Archive for the ‘The Constitution’ Category
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.
Earlier this morning, I wrote this post to highlight the fact that Rebecca Otto, Minnesota’s State Auditor, isn’t a constitutional scholar but that she is a sore loser. I quoted the ruling as saying “The Legislature has the power to modify the State Auditor’s duties under State ex rel. Mattson v. Kiedrowski. Modifying who does the initial audit does not transfer her core functioning of auditing counties.”
Briana Bierschbach’s tweet contains similar language from the ruling, saying that “giving counties the right to choose whether a CPA firm performs their audits does not transfer a core function away from the OSA, but merely modifies one of the OSA’s existing duties.”
This isn’t a partisan fight. It’s a fight between the executive branch and the legislative branch. The executive branch prefers setting its own duties and expanding its responsibilities. The legislative branch, however, prefers telling these constitutional offices what their responsibilities are. That’s important to the constitutional principle of checks and balances.
Briana also has Ms. Otto’s response to the ruling:
Ms. Otto has the right to appeal this ruling but it’s essentially over. If she appeals this ruling, she’ll just be foolishly spending the taxpayers’ money going into an election year. That isn’t a wise campaign strategy.
Months ago, Rebecca Otto filed a lawsuit claiming that a bill passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Dayton was unconstitutional. Since then, Ms. Otto, who clearly isn’t a constitutional scholar, has spent $220,000 of the taxpayers’ money fighting a losing fight. Last Friday, the court ruled with Ms. Otto in part and against her in part.
The key part of the ruling is found on page 9 of the ruling when it says “The County Audit Statute is Consistent with the State Auditor’s Exercise of her Constitutional Authorities.” Later, it states that “The Legislature has the power to modify the State Auditor’s duties under State ex rel. Mattson v. Kiedrowski. Modifying who does the initial audit does not transfer her core functioning of auditing counties.”
Then it says “As noted previously, Article V does not expressly set the terms or duties of the State Auditor as an executive officer. The task of prescribing duties for executive officers is reserved for the Legislature…”
I’ve written about this before. I said the same thing but with different words. For instance, I wrote this in this post:
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.
Ms. Otto will supposedly appeal the ruling, which she’ll lose while spending more of the taxpayers’ money foolishly. Rep. Sarah Anderson issued this statement:
“I’m glad to see this law upheld as constitutional, and know it will mean meaningful savings for counties and property taxpayers throughout Minnesota,” Anderson said. “Judge Marek’s ruling makes clear: this issue is settled, the law is constitutional, and we can put the confusion and hassle caused by Rebecca Otto’s unnecessary lawsuit behind us. Auditor Otto has wasted more than $220,000 in taxpayer money on this frivolous endeavor—I call on her to get back to doing her job, accept the court’s ruling, and apologize to counties and taxpayers for so flagrantly wasting hard-earned tax dollars.”
Ms. Otto, like other Democrats, is a sore loser. She can’t stand the fact that she lost this ruling even though she clearly didn’t have a chance of winning the lawsuit.
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.
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.
Technorati: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Fascism, Authoritarianism, No-Fly, No-Buy, FBI Criminal Watch List, House Sit-in, Due Process Rights, Presumption of Innocence, Second Amendment, Hubert Humphrey, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, JFK, National Security, Libertarians, Democrats
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.
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.
Technorati: Next Generation Energy Act, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Interstate Commerce Clause, Tenth Amendment, Mark Dayton, Environmental Activists, DFL, Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota, Attorney General
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.