Lake Erie Conservative

thoughtful discussion(s) about issue(s)

Posts Tagged ‘United States Constitution’

… Nice Catch , Matt [ShutDown Theatre] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Thursday,October 17th,2013

.. this article is from National Review ‘ s Bench Memos , courtesy of legal pundit and analyst Matt Franck …

Princeton historian Sean Wilentz has a somewhat overheated op-ed in the New York Times today, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment’s provision on the public debt somehow authorizes President Obama to take “emergency” steps of his own in the event of a default if the debt ceiling is not raised.

Except that Wilentz acknowledges that the amendment itself “does not give the president the power to raise the debt limit summarily.” So what exactly is Wilentz arguing?

Taking a hyper-Lincolnian view of emergency powers, coupled with a downright un-Lincolnian vagueness about the facts of the case, Wilentz argues that the president, after more pointless talking about this all being the Republicans’ fault, could, “once a default occurred, use his emergency powers to end it and save the nation and the world from catastrophe.” Sure. Then he could step back into that phone booth and become mild-mannered Barack Obama again. Seriously, that is the sum total of Wilentz’s recommendation.

Let’s review. The Fourteenth Amendment says, in Section 4: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned.” The debts authorized by law are those to which Congress has obligated the nation by employing its power in Article I, Section 8 to “borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” The debt ceiling is fixed by congressional action under this clause of the Constitution. The president is constitutionally powerless to undertake any further borrowing on the credit of the nation without congressional authorization.

In truth, Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment does not empower the president to take any emergency powers that would incur more obligations of debt. On the contrary, it should be read to constrain him to pay the debts we already owe, from current Treasury accounts, before spending on anything else.

Annual service on the national debt, according to the Treasury, is in the neighborhood of $415 billion. The Treasury’s income (total receipts from taxes and other sources) for fiscal 2013, was close to $2.5 trillion. There is roughly six times as much income at the Treasury as is needed to pay the interest (and any capital due on bonds) on the national debt.

If the debt ceiling is not raised, the president is obligated by the Fourteenth Amendment to see to it that Treasury services the outstanding debt. All other spending, from the standpoint of the Constitution, is truly “discretionary,” including all “entitlement” spending, which is not in the category of constitutionally protected debt obligations. The nation’s creditors are at the head of the line. But there is plenty in the Treasury to take care of them. It’s the rest of the public budget that is at risk, not the nation’s credit.

Wilentz’s default emergency, in short, is wholly imaginary. So therefore is his conjuring of extra-constitutional “emergency” powers residing in the president to “save the nation and the world from catastrophe.” Long before we might need to ask Professor Wilentz what Chavezian powers he has in mind, we will be past this particular “crisis.”

… LEC again here — actually , the revenue is closer to about $2.9 to $3.0 trillion for the coming fiscal year . Yea , it is that much . That is about $248 billion a month . Other than individual income taxes , which are withheld , and come in throughout the year …

… there are some estimated taxes , paid by wealthier investors , as well as companies , that are paid quarterly . Those quarterlies are due by either the 15th of the month , or the last day of the month , in March , June , September , and December .

.. So , the tax money comes in , more or less , pretty steady . Matt ‘ s estimate on interest expense is probably spot – on , as well .

.. What things also come to includes the 14th Amendment to the Constitution . It , along with the 13th and 15th Amendments , were brought in , more or less , as a group , in the 1860s , culminating in the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870 . They were all proposed during the 1st term of Lincoln , while the Civil War was still raging . But , after his assasination , and the end of the war , the Amendments were pushed through with relish to curb the power of the eventually – to – return Southern states .

.. They were also aimed at curbing (somewhat) the Presidential powers of the new President , Andrew Johnson , a Democrat from Tennessee . Johnson was the only Southern senator who did not resign his seat when the Civil War broke out , and when Abe Lincoln needed a running mate in the 1864 presidential election (against George McClellan) , he chose Johnson , thus making him (eventually) Vice – President .  No one foresaw what was to come , though  .

.. Those amendments were not just passed to enfranchise black citizens , and establish their citizenship , and their civil rights . As  a part of the 14th Amendment , the so – called radical GOP wanted to block Johnson , or any successor , from taking in Southern war debts of the returning states . They wanted to be absolutely sure , so in it went .

.. Section 4 acts to prevent anyone in the Government , most of all a President , or anyone in his (or her) cabinet , from even thinking of repudiating or questioning U.S. debts . The Congress has the power to authorize the ability to borrow on the Credit of the United States , and they did not want anyone playing around with the credit or debt of the country . So Professor Sean Wilentz ‘ s New York Slimes op – ed is waaaay off .

.. Dr. Wilentz is a law professor , as well as a professor of history . For God ‘ s Sake , he should know better …

… the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution …

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

LEC here again — the 13th Amendment was passed in 1864 , and ratified in 1865 . It was the one to specificly ban slavery itself , forevermore . The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 and ratified the same year , as a consequence of the impeachment and near –  removal of Andrew Johnson . They knew with him leaving , and Ulysses Grant incoming , he could act to do some kind of fiscal or legal skullduggery in retaliation . The 14th acts , as I said above , to put some specific limits on Presidential power , so Professor Wilentz is way off base .

.. The 15th Amendment was passed in 1869 , and ratified in 1870 , to ensconce minority voting rights in our Constitution . At least , that was the idea . Unfortunately , the Amendment was tailored far too narrowly , and subsequent Court precedents allowed the Jim Crow laws , poll taxes , and other immoral acts to deny blacks and other minorities the franchise (the right to vote ) . It took eventually until the 1960s , culminating in the passage of the 24th Amendment (banning poll taxes and literacy tests) and the Voting Rights Act [in 1965] to firmly entrench the rights of minorities to vote in the U.S. Constitution  .

.. Prof . Wilentz ‘ s article , in full …

Obama and the Debt


PRINCETON, N.J. — THE Republicans in the House of Representatives who declare that they may refuse to raise the debt limit threaten to do more than plunge the government into default. They are proposing a blatant violation of the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law” is sacrosanct and “shall not be questioned.”

Yet the Obama administration has repeatedly suppressed any talk of invoking the Constitution in this emergency. Last Thursday Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said, “We do not believe that the 14th Amendment provides that authority to the president” to end the crisis. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew reiterated the point on Sunday and added that the president would have “no option” to prevent a default on his own.

In defense of the administration’s position, the legal scholar Laurence H. Tribe, who taught President Obama at Harvard Law School, has insisted, as he put it two years ago, that “only political courage and compromise” can avert disaster.

These assertions, however, have no basis in the history of the 14th Amendment; indeed, they distort that history, and in doing so shackle the president. In fact, that record clearly shows that Congress intended the amendment to prevent precisely the abuses that the current House Republicans blithely condone.

Congress passed the 14th Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification in June 1866. Its section on the public debt began as an effort to ensure that the government would not be liable for debts accrued by the defeated Confederacy, but also to ensure that its own debt would be honored.

That was important because conservative Northern Democrats, many of whom had sympathized with the Confederacy, were in a position to obstruct or deny repayment on the full value of the public debt by paying creditors in depreciated paper money, or “greenbacks.” This effective repudiation of obligations already accrued — to, among others, hundreds of thousands of Union pensioners and widows, as well as investors — would destroy confidence in the government and endanger the economy.

As the wording of the amendment evolved during the Congressional debate, the principle of the debt’s inviolability became a general proposition, applicable not just to the Civil War debt but to all future accrued debts of the United States. The Republican Senate leader, Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio, declared that by placing the debt “under the guardianship of the Constitution,” investors would be spared from being “subject to the varying majorities which may arise in Congress.”

Two years later, on the verge of the amendment’s ratification, its champions inside the Republican Party made their intentions absolutely clear, proclaiming in their 1868 party platform that “national honor requires the payment of the public indebtedness in the utmost good faith to all creditors at home and abroad,” and pronouncing any repudiation of the debt “a national crime.”

More than three generations later, in 1935, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, ruling in the case of Perry v. the United States, revisited the amendment and affirmed the “fundamental principle” that Congress may not “alter or destroy” debts already incurred.

House Republicans threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling — that is, force a repudiation of debts already accrued — would violate that “fundamental principle” of the Constitution.

Surely the lawyers advising and defending the White House, let alone the president, know as much. Refraining from stating this loudly and clearly, and allowing Congress to slip off the hook, has been a puzzling and self-defeating strategy, leading to the crippling sequester and the politics of chronic debt-ceiling crisis. More important, by failing to clarify the constitutional principles involved, the administration has neglected to do its utmost to defend the Constitution.

That failure has led to another abdication, involving constitutional action as well as constitutional principle. The White House, along with Mr. Tribe, has rightly pointed out that the 14th Amendment does not give the president the power to raise the debt limit summarily.

But arguing that the president lacks authority under the amendment to halt a default does not mean the executive lacks any authority in the matter. As Abraham Lincoln well knew, the executive, in times of national crisis, can invoke emergency powers to protect the Constitution.

Should House Republicans actually precipitate a default and, as expected, financial markets quickly begin to melt down, an emergency would inarguably exist.

In all, the Constitution provides for a two-step solution. First, the president can point out the simple fact that the House Republicans are threatening to act in violation of the Constitution, which would expose the true character of their assault on the government.

Second, he could pledge that, if worse came to worst, he would, once a default occurred, use his emergency powers to end it and save the nation and the world from catastrophe.

Were the president to act with fortitude, Republicans would continue to lambaste him as the sole cause of the crisis and scream that he is a tyrant — the same epithet hurled at Andrew Jackson, Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Lincoln, who became accustomed to such abuse, had some choice words in 1860 for Southern fire-eaters who charged that he, and not they, would be to blame for secession if he refused to compromise over the extension of slavery: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’ ”

It is always possible that if the administration follows the two-step constitutional remedy, the House might lash out and try to impeach Mr. Obama. Recent history shows that an unreasonable party controlling the House can impeach presidents virtually as it pleases, even without claiming a constitutional fig leaf.

But the president would have done his constitutional duty, saved the country and undoubtedly earned the gratitude of a relieved people. Then the people would find the opportunity to punish those who vandalized the Constitution and brought the country to the brink of ruin.

Sean Wilentz is a professor of history at Princeton University.


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… It is the Second Amendment , You Idiot ! …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,October 16th,2013

.. it figures , for someone as aloof and as arrogant Piers Morgan of CNN .

.. Someone should have briefed him about the United States Constitution , in general , and the Second Amendment , in specific . This video clip , seen [here] , shows how absolutely obtuse Morgan really is …

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… The Power of the Purse [The House ‘ s Power on Spending Bills] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Friday,October 4th,2013

LEC here — initially , I was skeptical of Andrew ‘ s arguments . I have been following the debate between him , Ed Whelan , and Matt Franck (the latter two in National Review ‘ s Bench – Memos) . Since I have read through this , plus the Constitutional debates , plus the Heritage Foundation position paper (always a dandy , but especially in this case) , I am now convinced of his

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

argument .

.. I am a big Andrew McCarthy fan . I am very thankful for his service , especially for his work in the Department of Justice as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the initial World Trade Center Bombing trials .

.. You can also find Andrew at PJMedia . He writes a regular column there …

The Origins of the Origination ClauseThe House’s power of the purse includes spending bills.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
In a Bench Memos post, my friend Matt Franck objects to the contention in my column for last weekend that the Constitution’s Origination Clause (Art. I, Sec. 7) gives the House of Representatives primacy over spending as well as taxing. Matt claims that my interpretation is bereft of historical support, a defect I’m said to camouflage by an extravagant reading of an “at best . . . ambiguous” passage in Madison’s Federalist No. 58.
It is Matt’s history, though, that is incomplete. As Mark Steyn observes, there is a rich Anglo-American tradition of vesting authority over not merely taxing but also spending in the legislative body closest to the people. This tradition, stretching back nearly to the Magna Carta, inspired the Origination Clause. It also informed Madison, whose ruminations, besides being far from ambiguous on the House’s power of the purse, are entitled to great weight — not only because he was among the Constitution’s chief architects but also because his explication of the Framers’ design helped induce skeptics of centralized government and its tyrannical proclivities to adopt the Constitution.

Plainly, Matt is correct that the Origination Clause refers to “bills for raising revenue.” From the time it was debated at the

James Madison

James Madison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia convention, however, the concept at issue clearly referred to more than tax bills. It was about reposing in the people, through their most immediately accountable representatives, the power of the purse. Indeed, the term persistently used throughout the Framers’ debates was “money bills” — the phrase used by Elbridge Gerry, perhaps the principal advocate of the Origination Clause, when (as the debate records recount) he “moved to restrain the Senatorial branch from originating money bills. The other branch [i.e., the House] was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings.”

Matt portrays my position as eccentric. Nevertheless, the belief that the Origination Clause conveys the House’s holding of the purse strings — i.e., that it refers to the output as well as the intake of government revenue — is hardly unique to me. The Heritage Foundation’s Guide to the Constitution, for example, notes that the clause was meant to be “consistent with the English requirement that money bills must commence in the House of Commons.” Traditionally, that requirement aggregated taxing with spending — the “power over the purse” — which the Framers sought to repose “with the legislative body closer to the people.”

Similarly, the Annenberg Institute for Civics, in its series on the Constitution, instructs students that the Clause means “the House of Representatives must begin the process when it comes to raising and spending money. It is the chamber where all taxing and spending bills start” (emphasis added). To be sure, the lesson goes on to state that “only the House may introduce a bill that involves taxes.” Yet this obviously would not suffice to explain the conclusion that the House must “begin the process” when “spending money” — as well as raising money — is involved. That conclusion, like Madison’s, draws on the fact that the Framers intended to mirror the venerable English tradition of vesting the all-important power of the purse in the people’s direct representatives.

Mark Steyn recounts the Westminster practice, since the mid-17th-century reign of Charles II, that the Commons would not permit the Lords to alter “money bills.” In tracing the practice back much further, I am indebted to Nicholas Schmitz, a Rhodes scholar and Marine veteran who has studied the ancient Anglo roots of the Origination Clause. From his work I’ve learned that it was already solidified custom by the reign of Richard II (1377–99) that “grants” were the province of Commons, albeit, back then, “with the assent of the Lords.”

“Grants” did not refer merely to the extraction of assets by taxation; the term is also concerned with the purpose to which these funds were to be put. England’s 1689 Bill of Rights thus specified that a “grant of Parliament” was a necessary precondition to “levying money for or to the use of the crown.” Such grants were, in essence, appropriations. As the process evolved, the House of Commons structured taxes strictly in accordance with the specific purposes cited by the crown. It was very much a two-sided ledger, with Commons jealously guarding its oversight of both money in and money out.

As a number of the Framers were admirers of Locke, it is also worth remembering Locke’s teaching that governments are formed to protect private property. The concept stems, in part, from the (by then) established understanding that the state could legitimately extract the citizen’s property only by the consent of the people’s representatives for a proper public purpose. That is the foundation of the Origination Clause.

Given these roots, it should come as no surprise that, at the time of the Founding, several of the state constitutions vested in their lower legislative houses the prerogative of, in the words of Georgia’s constitution, initiating “bills for raising revenue or appropriating moneys.” Indeed, in famously supporting colonial opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765, William Pitt observed, “The Commons of America, represented in their several assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this their constitutional right of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it” (emphasis added).

Maryland’s lower house, to take one example, was responsible for initiating “money bills,” which were defined as “every bill, assessing, levying, or applying taxes or supplies, for the support of government, or the current expenses of the State, or appropriating money in the treasury” (emphasis added). In Massachusetts, the home of Elbridge Gerry, colonial practice was that taxes and “money bills” were the privilege of the House of Representatives, with the upper house empowered only to concur or not concur. The Commonwealth’s 1780 constitution, adumbrating the federal Constitution’s Origination Clause, mandated that “money bills shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.”

Let’s move directly to the 1787 convention in Philadelphia.

One of the major challenges confronting the delegates was to broker the competing claims of small and large states. As Franklin summarized, “If a proportional representation takes place, the small States contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large States say their money will be in danger.” This resulted, of course, in the great compromise: equality among states in the Senate and proportional representation (by population) in the House. But this arrangement was inadequate to quell the large states’ fears; it was also necessary to tinker with the powers assigned to the two chambers.

As Franklin put it, the Senate would be restricted generally in all appropriations & dispositions of money to be drawn out of the General Treasury; and in all laws for supplying that Treasury, the Delegates of the several States shall have suffrage in aroportion to the Sums which their respective States do actually contribute to the Treasury [emphasis added].
When the Origination Clause was specifically taken up, a spirited debate ensued, with some delegates protesting against restrictions on the Senate. According to Madison’s records, however, what “generally prevailed” was the argument of George Mason:

The consideration which weighed with the Committee was that the 1st branch [i.e., the House of Representatives] would be the immediate representatives of the people, the 2nd [the Senate] would not. Should the latter have the power of giving away the people’s money, they might soon forget the source from whence they received it [emphasis added]. We might soon have an Aristocracy.

Mason’s concerns seem prescient in our era of mammoth national government presided over by an entrenched ruling class of professional politicians. He worried that the Senate is not like the H. of Representatives chosen frequently and obliged to return frequently among the people. They are chosen by the Sts for 6 years, will probably settle themselves at the seat of Government, will pursue schemes for their aggrandizement. . . . If the Senate can originate, they will in the recess of the Legislative Sessions, hatch their mischievous projects, for their own purposes, and have their money bills ready cut & dried, (to use a common phrase) for the meeting of the H. of Representatives. . . . The purse strings should be in the hands of the Representatives of the people.
Yes, the purse strings, not just the power to tax. Concededly, the Origination Clause speaks of bills “for raising revenue.” In selling the Constitution to the nation, though, it was portrayed as securing in the hands of the people’s representatives the power of the purse. It is an empty power if spending is not included.

The relevant paragraph in Madison’s Federalist No. 58 is worth quoting in full (all italics mine):
A constitutional and infallible resource still remains with the larger states by which they will be able at all times to accomplish their just purposes. The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

To my mind, what Madison describes unquestionably transcends taxing authority. I believe a “complete and effectual weapon . . . for obtaining a redress of every grievance” must give “the immediate representatives of the people” the power to block funding for a government takeover of health care that was enacted by fraud and strong-arming; that was adamantly represented not to be the tax that the Supreme Court later found it to be; and that is substantially opposed by the people, and has been since its enactment.
Matt begs to differ, relying on the text of the Origination Clause, the reductive construction of “revenue” as mere “taxation,” and Joseph Story’s Commentaries. This is reasonable, and — as Matt has emphasized — it certainly reflects conventional Washington wisdom. But I do not think it gets to the power of the purse that the Framers — and Madison, quite explicitly — were driving at.
In fact, Story’s conclusion that the origination power “has been confined to bills to levy taxes in the strict sense of the word,” and not to ordinary legislation “which may incidentally create revenue,” is an overly narrow interpretation of the clause’s meaning, arrived at by taking out of context a portion of the delegates’ debate that related to two tangential concerns about potential abuse of the origination power. Specifically, Madison worried that the Origination Clause could be read too broadly, thus hampering the Senate’s ability to originate any legislation — since most federal legislation would surely have some conceivable economic consequence. Relatedly, other delegates worried that the House could abuse its origination power by tacking non-revenue legislation onto money bills in order to frustrate the Senate’s ability to make amendments.
The Framers wanted to endow the House with the power of the purse, but did not want to open the door to such shenanigans. Thus the fleeting focus on “incidental” levies: The debates fleshed out the principle that the Origination Clause was intended to apply to bills the patent purpose of which involved public money. That hardly meant, as Story inferred, that the Clause would only ever apply to “bills to levy taxes in the strict sense.” It meant that, in the peculiar situation of ordinary legislation that only incidentally raised money, the Senate would not be impeded by the clause from either initiating or amending such a bill.
I would also note that constricting the House’s Origination Clause power to taxation would render it a nullity — which, admittedly, is how modern Washington treats it. If the Senate is freely permitted to originate appropriations that increase our already olympian debt through more borrowing, it is effectively originating taxation every bit as much as if it forthrightly branded as “taxation” the bills thus initiated.

Two final points. First, I have no illusions that, at this late hour, the Senate would passively accept the premise that the House holds the full power of the purse, or that somewhere down the road the courts would enforce this principle. But each component of our government has the power and, I’d submit, the duty to construe its own constitutional authority in good faith. I am saying that if Republicans truly want to make good on a pledge to reinvigorate originalism, the House should be guided by Madison in its dealings with the Senate. That would make for some contentious times (similar to what we are witnessing now), but so what? Our system is based on the expectation that officials will vigorously exercise their quite intentionally separate and competing powers. The resolution of the inevitable collisions should be more a political process guided by constitutional principles than a legal process determined by courts. The former is how compromise and consensus properly emerge.
Second, there is some very interesting Origination Clause litigation ongoing against Obamacare, and it involves a construction of the clause that both Matt and I would probably find legitimate. Representative Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) and other House conservatives claim that the so-called Affordable Care Act violates the clause because it was a tax-hiking bill (as the Supreme Court has held) that originated in the Senate.
There will be much more to say about this legal challenge. I believe it will be less abstract and less contentious than our debate over the theoretical extent to which the Origination Clause reposes in the House the power of the purse.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

… this [link] is to the heritage foundation guide to the constitution . It regards the debate regarding the origination clause …

… this [link] is to the Annenberg Classroom resources on the Constitutional debates …

… LEC here again — It remains to be seen how this shutdown will play out . However , I think the GOP has a fighting shot at winning this . Dingy Harry Reid ‘ s penchant for shooting his mouth off  , and sticking his foot in it in one thing . The other thing is POTUS . He is behaving like a petulant child , and Dingy Harry is no better …

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… You Figure those Idiots would Learn [on pamphleting on a College Campus] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Monday,September 23rd,2013

.. Amazing .  [link] to story …

.. There have been plenty enough fights on college campuses that these college administrators would learn . People would and do have the right to pamphlet and distribute literature on campus .

..These free speech zones are patently illegal and unconstitutional . People do ont forfeit free speech rights when they enter onto a college campus . There are time , place , and manner restrictions as to sppech , but they cannot be used to suppress it . These dummies should understand that people have civil rights , and in this day and age , people will fight back . There are civil rights organizations of all stripes that are willing to fight and fight back hard against what they consider to be injustices .

[link] — this is a youTube video from the article that caught my eye originally on this piece . You figure that these folks would learn …

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… Have you folks heard of the [27th ] Amendment ?? …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Wednesday,August 7th,2013

.. In other words , Oops .

.. Congress must vote to increase its own pay . Even if it is done by a cost-of-living formula . The Congress must still vote to do it . Executive action does not count . The U.S. Constitution still applies , booys and girls .

..  due to a  so – called “creative interpretation”  of ObamaCrapCare , members of Congress and their staffs will be able to keep a financial subsidy that they had been receiving  for years to help pay for their health insurance .

.. Members and their staffs receive their health insurance through what is called the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program . It is a competitive program , one that has been moderately successful at restraining health insurance costs and payments for these knuckleheads . However , in the ObamCrapCare bill , that was specifically disallowed . The congresscritters , senators , and their staffers had to get their health insurance through the “exchanges” that were created under O.C.C. . OC.C. also cut off the subsidy . Boy , were the staffers not thrilled with that .

.. The Members were afraid of a “brain drain” on the Hill . The law , as passed , would make people kick in an added $5k to $10k for  their health insurance , per year . So , the  ObamaCraps got “creative.”  The ObamaCrap Admin “reinterpreted” the law , and PRESTO ! The folks got their subsidy back .

.. Slight Problem . The United States Constitution . The law is  clear . No subsidy . Also , if the Members change it , it changes their salary . Ergo , the problem with the 27th Amendment . An election must intervene until the members can receive their subsidy , again . The staff cannot until the law is changed , and the ObamaCraps are scared shitless about re  – opening  you-know-what . Once the can is re-opened , katy – bar- the – door on what else gets changed .

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… Have they Gone Mad ?? …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Sunday,May 12th,2013

.. this is another one from LI . However , this one is far more important , especially if you have college age kids , especially young men …

.. its breadth and depth are outrageous and scary . What the ObamaCraps involved are trying to do is beyond outrageous . It is waaaaay beyond a grotesque misuse and abuse of power . It acts , in effect , to try to turn our colleges and universities into
prisoner – of – war camps . and , no , I am not kidding …

The FIRE: “The government has mandated speech codes on all campuses”

Posted by William A. Jacobson   Friday, May 10, 2013 at 5:56pm

“I hoped I would never see this day, but I feared I would.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights In Higher Education (FIRE) is the premier
non-partisan organization fighting to protect free speech and other
constitutional rights on campus.  The FIRE defends everyone’s rights, regardless
of political affiliation.
We have cited The FIRE numerous times here and at College Insurrection, and they
have submitted a few guests posts on campus issues.
The FIRE is not an organization prone to hyperbole.
… So when I received this email late this afternoon from FIRE Senior Vice
President Robert Shibley, it got my attention:

THIS. IS. OUTRAGEOUS. The government has mandated speech codes on all campuses.
I hoped I would never see this day, but I feared I would.
This press release was linked in the email:

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013—In a shocking affront to the United States
Constitution, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together
to mandate that virtually every college and university in the United States
establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and
decades of legal precedent.
“I am appalled by this attack on free speech on campus from our own government,”
said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in
Education (FIRE), which has been leading the fight against unconstitutional
speech codes on America’s college campuses since its founding in 1999. “In 2011,
the Department of Education took a hatchet to due process protections for
students accused of sexual misconduct. Now the Department of Education has
enlisted the help of the Department of Justice to mandate campus speech codes so
broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them. The DOE and DOJ
are ignoring decades of legal decisions, the Constitution, and common sense, and
it is time for colleges and the public to push back.”
In a letter sent yesterday to the University of Montana that explicitly states
that it is intended as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the
country,” the Departments of Justice and Education have mandated a
breathtakingly broad definition of sexual harassment that makes virtually every
student in the United States a harasser while ignoring the First Amendment. The
mandate applies to every college receiving federal funding—virtually every
American institution of higher education nationwide, public or private.
The letter states that “sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any
unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’” including “verbal conduct” (that is,
speech). It then explicitly states that allegedly harassing expression need not
even be offensive to an “objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the
same situation”—if the listener takes offense to sexually related speech for any
reason, no matter how irrationally or unreasonably, the speaker may be punished.
This result directly contradicts previous Department of Education guidance on
sexual harassment. In 2003, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil
Rights (OCR) stated that harassment “must include something beyond the mere
expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds
offensive.” Further, the letter made clear that “OCR’s standards require that
the conduct be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the
alleged victim’s position, considering all the circumstances, including the
alleged victim’s age.”
Among the forms of expression now punishable on America’s campuses by order of
the federal government are :

 — Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person . This
 leaves a wide range of expressive activity -— a campus performance of “The Vagina
 Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality ,
 a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita
 [-—] subject to discipline.
 — Any sexually themed joke overheard by any person who finds that joke
 offensive for any reason.
 — Any request for dates or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient
 of such a request or flirtation.
There is likely no student on any campus anywhere who is not guilty of at least
one of these “offenses.” Any attempt to enforce this rule evenhandedly and
comprehensively will be impossible….
Read the rest at the link.
The FIRE has set up an Action Page where you can send emails to the Departments
of Education and Justice.  Here are the contact persons if you want to email
them directly (as always, be polite):

Seth Galanter
Office for Civil Rights, Dept. of Education

Chief Anurima Bhargava
Civil Rights Division, Dept. of Justice
 ** my note — this link is the legal agreement between the University of Montana , the Department of Education , and the ObamaCrap Department of InJustice . And yes , the university ‘ s president , on the school ‘ s behalf , did sign the settlement …
This is a continuation of the reign of politically correct terror on campuses,
in which conservatives and men inevitably will be the ones singled out, a point
we made in Kangaroo courts for men on campus.
Though extensive due process protections apply to the investigation of crimes,
and to criminal trials, perhaps the most important part of the criminal process
— the decision whether to charge a defendant, and with what — is almost entirely
discretionary.  Given the plethora of criminal laws and regulations in today’s
society, this due process gap allows prosecutors to charge almost anyone they
take a deep interest in.  This Essay discusses the problem in the context of
recent prosecutorial controversies involving the cases of Aaron Swartz and David
Gregory, and offers some suggested remedies, along with a call for further
Now everything is a speech crime on campus, and the administrators get to pick
and choose who is guilty.

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… It figures …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Thursday,January 31st,2013

… every time there is a serious incident with guns , elected officials come for our guns , and our 2nd amendment rights ….

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