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Constitutional chutzpah

by Seth Lipsky     •     New York Post

barack_obamaThere are three ways something can become what the US Constitution calls the “supreme law of the land.” It can be made part of the Constitution by amendment, it can be passed by Congress as a law or it can be ratified by the Senate as a treaty.

President Obama can’t get his climate-change agreement made supreme law of the land by any of those constitutional routes. Not even close. The Republican House doesn’t want it. The Democratic Senate won’t act.

That’s because the people don’t want it. They’re no dummies. Even in drought-stricken California, the Hill newspaper reports, Democratic candidates for Congress avoid the climate-change issue.

This is driving Obama crazy. [Read more...]

July 4, 1776 – Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [Read more...]

Struggling to Show Anti-Koch Amendment Is “Reasonable”

A proposed Constitutional amendment would give Congress authority to regulate every dollar…

Pelosi Reidby Byron York

While much of Washington grapples with international crises, chronic economic troubles, and upcoming midterm elections, Senate Democrats are steadily pushing forward with what they hope will become the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The proposed amendment would give Congress authority to regulate every dollar raised, and every dollar spent, by every federal campaign and candidate in the country. It would give state legislatures the power to do the same with state races.

Framed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a response to campaign spending by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, the proposed amendment, written by Democratic Senators Tom Udall and Michael Bennet and co-sponsored by 42 other Senate Democrats, would vastly increase the power of Congress to control elections and political speech. [Read more...]

Liberals Champion Freedom of Speech — Except in Politics

by Michael Barone

Free speechI’m old enough to remember when American liberals cherished the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.

They celebrated especially the freedom accorded those with unpopular beliefs and protested attempts to squelch the expression of differing opinions.

Today things are different. American liberals are not challenging the Supreme Court rulings extending First Amendment protection to nude dancers, flag burners and students wearing antiwar armbands. They are content to leave these as forms of protected free speech. [Read more...]

What Does the Oregon Shooter Tell Us About Our Gun Laws?

second amendment_gun controlThis just in: Criminals don’t follow the law.

by Charles C. W. Cooke

KGW News has identified the Oregon shooter. He was just 15 years old.

What does this mean for our public policy? Well, pretty much nothing. Despite all of the chatter from the White House and beyond, “universal background checks” have absolutely nothing to do with this case. In Oregon, 15-year-olds are not allowed to purchase firearms of any sort – whether from stores or from private sources. Last year’s Toomey-Manchin proposal, which would have mandated checks for all private sales, would therefore not have applied to this case and could not have stopped this shooting. To pretend otherwise is downright dishonest.

We also know that the shooter broke a number of other laws. [Read more...]

Freedom of and for Religion, Not From It

Constitutionby Jonathan S. Tobin

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court once again affirmed that the so-called “wall of separation” that exists between church and state is not quite the edifice that liberals would like it to be.In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the court ruled today that a village in upstate New York did not violate the First Amendment in allowing members of clergy to begin town board meetings with prayers, some of which were explicitly sectarian (and usually Christian) rather than ecumenical. The narrow vote along the usual 5-4 conservative/liberal lines is bound to incite many on the left to express fears about the court trying to turn the U.S. into a “Christian nation.” [Read more...]

Progressives are wrong about the essence of the Constitution

Constitution Parchmentby George F. Will

In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected. [Read more...]

Holder’s view of the Constitution and the Rule of Law

Holder HeadAttorney General Eric Holder, who has given new meaning to the phrase a law unto himself, was remarkably candid in his testimony before Congress this week.

Outrageous, but candid.

“There is a vast amount of discretion that a president has — and more specifically that an attorney general has,” Holder told the House Judiciary Committee. “But that discretion has to be used in an appropriate way so that you’re acting consistent with the aims of the statute but at the same time making sure that you are acting in a way that is consistent with our values, consistent with the Constitution and protecting the American people.” [Read more...]

Free Speech Wins Big In Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court just lessened the influence of those “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” President Obama warns against. We’ll see how the Democrats’ rich donors like the sunlight.

In a 5-to-4 majority, the high court, complementing its landmark 2010 Citizens United ruling, has again made it clear that trying to prevent people financing their own political speech in the 21st century is as repressive as restricting the sale of soapboxes to stand on and speak from in centuries past.

“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects,” Chief Justice John Roberts declared in Wednesday’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision.

“If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades — despite the profound offense such spectacles cause — it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.” [Read more...]

Why Intellectual Property Rights Matter — a Case Study

And why individual creators of content are now having such a difficult time protecting their work-product.

This video of recording artist Maria Schneider testifying before Congress explaining how difficult it is to protect her work and the real costs of piracy is compelling.

One of the most important parts of the Constitution is one of the least recognized. While American’s appreciate the importance of free speech and free elections, few realize that America may well have become the world’s unmatched economic superpower because the Founders wisely authorized Congress to protect intellectual property rights. This, in turn, provided the incentive to innovate and create. [Read more...]

White House cannot selectively enforce the law

Selective enforcement rule of lawFrontiers of Freedom has consistently maintained that the constitutional division and separation of powers explicitly prohibits the President of the United States from unilaterally rewriting laws and from selectively enforcing them.  In fact, that has been the law of the land for more than 200 years.  Yet, President Obama has made a habit of enforcing laws he likes, and openly refusing to enforce laws he doesn’t.  If he doesn’t like a law, he can suggest Congress pass reform legislation through the House and the Senate and he can sign it and enforce it.  But he cannot simply ignore the law or unilaterally alter it.  Now even one of the leading defenders of the Obama administration and a predictable voice for the Left – The Washington Post –has written that the President is acting outside his constitutional authority.  Here is what the editorial board of the Washington Post wrote:

The Obama administration on Monday announced that it was delaying, once again, enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “employer mandate.” Yes, Republicans have done everything they can to impede implementation of this law. Yes, their “solution” — gutting the individual mandate — is an awful idea. And, yes, their public response to the administration’s action was predictably over-the-top. But none of that excuses President Obama’s increasingly cavalier approach to picking and choosing how to enforce this law. Imagine how Democrats would respond if a President Rand Paul, say, moved into the White House in 2017 and announced he was going to put off provisions of Obamacare he thought might be too onerous to administer. [Read more...]

Obama Delays Obamacare’s Employer Mandate – Yet Again

ObamaCare Obama DoctorDuring a visit to Monticello with the President of France on Monday, President Obama quipped, “That’s the good thing about being president, I can do whatever I want.”  Some would argue that President Obama was simply joking.  But more and more, it looks like the President believes he can do as he pleases and can enact and amend legislation all by himself. Also on Monday, the White House announced that Obama had changed the clear and unambiguous terms of the ObamaCare law and delayed the employer mandate yet again for certain select groups.

This is particularly odd because the President himself has repeatedly called ObamaCare the of the land and demanded that Republicans accept it and stop trying to reform it. Yet, the President doesn’t view the law of the land as any reason for him to respect the plain language of the law. Students of the Constitution find this usurpation of power deeply troubling. But it is also deeply cynical as the President continues to assure Americans that the roll out of ObamaCare is going well. Yet if it were, he would not be repeatedly postponing its mandates until after the next election cycle.

by Brett Logiurato

The Obama administration announced Monday that it will delay implementation of part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate for the second consecutive year.

The Treasury Department said it will delay the mandate’s penalty another year for small businesses with 50-99 workers. It will also adjust some of the requirements for larger employers.

Under the new Treasury Department rules, businesses with 100 employees or more must offer coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers in 2015 and 95% in 2016, or face a penalty. [Read more...]

The political exhibitionism of the State of the Union

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washingtonby George F. Will

As undignified as it is unedifying and unnecessary, the vulgar State of the Union circus is again at our throats. The document that the Constitutional Convention sent forth from Philadelphia for ratification in 1787 was just 4,543 words long, but this was 17 too many. America would be a sweeter place if the Framers had not included this laconic provision pertaining to the president: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union.”

“Information”? Not exactly.

The Constitution’s mild requirement has become a tiresome exercise in political exhibitionism, the most execrable ceremony in the nation’s civic liturgy, regardless of which party’s president is abusing it. You worship bipartisanship? There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the ways the parties try to milk partisan advantage from this made-for-television political pep rally. [Read more...]

Is Barack Obama an imperial president?

Emperial President ObamaPresident Obama’s use of executive action to get around congressional gridlock is unparalleled in modern times, some scholars say. But to liberal activists, he’s not going far enough.

by Linda Feldmann

Ju Hong’s voice rang out loud and clear, interrupting the most powerful man in the world.

“You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country!” the young South Korean man yelled at President Obama during a speech on immigration reform last November in San Francisco. Waving away security guards, Mr. Obama turned and addressed Mr. Hong, himself undocumented. “Actually, I don’t,” the president said. “And that’s why we’re here.”

“We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers,” Obama continued. “So there is no shortcut to politics, and there’s no shortcut to democracy.”

The reality isn’t so simple. [Read more...]

If You’re Upset, Be Upset for the Right Reasons

Duck Dynastyby Peter Roff

These days almost everyone has a blog or a column or a podcast or some means of participating in the national conversation that goes on daily about, well, everything. It’s one of the more interesting aspects of the information revolution the rise of the Internet has sparked. It means everyone has a bullhorn or at least a microphone – and that has some people very, very scared.

Growing up most of us were taught that we had to show respect for what other people thought – regardless of whether or not we agreed with them. It was the “I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it” view of the First Amendment protections given to speech and religious liberty in the U.S. Constitution. [Read more...]