisholm’s investigation (I hate using that term in this context) fits that description perfectly. It’s the personification of weaponized government.
It’s worth noting this sentence:
Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.
I’ve seen nasty forms of weaponized government but this is the nastiest form of it. Law enforcement officials participating in this should be investigated, too. Their actions furthered this unconstitutional exercise of abusive government. Hans Spakovsky’s op-ed nails it:
Oral arguments were heard Tuesday before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in O’Keefe vs. Chisholm, the so-called John Doe investigation in which local prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to criminalize political speech and activity on public issues. The 7th Circuit should uphold the lower court decision halting this Star Chamber investigation that violated basic First Amendment rights.
The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy.
Chisholm should be disbarred for intentionally violating private citizens’ civil rights. Then he should be tried and, hopefully, be convicted, then incarcerated for many years. He’s a nasty person helping the Democratic Party chill political speech. Saying that his actions are intimidating and that his tactics are the type that would be approved of by Joe McCarthy is understatement.
Technorati: John Chisholm, John Doe Investigation, Chilling Effect, Threats and Intimidation, Censorship, McCarthyism, Fourth Amendment, First Amendment, Civil Rights, O’Keefe v. Chisholm, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Democratic Culture of Corruption, Election 2014
When the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho passed a non-discrimination ordinance, they opened up a nasty First Amendment can of worms:
Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.
“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”
According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.” But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business, not as a church or place of worship, and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.
It’s difficult seeing this ordinance passing constitutional scrutiny by a real court. It was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The next step will be to the Supreme Court. The First Amendment doesn’t just protect citizens, as we learned in this summer’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
I suspect that this is just another attempt to strike down that ruling.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me it’s “open season on Americans who refuse to bow to the government’s redefinition of marriage. Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of the other 98 percent of Americans,” Perkins said.
Governments, whether they’re local governments or the federal government, don’t have the authority to tell religious institutions what they must do. That’s what Coeur d’Alene is attempting to do. Their city attorney, Warren Wilson, apparently isn’t that schooled in constitutional law.
Thankfully, the Knapps are standing their ground, with assistance from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council. It’s important that government not have the authority to tell people how they can practice their faith. That’s a major reason why people left Europe. It’s important that we fight against being returned to European-style governance.
During his interview with Esme Murphy, Rick Nolan reiterated his support for overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United vs. the FEC lawsuit:
The Supreme Court ruled against BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold:
Independent Expenditures by Corporations
The Court overruled Austin, striking down § 441b’s ban on corporate independent expenditures. It also struck down the part of McConnell that upheld BCRA § 203’s extension of § 441b’s restrictions on independent corporate expenditures. The Court held that the “government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.” An analysis of this holding follows.
As Applied Challenge. First, the Court held that the case could not be resolved on an as applied basis without chilling political speech. Under an “as applied” challenge, the Court’s review of the law’s constitutionality is limited to the set of facts in the case before it. The Court therefore broadened the case from Citizens United’s initial narrower arguments, focusing only on Hillary, to reconsider both the validity of its prior decisions in Austin and McConnell and the facial validity of § 441b.
In reaching this decision, the Court reasoned that among other things:
1. Citizen United’s narrower arguments, including that Hillary is not an “electioneering communication,” are not sustainable under a fair reading of § 441b, and
2. it must therefore consider the statute’s facial validity or risk prolonging its substantial chilling effect.
The First Amendment’s protections apply to all political speech. The argument that ‘corporations aren’t people’ is laughable at best. Nowhere in the First Amendment does it say that the First Amendment protects only individuals. Does the Fourth Amendment protect only individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures? Of course it doesn’t.
But I digress.
Nolan said that he’s “the lead sponsor of new legislation in Washington to reverse Citizens United.” That means, according to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Nolan wants to reverse the chilling effect McCain-Feingold had on political speech. For those asking why that’s a bad thing, I’ll answer with a question. Do you want the government to say what’s acceptable speech and what isn’t? Before answering that question, think about this: Lois Lerner “served as associate general counsel and head of the enforcement office at the FEC“:
One of Lerner’s former colleagues tells National Review Online that her political ideology was evident during her tenure at the FEC, where, he says, she routinely subjected groups seeking to expand the influence of money in politics, including, in her view, conservatives and Republicans, to the sort of heightened scrutiny we now know they came under at the IRS.
Before the IRS, Lerner served as associate general counsel and head of the enforcement office at the FEC, which she joined in 1986. Working under FEC general counsel Lawrence Noble, Lerner drafted legal recommendations to the agency’s commissioners intended to guide their actions on the complaints brought before them.
Isn’t it frightening that a corrupt bureaucrat like Lois Lerner could be the final arbiter of what’s acceptable speech and what isn’t? If Nolan’s legislation passed, it’s possible a corrupt, hyperpartisan bureaucrat could determine which speech is acceptable and what speech isn’t.
Nolan’s legislation would make it illegal for unions to advocate for their endorsed candidates. Nolan’s legislation might be used to shut down ABM, Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC and the DCCC. Is that what Nolan wants?
I’d bet it isn’t. He’s been silent while the DCCC ran its disgusting ads. He’s been silent while Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC ran disgustingly dishonest ads. Apparently, Nolan only opposes money in politics when he’s in front of a camera. That isn’t a principled position. It’s a political position.