Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How Unconstitutional is Barack Obama? Let Me Count the Ways

How unconstitutional is Barack Obama? I've begun to count the ways. 1) Bailouts The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to spend the taxpayer's money. Without the consent of Congress, the President cannot legally spend taxpayer money.

No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.
Two Presidents had a hand in the auto industry bailout: 1) President G. W. Bush by using TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money authorized by Congress and 2) President Barack Obama, not using TARP funds, but declaring that he would use monies from somewhere, and do so with the authority and power of the Executive Branch. At the time, CNSNews.com correspondent Fred Lucas asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs where President Obama derived his authority to use taxpayer funds to bail out GM and Chrysler.
I think the determination has been made both by the previous administration and the current administration that this assistance is legal, and our goal is to ensure that the taxpayers in any instance when this is used feel confident that it’s being done in a transparent and accountable way,” Gibbs said.
President Bush's use of congressionally approved TARP funds is suspect also, although the money was "legislated" by Congress. The bug in the ointment is that the TARP funds were authorized only for use by the Treasury to purchase "troubled assets" from "financial institutions." The auto industry does not qualify as a "financial institution." CNSNews.com once again seeks an answer, this time from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:
The administration clearly believes it does have the authority to use some of the remaining TARP funds for the automobile industry,” Hoyer told Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com. I don't know, technically. I would be kidding you to mouth some words on that, because I don't know technically where that authority would be,” said Hoyer. “But my own view is that if it is perceived they don't have that authority and it is perceived by the Congress they need to have that authority, the Congress would probably be willing to give that authority. But I don't know technically the answer to that question.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) introduced a Bill in the House to give the President Constitutional authority for the bailouts. Sixty Senators were required to vote for the legislation to overcome a Senate filibuster. Those votes were not there and the legislation was dead. Then comes the Time of Obama. There was no attempt to get the Senate Banking Committee to introduce the needed legislation. Rep. Barney Frank washed his hands of all responsibility of the administration's trampling the Constitution. Again, when CNSNews.com asked Frank about Obama's intentions to do the bailout without Congressional approval, Frank allegedly said: It’s an administration situation so I’m not very well informed on it,” Frank told Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com Then the correspondent asked Frank if Obama's promised guarantee of the auto warranties for GM and Chrysler needed "legislative authority," Frank was even clearer in his answer:
Do the words ‘I’m not very well informed on it’ have any meaning to you? Am I speaking a language you don’t understand?” It’s not something I’m focused on,” said Frank. “The committee, which I chair, keeps me busy. I have not had a chance to look at that. I do not have an informed opinion on it. It’s not my understanding that Congress is going to get to vote on it. So I tend to focus on things that are under the jurisdiction of the committee and that we’ll have to vote on. When things are neither, I don’t have a very well-informed opinion.
So much for constitutionally-mandated Congressional oversight. Back in October 2008, the CATO Institute looks at the constitutionality of the auto bailouts. After exploring the fact that the government "created this crisis with everything from artificially low interest rates to political pressures for affordable housing, quick loans for bad credit risks, and the subsidization of agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nevertheless, CATO Institute's chairman, Robert A. Levy, says, no, the bailout is not constitutional.
The federal government has no constitutional authority to spend taxpayers' money to buy distressed assets, much less to take an ownership position in private financial institutions. And Con­gress has no constitutional authority to delegate nearly plenary legislative power to the Treasury secretary, an executive branch official.

Congress can proceed only from legitimate authority, not from good intentions alone. That means we must find a constitutional pedigree for each proposed law.

Levy then discusses the rationale of using the commerce clause to legitimize the spending, but he clearly decides that any reasoning for this position is a misinterpretation.

Moreover, it is not a commerce clause argument to say that Congress created the mess and, therefore, Congress can do whatever it wants to fix the mess. Legislators' misdeeds do not ipso facto justify the socialization of private banks, brokers, mortgage companies, and insurance companies-and who knows where it stops.

Even if Congress could defend the bailout as a means of preventing interstate impediments to commerce, that would not legitimize any and all means.

Under the sub-heading No Intelligible Principle, Levy says (snippets):
Indeed, the bailout quite clearly violates the Constitution's separation-of-powers principle-in particular, what has become known as the nondelegation doctrine, which states that Congress may not delegate its legislative power to any other entity, including the Cabinet departments of the executive branch....A plain reading of that text shows that lawmaking is for the legislative branch, which does not include the Treasury Department. Yet when Congress authorized the bailout package, it gave Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. unprecedented power to act as a super-legislature.

But Congress itself, not an executive official, must be accountable for the consequences of laws that Congress puts in place. That tenet has been a cornerstone of our Constitution for more than two centuries. John Locke got it right in his Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690): The separation-of-powers principle means that "the legislative [branch] cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands." The legislative power, wrote Locke, is "to make laws, and not to make legislators."

Despite that sound advice, the Treasury secretary is now the one calling the shots as he partially nationalizes a significant sector of our economy.

Here's the link again to Mr. Levy's article. 2) Supreme Court President Obama has expressed his desire to see his Supreme Court nominees embrace "empathy" in their decisions and opinions. Nevermind the the oath that a Justice swears to:
I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.''
There is no room for empathy when justice is blind and the poor and the rich have equal rights in the sight of the law of the land. While the U.S. Constitution does not provide the oath for a Supreme Court Justice, it does state that others "shall be bound by an oath or affirmation to support this constitution." Additionally, if the President keeps his oath of office, he will not require a Justice who uses "empathy" to decide a case, because empathy is unconstitutional and unfit for the U.S. Supreme Court:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Appointing activist Judges to the Supreme Court is an avenue to interpreting the Constitution as a "living, breathing" document...an avenue for a Judge to insert personal opinion, maybe "empathy," which is unlawful. The only way for the Constitution to take a breath is through an amendment. There is no other way. Outside of amendments, the Constitution is ageless, and it awaits it's use as a service to all Americans, but not at the whim of an activist Judge. Interpreting the Constitution as a "living, breathing document without amendments, renders it practically impotent, because it no longer has the power to protect our rights. Eminent domain is an excellent example. 3) The Czars The appointment of the many "czars" by the Obama administration are unconstitutional. There's the Car Czar, The Pay Czar, The Great Lakes Czar, a Cyber Czar, a Drug Czar, an Energy Czar, a Health Reform Czar, an Intelligence Czar, and a Tech Czar. The Czar Czar, of course, is Barack Obama. What is Obama's Cabinet members doing these days? They've all been demoted and they know it and there's not a thing they can do about it. Here's the problem with Czars. They report to no one but Barack Obama. They have far reaching powers and Congress cannot stop a single decision they make. What has happened to our egotistic Congress who has been so willingly hypnotised into giving up their grasp on EVERYTHING? Maybe it's something in the water. So much for checks and balances. Barack Obama reigns. Even Senator Robert Byrd, the longest-serving senator in history, hates the idea of Czar appointments. It's dangerous he says. It gives the president too much power.
In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd, a Democrat, said that the czar system "can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances," Politico reported. Byrd added that oversight of federal agencies is the responsibility of officials approved by the Senate. As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, or to virtually anyone but the president," Byrd wrote. "They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.
The wildly liberal CBS News, at the end of the article on Byrd, says:
These days, however, Byrd’s comments have less force as he is no longer the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
What does Byrd's chairmanship or the lack of it have to do with the fact that it is unconstitutional to have presidential appointees making decisions about taxpayer monies without congressional oversight? 4) Government ownership in private business The seizure of ownership of private business is unconstitutional. The government ownership of GM is unconstitutional. We've beat this horse to the ground. No need to say more. 5) Redistribution of Wealth Engineering the redistribution of wealth in the GM stock debacle is unconstitutional. I'm not sure I have the latest figures, but nevertheless, it's not good for shareholders who I believe end up with 10 percent of their investment or five cents on the dollar. The government gets 50 percent of the stock, about 87 cents on the dollar. The Unions get 40 percent ownership, plus $10 billion in cash - about 76 cents on the dollar. Doesn't this make you want to throw-up and then find a quiet spot and grieve for our country? 6) Health Care Obama's health care plan is unconstitutional. The first thing that comes to mind is his plan to pay for his health care plan by taxing the wealthy to pay for it. Redistribution of wealth is unconstitutional in America. Then there's the fact that he plans to put private business out of business to achieve his goal, which is simply power over all of us. In the fall of 2008, Obama told Tom Brokaw that health care "should be a right for every American." The Constitution says nothing about guaranteeing health care. BUT, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. has introduced H.J. Res. 30 which calls for a Constitutional Amendment to establish "the right of citizens of the U.S. to health care of equal high quality." 7) Interpreting the Constitution as a "living, breathing" document The only way to make the Constitution take a breath occasionally is to amend it. The Constitution limits government, and to expand government, that expansion must be appropriate under the document, That's my six obviously unconstitutional steps taken by President Obama. We live among idiots, and I guess, we are idiots because if we had the proper sense of outrage, we would sit on the steps of Congress until all of the above are overturned, or Barack Obama is impeached, whichever comes first. Where are our Defending Fathers in Congress? They should be on the floor railing about these issues every single day, over and over. Are we...are they, really so willing to devalue our prized Constitution.
From Thomas Paine: A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is power without right.’ ‘A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government; and a government is only the creature of a constitution.’
Think about that:
"...operating the government without the Constitution "is a power without right."
I as a "people" didn't grant that power, neither did you, neither did Congress. I ask this question: Who will limit the expansion of government? President Obama and the Executive Branch? Speaker Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Reid? The Supreme Court? For the moment, The Supreme Court is the only chance we have. Once Sonia Sotomayor, an activist judge is confirmed, Ruth Bader Ginsberg will resign and then we have not one branch of government to stop the wild ride to Socialism. By the way, Socialism whether Americans want it or not, and I believe a huge majority do not want it, is unconstitutional. The preamble to the Constitution makes it clear:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There are other unconstitutional acts to add to this list, including: the budget and earmarks, the stimulus expenditures that do not create jobs, eminent domain, snatching rights designated only to states, and other unlawful federal rights granted that are clearly unconstitutional - such as "special interest" legislation. If you have thoughts about this or other additions, please leave them in comments. I'll continue updating this list and give you credit, unless you prefer that I not. Help me compile a complete list. While the U.S. Constitution is not a living, breathing document, this post will be.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton