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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...]

Obama’s Disdain For The Constitution

Obama Smirkby M. Northrop Buechner

Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, he has changed it five times. Most notably, he suspended the employer mandate last summer. This is widely known, but almost no one seems to have grasped its significance.

The Constitution authorizes the President to propose and veto legislation. It does not authorize him to change existing laws. The changes Mr. Obama ordered in Obamacare, therefore, are unconstitutional. This means that he does not accept some of the limitations that the Constitution places on his actions. We cannot know at this point what limitations, if any, he does accept.

By changing the law based solely on his wish, Mr. Obama acted on the principle that the President can rewrite laws and—since this is a principle—not just this law, but any law. [Read more...]

IRS trying to restrict free speech … again

IRS Scandal AAfter the IRS scandal in which the IRS targeted conservative groups to silence them, one might think having been “caught” braking the law, the IRS would behave itself. However, the IRS simply will not stop its push to regulate speech. The IRS has published new guidance or policies that will unduly restrict free speech and given the IRS’s history, there can be little doubt who speech the IRS will be restricting. 

by Lachlan Markay

Campaign finance experts criticized on Tuesday guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on activity by 501(c)(4) advocacy groups, saying it will unduly restrict activity that rightfully falls under the federal government’s “social welfare” moniker.

The IRS and the Treasury Department, in a joint statement, presented the new regulations as a means to make rules governing nonprofit groups more clear cut and enforceable. [Read more...]

Intellectual Property Rights and Regulation of Technology

Intellectual Property - Brainby George Landrith

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.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries….” With this under-appreciated constitutional provision, the Founders made the U.S. the engine of innovation that drove technological, economic, and medical advances for the entire world.  [Read more...]

Obama considers executive orders as second-term agenda crumbles

obama-legislation executive orderby Ben German

President Obama has a chance to craft a second-term legacy on climate change even as the rest of his agenda runs aground in Congress.

Gun control legislation is dead; immigration reform is on life support; and reaching a fiscal deal with Republicans appears to be a long shot.

To make matters worse, what was supposed to be his signature first-term achievement — ObamaCare — is suffering from a disastrous rollout.

But there’s one thing that’s going right for Obama: Executive action on climate change is moving full-speed ahead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [Read more...]

How to Keep the Constitution

Constitution_Dayby Rep. Justin Amash

When I entered Congress, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and I have followed through on that promise. The political elites of both parties don’t like what I’m doing. They have a vision of government that is very different from the vision laid out in the Constitution. As the elites see it, the American people are their subjects, and a benevolent privileged few—standing above the law—must watch over the rest of society.

History and logic show us that no matter how “good” the leaders are, unrestrained government invites corruption and cronyism. On the whole, government power always benefits the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of others. Some of the reasons are just common sense. It costs a lot of money to lobby Washington. Even the best-intentioned government official cannot sort out what’s right when he spends most of his time hobnobbing with one percent of society.

Wherever government power has proliferated, societies have become poorer, crueler, and less productive. The extreme examples are found in Communist states, but we need not look that far. Europe is wracked by economic chaos and civil strife because decades of big government bred dependence, resentment, and division among its peoples. In my own state of Michigan, bankrupt Detroit is a victim of the corruption and failed incentives that accompany too much government. [Read more...]

The Virtue of the Constitution

Constitutionby David Corbin and Matthew Parks

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago today, the Constitutional Convention came to an end. The delegates completed the first step in a process that would, in time, lead to the world’s longest-lasting and most successful charter of government. We honor their work as we celebrate Constitution Day. But just how many in America’s ruling class are celebrating the Founders’ Constitution with us?

Of course, disputes over the Constitution’s value arose from the start. After New York Governor George Clinton read it, he called it “a monster with open mouth and monstrous teeth ready to devour all before it.” Other (not always less strident) Anti-Federalists included Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Richard Henry Lee—great patriots all who had sacrificed much for American freedom and independence.

The Federalists and Anti-Federalists argued over whether the Constitution was a good means to their common end: to secure the long-term survival of a free republic on American soil. And so they supported or opposed the Constitution based upon their best judgment concerning whether it would help or hinder that effort. [Read more...]

Can the President write his own laws?

Constitutionby Charles Krauthammer

As a reaction to the crack epidemic of the 1980s, many federal drug laws carry strict mandatory sentences. This has stirred unease in Congress and sparked a bipartisan effort to revise and relax some of the more draconian laws.

Traditionally — meaning before Barack Obama — that’s how laws were changed: We have a problem, we hold hearings, we find some new arrangement ratified by Congress and signed by the president.

That was then. [Read more...]

Obama’s Unconstitutional Steps Worse than Nixon’s

Obama Downby George F. Will

President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. Desperation fuels arrogance as, barely 200 days into the 1,462 days of his second term, his pantry of excuses for failure is bare, his domestic agenda is nonexistent and his foreign policy of empty rhetorical deadlines and red lines is floundering. And at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality.

Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.” [Read more...]

The Internet Is Not the Wild West

Intellectual Propery Piracyby Peter Roff

In late July, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing to examine the role played by copyright law in spurring American innovation. It’s long overdue.

The rise of the digital age has made it too easy for people with malicious intent to profit from the creativity of others without providing appropriate compensation. It’s up to the marketplace to determine what that compensation should be, not the government. Nevertheless, the president and Congress both have a constitutional obligation to make sure that the products of a man’s mind receive the same commercial protection as what some refer to as real property. [Read more...]

Why does the Left want to suppress free speech?

by Michael Barone Free speech

Many people on the political left don’t much like the First Amendment. That seems odd to someone of my generation. In past times people who suppressed what the Supreme Court ultimately ruled speech—student armbands, nude dancing, flag burning—were usually conservatives. But now it seems that it’s mostly liberals who want to shut down speech that offends them, and it’s usually political speech which many people think was the main concern of the Founders rather than the kinds of speech referenced above.

Anyway, here are some examples of liberals trying to shut down speech. [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...]

Massive Data Mining: Are the programs justified?

NSA data miningAccording to the Obama administration and some members of Congress, the National Security Administration’s (NSA) data mining operations have been critical to the disruption of numerous terror plots. The publicly revealed evidence, though, suggests otherwise.

Najibullah Zazi, an al-Qaida-trained terrorist in Colorado, planned to bomb the subway in New York City in 2009. The administration says PRISM data mining led to Zazi’s arrest. But officials with knowledge of the case told The Guardian newspaper that the email came from British intelligence, not PRISM. [Read more...]