Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

06/09/2009 (3:32 pm)

Obama Admin Argues That It's Above the Law

Not that no Executive branch has ever tried to argue that the Court has no authority over it before, but this year’s variety came before the US Supreme Court just yesterday — and lost (see also here.)

The bankruptcy court had decided that Chrysler’s sale to Fiat could move forward, over the objections of three pension funds from the state of Indiana who objected to the Chrysler sale because their claims for satisfaction of loans to Chrysler comes behind those of the United Auto Workers, but shouldn’t. Apparently a portion of their argument claims that Chrysler is not entitled to receive funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to execute the deal, because Chrysler is not a financial institution. Complaints also arose from individuals raising product liability and personal injury claims, who argued that the bankruptcy filing essentially puts Chrysler beyond their reach and denies them their right to satisfaction.

The Solicitor General’s office argued in reply, among other things, that since the bankruptcy court did not rule on the use of TARP funds, and since federal courts traditionally will not rule on matters on which the lower court did not rule, that no federal court has jurisdiction to settle the question about the TARP funds.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who handles emergency appeals from the 2nd Circuit, granted the plaintiffs — the Indiana pension funds — a temporary stay of the Chrysler deal, apparently to give the Court time to consider the matter further. Whatever the Solicitor General’s Office claims, the Supreme Court apparently has enough authority to do that.

The Obama administration has engaged in a series of Constitutionally questionable practices aimed, according to them, at stabilizing the US economy. A number of us have wondered how they’re getting away with ignoring the Constitution. The answer seems to be that nobody with the financial wherewithal to sue, has standing to sue. So, unless the Democrats in Congress decide they’re tired of the Chief Executive of government being a duly elected Dictator, it appears that the Obama administration will get what it wants. This strikes me as an indication that the Constitution lacks a proper enforcement mechanism; although it seems odd to me that it’s taken 230 years of US history to reach the point where the lack of a proper enforcement mechanism becomes clear.

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46 Comments »

June 9, 2009 @ 5:46 pm #

Phil,

You’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m curious as to what constitutionally questionable acts you have in mind? Which provision(s)of the U.S. Constitution are implicated?

June 9, 2009 @ 6:59 pm #

Congress allegedly controls the purse strings. I think I heard that somewhere in civics class… /sarc

June 10, 2009 @ 5:24 am #

Leaving aside any argument as to the constitutionality of the actions of the Obama administration in its meddling in the bankruptcy of a corporation, the fact that SCOTUS would not intervene in this matter must have sent a chill down the spines of bond holders everywhere.

No one is safe from a government that acts by fiat.

Elections have consequences. This is one of them. I fear that the (un)intended consequences of all three branches of government, but the Executive especially, in dealing with this crisis will exponentially increase the damage to our economy and liberty.

If you wonder why I use the prefix ‘un’ parenthetically, I long ago concluded that this was Obama’s plan all along – to wreck the free market system that he holds in contempt and to replace it with a government controlled, socialistic system.

No one should be surprised, shocked or bewildered by the actions we see on a daily basis coming from this White House. It was all foretold to us by a few brave journalists who knew that there was nothing to be found by dumpster diving in Wasilla, but rather there was much to learn by simply gleaning in an honest way the public record of Barack Obama. Their work was ignored.

I’m with Sarah on this one: we told you so.

June 10, 2009 @ 7:48 am #

Joe — I think John Cooper and turfmann have both answered your question as well as I might.

Certainly there’s no constitutional authority for the President to involve himself in the internal operations of any private corporation without an act of Congress granting him the authority. Apart from corporations established by acts of Congress (like FNMA and SLMA), it’s questionable whether it would be constitutionally proper even with an act of Congress. Article I section 8 grants Congress (not the President) the authority to regulate commerce between the several states, and while errant and highly questionable Supreme Court decisions from the New Deal era tore the commerce clause so wide as to make the Constitution worthless, even those decisions do not permit the President to act without Congress. The takeovers of the auto makers and the takeovers of the banks are outside the President’s constitutional authority. The EPA’s implementation of carbon regulation is probably unconstitutional as well, although that incredible buffoon Anthony Kennedy saw to it personally that it would take a change in the Court to declare it so (I wrote about this here).

And we haven’t even started on the President’s use of bullying tactics to enforce his totalitarian policy. If those are not RICO violations, then the law needs to be rewritten; he’s engaging in Stalinist tactics. Obama is a dictator, not a President.

Then there’s the sheer size of the government. As a libertarian, I regard the growth of the federal government, both in size and in reach, as anti-constitutional, and a threat to liberty. The three main thrusts of the Obama administration — education, health care, and energy — are areas of policy not granted the federal government in the Constitution, and according to the 10th Amendment ought to be the province of the states or of the people. Same with charity and public service. While I understand that recent practice and precedent have allowed the federal government to absorb these functions, I also understand that doing so ruptures the boundaries intended by the authors of the Constitution, and they should not be the province of the national government if the people are to remain free. Obama is not the first President to expand this reach, but he’s the latest, and by far the worst.

Basically, progressives, beginning with the New Deal, have redefined the Constitution in such a way as to make it meaningless, and are now, having opened the gate wide, ravaging the livestock. The US experiment in self-government is over. We are a dictatorship.

June 10, 2009 @ 11:07 am #

>>The answer seems to be that nobody with the financial wherewithal to sue, has standing to sue. >>

This seems to be the case with the Birth Certificate eligibility issue as well. It appears to me to be a valid issue. I simply don’t understand why no court will consider it – whatever the outcome. In fact, I think we have “progressed” to rule by judicial fiat. I also think that Congress is in kahoots with the president in his efforts to destroy the country we are by way of the Constitution and rebuild it as a Socialist country.

But you know that already…

June 10, 2009 @ 12:09 pm #

Suek –

Allan Keyes, as a candidate, surely has standing to sue, as did Leo D’Onofrio in New Jersey. I haven’t heard the outcome of Keyes’ suit; D’Onofrio’s was denied certiorari, meaning the Supreme Court didn’t consider his claim sufficiently weighty to warrant their review.

Personally, I think the Birth Certification issue is a red herring. What I wonder is whether Obama abdicated his citizenship in effect when he traveled as a young man with an Indonesian passport; Indonesia does not permit dual citizenship. This, I suspect, is why he asked Harvard and Columbia to seal his records; I suspect he attended as a foreign student, and obtained financial advantage from that status.

But, I suspect we’ll never know for sure.

June 10, 2009 @ 2:36 pm #

So, you’re not saying that the constitution prohibits Government bailouts of the automakers. But you are saying that the executive needs congressional approval to authorize the treasury to purchase shares of GM?

Where is that in the constitution?

Just asking.

Joe H.

Joe

June 10, 2009 @ 4:50 pm #

Joe, I recognize what you’re doing as a game. You’ve completely fooled darkhorse, but you have not fooled me; you’re an Alinskyite, and not trustworthy. So I’m really not interested in your chop-logic game. I’ll answer this once for the sake of my readers, and then I’m not accepting any more questions from you on this subject.

Here’s part of the game: you’re deliberately asking the wrong question. The Constitution is written to specify what MAY be done by the government. Things that do not appear in the Constitution, may not be done by the government. So, if the President is doing something unconstitutional, the correct answer to your question “Where is it in the Constitution?” will always be “Nowhere.” That’s what makes it unconstitutional — because it’s not in the Constitution. You know this perfectly well.

So the answer to your question is, it is NOWHERE in the Constitution that the Executive may a) bail out private companies; b) purchase shares of private companies; c) make decisions regarding the internal operations of private companies. Therefore, all of these things are unconstitutional.

Now, I assume that the President is claiming that he’s entitled to assist GM and Chrysler under the Commerce clause (Article I, section 6) because, as I said, it has to be somewhere in the Constitution or the government may not do it. The Commerce clause is the clause that grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, and is the primary means by which the government has inserted itself into private business affairs. As I explained in my last answer, even if we accept the monumentally oppressive, wrong-headed decisions of the SCOTUS that posit the government’s right to regulate virtually anything because something like it gets shipped across state lines somewhere, regulation is only permitted by virtue of an act of Congress. So yes, the executive branch needs congressional approval in order to purchase shares of GM, and in order to participate in the reorganization, and to make any decisions regarding the operation of the businesses. Article I, Section 6.

But beyond this, Joe, I’m not going to let you piecemeal the Constitution. The vision of the founders is government limited by laws, and the people free to pursue their goals according to their consciences in every area not specifically granted to the government. The growth of government in the past 60 years, beginning with the New Deal, has been a frank and direct dismissal of that vision. Probably at least 60% of everything the federal government does, lies outside the original intent of the Constitution, including pretty much the entire departments of Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, and several other cabinet-level departments. So whether I manage to convince you or not that some specific act of Obama’s in the last 6 months has been directly unconstitutional within current precedent, I think the entire, oppressive central government structure is anti-constitutional. I said this already, and you ignored it.

June 10, 2009 @ 5:34 pm #

Good comments, Phil.

I guess I find myself in the position of Cassandra. I can see clearly where America is heading and speak out against it at every opportunity. But nobody listens. All I get are blank stares from my relatives, and most of my friends.

At this point, I have no idea what I can do to prevent what seems to be the inevitable collapse, other than to turn off the TV and live my life in freedom for as long as possible.

June 10, 2009 @ 6:37 pm #

Maybe my point is best put this way. You – and many of your readers, it seems – are libertarians. You also seem think that the constitution embodies the libertarian political philosophy. You criticize our current leaders because they are taking actions that are contrary to your preferred political philosophy.

It is on the second proposition that you go wrong. Our constitution sets out the basic structure of our government, and imposes limitations on the government in so far as it interacts with the people, but it does not embody any particular political philosophy.

Joe H.

June 10, 2009 @ 7:12 pm #

Phil,

I’m “dangerous” because I asked an obvious question that you couldn’t answer?

When someone claims that the government is doing something “unconstitutional” they usually point to some enumerated requirement or restriction within the constitution itself, or at least to some principle embodied within an enurmerated requirement or restriction. The “founder’s vision” thing is not a stable basis for constitutional law. It substitutes a political philosophy for an analysis of the text of the constitution.

To your credit, there are those who think that the entire New Deal inspired federal regulatory edifice is unconstitutional – these folks talk about the “constitution in exile.” They base their theory on the non-delegation clause of Article II (the cite may be wrong – I’m in my office withour a copy of the constitution). The Supreme Court decided they were wrong a long time ago so, legally speaking, your theory about the founder’s vision has been rejected.

Your statement that the government may only do what the constitution expressly authorizes it to do is . . . well . . . I’ll let your readers decide what they think of that comment.

Joe H.

June 10, 2009 @ 7:14 pm #

No, you’re dangerous because you’re disingenuous.

My answer was correct, and your understanding of the Constitution is faulty. The Constitution was written to limit government; it GRANTS powers to the branches, and then EXPLICITLY says in the 10th amendment that powers not granted explicitly to any of the branches belong to the states, or to the people.

What’s YOUR reading of the 10th amendment, if mine is incorrect?

June 10, 2009 @ 7:18 pm #

The “founder’s vision” thing is not a stable basis for constitutional law. It substitutes a political philosophy for an analysis of the text of the constitution.

It was not offered here as a basis for constitutional law; it was offered as an understanding of the purpose of the Constitution itself within the founding of the nation. If the Constitution no longer serves the purpose for which it was written, then the intended goals of the nation’s founding have been abandoned, and all those who agree that those goals are the correct ones for a nation need to provide new guards for their future security. There’s no point in interpreting the Constitution further if the goals for which it was written are no longer achievable by means of the Constitution.

June 10, 2009 @ 7:28 pm #

Our constitution sets out the basic structure of our government, and imposes limitations on the government in so far as it interacts with the people, but it does not embody any particular political philosophy.

This is not just wrong, it’s profoundly wrong.

The US Constitution most emphatically was a product of a distinct political philosophy, and was written to implement that philosophy. It was, as you note, a libertarian philosophy. The Constitution was far, far from an attempt at a philosophically neutral document. Hell, Joe, the Declaration of Independence was a declaration of the inherent rights of man, and the act of establishing a government without a monarch was an audacious implementation of what was, at the time, a thoroughly radical point of view. The entire American exercise was an attempt at making libertarianism work. “Does not embody any particular political philosophy?” Bosh. Where on earth did you get that notion???

Just think about it: how is it even possible to write a document structuring a government without reference to any political philosophy? This would be like establishing a system of education without a theory of learning, or establishing a church without any theology. The very existence of a government implies certain things about the underlying political philosophy! The very existence of a Constitution implies certain things about the underlying political philosophy!

June 10, 2009 @ 8:53 pm #

Phil,

The Tenth Amendment is simply a statement that the federal government’s power to legislate is limited to the areas specified in the constitution (interstate commerce, for example). For those areas where the federal government is not expressly authorized to legislate – such as family law – the power to legislate is reserved to the states. In areas in which the federal government wants to legislate but cannot – like alcohol regulation – it regulates by offering the states money to enact the regulations it want.

There is nothing libertarian about any of this.

There are certainly political values built into the constitution; authority arising from the consent of the governed, respect for individual liberty, respect for property, and so on. However, constitutional protection of liberty and property has never been understood as absolute.

Under our constitution, the government can infringe on individual liberty – it just can’t infringe on individual liberty without “due process.” In most cases, regulatory restrictions on people’s choices satisfies the due process requirement if the restrictions are the result of an open and democratic enactment procedure, and a have “rational basis” as public policy. The same constitutional principles govern deprivations of property.

The Constitution also allows the government to raise taxes for public purposes, and nothing in the constitution restricts the government from redistributing tax revenues if it thinks that is wise public policy. Nor does the constitution prohibit paternalistic laws requiring us to act in ways that benefit us- like wear our seatbelts.

Point to the provisions of the Constitution that preclude redistributive or paternalistic policies if you think I’m wrong?

None of these infringements on individual rights are compatible with libertarianism. But they are allowed by our constitution. Our constitution is compatible with libertarianism, but it is also compatible with communitarianism, liberalism, and some degree of socialism (like our system of public schools).

Liberty and respect for property are strong values within our constitutional structure, but they are not absolute. The constitutional text and a mountain of case law bears this out.

Simply put, our constitution does not prescribe libertarianism.

Phil, I also want to ask why it gives you no pause to say to someone who holds a PhD. in political philosophy and a law degree “your understanding of the constitution is wrong.” I’m not saying that my credentials prove I’m right. But it would give me pause if someone with advanced credentials in an area in which I lacked them, said something about their area of expertise that I disagreed with. I’d at least want to hear what they had to say.

And for the love of God Phil, stop accusing me of playing games and being disingenuous. You have absolutely no grounds for claiming that.

Joe

June 10, 2009 @ 9:02 pm #

By the way, you don’t think our public school system is unconstitutional, do you? It is definitely “socialized education,” but its not unconstitutional? Right?

Actually, I’m betting you’re gonna bite that bullet. If there’s one thing I admire about you, you stick by your positions regardless of what they imply.

Joe H.

June 10, 2009 @ 10:01 pm #

Phil wrote:

“The US Constitution most emphatically was a product of a distinct political philosophy, and was written to implement that philosophy. It was, as you note, a libertarian philosophy.”

This is an interesting statement that I think should be explored. For example, you and I both admit that the US Constitution was a product of people who were mostly Christians…but for some reason, those Christians explicitly refused to mention the Christian faith.

Could it be that they were truly ahead of their time, understanding that the principles they were wrapping in the Constitution could be true without purposefully wrapping them in Christian doctrine?

I think the libertarianism of many of the founders may have also been the product of a similar restraint…thus leaving a document that is not rendered meaningless to those of different political philosophies (outside of the non-representative monarchy they were breaking from).

Signed,

Duped : )

June 10, 2009 @ 11:21 pm #

Phil et all.

Any political philosophy addresses one basic question – what justifies the possession and use of corecive authority?

Libertarians nutshell answer: Preventing harm to others, abjudicating disputes, and funding public goods.

Utilitarians nutshell answer: The general welfare.

Our Constitution’s nutshell answer; The consent of the governed (within a scheme limiting the power of majorities over minorities with regards to certain rights).

Liberals nutshell answer: The consent that the governed would give behind a veil of Ignorance.

Conservative nutshell answer: They have several, all beginning buy “the consent of the goverened.”

As you can see, our constitution is Locke based (consent of the governed) not Mill based (harm to others is the sole grounds for force). Granted, Locke had a healthy respect for property, but his philosophy was not libertarian.

Joe

June 11, 2009 @ 12:03 am #

As you can see, our constitution is Locke based (consent of the governed) not Mill based (harm to others is the sole grounds for force). Granted, Locke had a healthy respect for property, but his philosophy was not libertarian.

As you can see, our Constitution is based on a fairly clear political philosophy, and Joe knows it perfectly well.

June 11, 2009 @ 2:45 am #

Phil,

“Consent of the governed” is a premise of a meta-political philosophy, not an ordinary political philosophy. It is compatible with contributions from a variety of political philosophies. The U.S. Constitution allows for input form socialism (public schools), libertarianism (Nevada’s refusal to outlaw gambling and prostitution) liberalism (entitlement programs) communitarianism (public decency laws) and utilitarianism (seat belt laws) in forming law and public policy).

Joe H

June 11, 2009 @ 7:28 am #

“Consent of the governed” is a premise of a meta-political philosophy, not an ordinary political philosophy.

Your own, supplied definition of a political philosophy was “answers the question, ‘what justifies the possession and use of coercive authority?’” The US Constitution was written with several ideas in mind concerning that, one of which was “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” another of which was “liberty is the soul’s right to breathe,” and another of which was “a government of laws, and not of men.” These, and other foundational ideas articulated publicly by the men who began our nation, are the political philosophy they intended to be protected and implemented by the Articles of Confederation, and later by the Constitution. The Constitution was anything but a neutral document.

Give whatever name you like to this combination of ideas (and to the others I’ve left out); I was calling it “libertarian,” but if that name implies something different to your philosophically-educated brain, let me know what name you’d prefer and I’ll use it — and call myself that, because I agree with all of those notions.

I think what you meant was, the authors of the US Constitution intended to allow variation in the laws and practices of the states, and to permit competing political interests to resolve their disputes peaceably. Yes; but the claim that this is a good thing is, itself, an expression of a particular political philosophy, one that necessarily rejects forms of government that limit free expression, protect certain parties unequally, or permit the whims of men rather than the certainty of law to govern. So the claim “any philosophy will do” is simply wrong.

Seems to me that we both need to re-read The Federalist Papers.

The executive branch of the United States does not have the power to abrogate private contracts between parties in contracts to which it was not party. Lending money to one of those parties does not make the government a party to the contract. Buying and running companies is an unconstitutional assertion of power not granted by the Constitution. Taking the company from its rightful owners and giving it to the union that organized the workers constitutes theft. Obama is in violation of his sworn duty in dozens of ways already, in a mere 6 months.

June 12, 2009 @ 3:39 am #

darkhorse –

Please supply, or at least reference, the evidence on which you base your assertion that the authors of the Constitution deliberately avoided mentioning the Christian religion, rather than simply assuming it. That’s not a challenge, I’m really curious to know whether that can be proved.

I’m thinking they didn’t mention Christianity only because religion did not lie within the province of the national government. The sole topic of the US Constitution is the form and limits of the national government.

June 12, 2009 @ 3:50 am #

By the way, you don’t think our public school system is unconstitutional, do you? It is definitely “socialized education,” but its not unconstitutional? Right?

Our public school system is not a federal institution, so the US Constitution, which constitutes the national government, does not affect it directly. Each state has its own constitution that determines what is a proper function for the state government.

The US Department of Education is not necessarily unconstitutional in that it’s not per se improper for the government to have policies concerning a topic; I can see why a President might want an office studying and reporting on education topics, for example. However, the notion of the federal government actually setting policy for schools should be unconstitutional. If the government established a single, uniform, national education system, that would clearly be unconstitutional.

I do happen to think that universal public education is a bad idea, and, yes, it is socialized education. Our nation was best-educated at its founding, and at that point in our history education was a private function, completely the province of a child’s parents. There were public schools, but they existed primarily to supply education to the poorest of the poor, who could not afford private tutoring. I don’t think there’s any problem in public education that could not be solved almost overnight by simply abolishing the public school system and returning to a private system — so long as we abandoned teacher certification at the same time. Ain’t gonna happen, though.

June 12, 2009 @ 4:05 am #

Nor does the constitution prohibit paternalistic laws requiring us to act in ways that benefit us- like wear our seatbelts.

Good grief.

The extent of federal laws was considered to end with such things as treason and piracy, and to protect the currency. Go read Article I, Section 8, Joe. The functions listed there are the extent concerning which the US Congress is permitted to legislate. Tax; borrow for government purposes; regulate foreign and interstate commerce; make laws regarding national currency; establish a national post office; establish copyright law; legislate regarding war and foreign affairs; raise armies; manage federal districts. Into which of those functions do you squeeze paternalistic laws?

Laws like those you mention — seat belts and such — were clearly intended to be the province of state and local governments. The national government was to have nothing to do with them, and should not.

This is why attempts at federal laws governing such things are always couched as guidelines for state governments, and enforced with the threat of withholding federal funds from state governments. The feds are not entitled to legislate regarding our behavior, so they bully the states into doing it. I have not the slightest doubt that if James Madison were alive, he’d react to such a national standard with horror, and call it the tyranny that it is. The tyranny lies not in the notion that seat belts are such an onerous thing — I used mine even before it was required by law — but in the notion that the national government should have the power to bully the states into conformity, a power which was never intended.

June 12, 2009 @ 4:15 am #

Phil, I also want to ask why it gives you no pause to say to someone who holds a PhD. in political philosophy and a law degree

Because I’ve read it, and I’ve read extensively about it. I suspect you’ve had, what, one course in Constitutional law? Two? I feel confident that I’ve read at least as much about the Constitution in the years I’ve been interested in the topic (beginning at the age of about 15) as you might obtain in two such courses — though, frankly, I’ll defer to you in matters pertaining to historical details of case law, where I’m sure your knowledge exceeds mine.

It does occur to me to wonder what the hell they taught you in those courses, or who it was that was teaching.

I do respect your knowledge of political philosophy. I was not using the term “libertarian” precisely, and accepted your correction.

And for the love of God Phil, stop accusing me of playing games and being disingenuous. You have absolutely no grounds for claiming that.

I do owe you an apology for that. Please forgive me. It really didn’t occur to me that your reading of the Constitution could actually be so errant as to permit honestly the position you’ve taken; however, I can see now that you really do mean it. I’m astounded… but I was wrong about what you were trying to accomplish.

June 12, 2009 @ 5:06 am #

Joe wrote:

The Constitution also allows the government to raise taxes for public purposes, and nothing in the constitution restricts the government from redistributing tax revenues if it thinks that is wise public policy.

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. ” — James Madison

From Walter Williams’ essay “Ideas on Liberty,” Constitution Day, August 2006:

James Madison said, in a letter to James Robertson, “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” James Madison also said, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison laid out what he saw as constitutional limits on federal power in Federalist Paper Number 45 where he explained, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”

Thomas Jefferson explained in a letter to Albert Gallatin, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

Virtually every instance of Congress appropriating money for charity before the Civil War was vetoed by whoever was President at the time, on the argument that the Constitution did not authorize Congress to expend the public treasury on charity.

Constitutional permission to use public funds for transfer payments is a modern innovation, and a distortion of what was intended.

June 12, 2009 @ 8:14 am #

Phil said:

“Please supply, or at least reference, the evidence on which you base your assertion that the authors of the Constitution deliberately avoided mentioning the Christian religion, rather than simply assuming it. That’s not a challenge, I’m really curious to know whether that can be proved.”

Just an observation, Phil. When I listen to speakers and read authors claiming that the USA is a Christian Nation, it seems the Founders had no lack of explicitly Christian language for these people to quote.

None of this appears in the Constitution. I don’t think there’s really any proof for this necessary but a reading of it.

By the way, why do you assume that Joe’s knowledge of Constitutional Law is limited to the classes he took for his law degree? You’re doing fair argumentation an injustice there…in addition to being sorely mistaken.

June 12, 2009 @ 3:15 pm #

Great conversation, Phil. Don’t be so quick to apologize though.

Joe says:

“Phil, I also want to ask why it gives you no pause to say to someone who holds a PhD. in political philosophy and a law degree “your understanding of the constitution is wrong.” I’m not saying that my credentials prove I’m right. But it would give me pause if someone with advanced credentials in an area in which I lacked them, said something about their area of expertise that I disagreed with. I’d at least want to hear what they had to say.”

This is exactly the kind of elitism and condescension that pollutes the political discourse of late. If someone is by or of the ivory tower they automatically assume that their argument is intellectually superior if conversing with someone that does not possess such degrees. I am not aware of your educational background, Phil, but I didn’t hang around college long enough to accumulate a Ph.D. (You’ve heard the old quip: B.S., M.S. Ph.D means “bull****, more ****, piled higher and deeper”)

The founding documents were specifically constructed such that they could be comprehended by the common man (that would be me).

Of the founding fathers there were a few Medical Doctors, a few with Masters degrees. In fact, most of them had college degrees or at least some college experience. A few with JD’s, too, but not in American jurisprudence as there was not yet an America.

None of them possessed a Ph.D, much less a Ph.D in some kind of political philosophy.

I am curious. Mr. Huster would denigrate or at least intimidate Phil’s argument based upon his possession of the advanced degrees that he holds.

Would Mr. Huster challenge the fathers with the same educational canard?

June 12, 2009 @ 3:43 pm #

TURFMANN:

“I am curious. Mr. Huster would denigrate or at least intimidate Phil’s argument based upon his possession of the advanced degrees that he holds.”

Read a lot closer, this is far from a fair reading of what Joe has done. Joe never once invoked his education as a reason why Phil could never understand as well as Joe does.

No, quite the opposite…Joe simply asked how Phil could so easily write Joe off as being wrong without entering into an open discussion about why Joe believes the way he does.

A couple of hints…he’s not being dishonest (for which Phil certainly DID owe him an apology for); he’s not so dense as to be unable to read the constitution for what it says because he’s been duped by his professors (Phil’s current position)…

…no, there’s something else there…I can’t quite get a grasp on it…oh THERE it is, he may really have some points worth considering, and he actually came to them without malice and with intelligence!

Now, let the intelligent dialog continue!

June 12, 2009 @ 5:21 pm #

By the way, why do you assume that Joe’s knowledge of Constitutional Law is limited to the classes he took for his law degree? You’re doing fair argumentation an injustice there…in addition to being sorely mistaken.

I assumed nothing of the kind. Joe flashed his law degree as a trump card. I pointed out that his law degree did not add enough Constitutional knowledge to give that much weight. This requires no assumption about other knowledge.

I don’t think there’s really any proof for this necessary but a reading of it.

I provided a reasonable alternative explanation, so yes, I think you do need more than just an assertion if you’re going to state that as a fact.

Actually, I provided two reasonable alternative explanations: (1) there would be no reason to insert Christianity if they assumed Christianity as a default, and took it for granted. (2) There would be no reason to insert Christianity if the government was to have nothing whatsoever to do with religion (see 1st Amendment for additional reading: Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion.)

June 12, 2009 @ 7:46 pm #

darkhorse and I traded some private email, and he really liked my argument in one, so I’m reproducing it here.

I agree with Joe that ONLY appealing to the alleged intent of the writers cannot be enough…because, while we may know something about their beliefs and personalities, it becomes much harder to know what they intended to do while writing the Constitution.

(1) Joe makes the complementary error of utterly ignoring the intent of the writers. That’s far worse, imho. (In fact, I’ve always felt that the argument how difficult it is to know the intent of the authors is a cop-out. No matter how difficult, the first obligation on the reader of ANY document is to understand the author’s meaning, attempting to interpret the terms in the sense that the author intended.)

(2) It’s relatively easy to know what the writers thought about this instance, because they actually explained what they meant in later works — which I’ve quoted.

(3) They didn’t really have to tell us what they intended in this instance, because there’s really no other sensible reading of the Constitution. If we turn the document inside out and say the branches are only forbidden what’s expressly prohibited, which is what Joe is arguing, it becomes perfectly acceptable for the judicial branch to make treaties with foreign governments, perfectly acceptable for Congress to command the army, and perfectly acceptable for the executive to establish its own court system. The only way the document even makes sense is if the definition of what Congress is permitted to do, implies that neither the President nor the Court is permitted to do, and so forth.

(4) And oh, by the way, I’m pretty sure that’s what the case law assumes as well, although I haven’t the time or the know-how to dig out examples.

Joe is just completely out to lunch on this one. I’m curious to understand how that happened; as you’re fond of pointing out, he’s too well educated to expect him to make an error of that sort.

June 12, 2009 @ 8:44 pm #

Oh, darkhorse, I agree with Phil that Joe most certainly “flashed his badge” instead of wielding his rhetorical rapier with that comment (Moe Green: “do you know who I am?”).

His argument cheapened, he invited additional scrutiny through his appetite to feed his ego.

June 13, 2009 @ 12:11 am #

As for “flashing my badge,” let me say, for the record, that credentials do not, and should not, settle arguments. However, credentials do and should indicate expertise that uneducated people might be wise to consult.

Note, I have resepect for self education. However, self education is problematic unless the self educator takes pains to expose himslef to all points of view with an open mind. My experience is that this does not happen very often.

On the constitutionality of our public school system, and regarding our paternalistic seat belt laws, you all seem to be unaware of the Fourteenth Amendment, which the courts have repeatedly said “incorporated” the bill of rights against the States (and against political subdivisions of the States). The questions at issue were whether the federal constitution precluded public schools financed by the involuntary contributions of non beneficiary citizens, or whether it precluded paternalistic seat belt laws?

A “libertarian” constitution would prohibit coercive extractment of money for a system of public schools, and would preclude paternalistic measures, such as seat belt laws. If our constitution does not preclude such things – and it does not – it is not a “libertarian” constitution.

Do you guys even know what “libertarianism” is?

Phil, from what you’ve said thus far, you’ve proven that James Madison had libertarian sympathies. You’ve also established that, prior to the civil war, presidents viewed the constitution as not authorizing charity. Obviously that viewpoint was not unanimous since, by your own admission, pre civil war presidents had to veto acts of charity enacted by majorities in both houses of congress. But I’ll let all that pass for now.

What you’ve not proven is what you asserted, which is that Obama is acting unconstitutionally with his interference in these companies. That was the entire point of this discussion.

Are you going to cite to a passage of the constitution, or a (still valid) court decision interpreting the constitution, to prove your point or not?

Joe H.

June 13, 2009 @ 5:58 am #

Would it not be incumbent upon Mr. Obama to explain to his subjects by what authority, specifically, he is interfering in the legal machinations of a corporation in the throws of bankruptcy? Which of the enumerated powers of the executive branch is he relying upon to justify his actions? By what legal precedent?

Is there a double secret ‘too big to fail’ clause in the fifth amendment that was written in invisible ink on the margin of the original constitution? The ‘I won’ penumbra?

Or is it more likely that Mr. Obama is interceding under the pretense of crisis in order to elevate the claims of a political ally, the auto unions, to the detriment of others, namely the bond holders? Am I suggesting that our President not only is acting in defiance of our Constitution, but in defiance of our laws? You ‘betcha. Do I think he will be held to account? Fuggetaboutit.

Bankruptcy is a legal concept that predates the United States by centuries. It outlines the legal process by which a corporation that is unable to meet its financial obligations to seek relief from its creditors, reorganize itself such that it can emerge post-bankruptcy as a viable enterprise or liquidate itself. All of us understand what secured and unsecured creditors are as well as understanding the role of bonds in corporate America. All parties understand the rules of the game when they enter into an agreement – who gets what, who is first in line when bankruptcy occurs.

Obama has thrown a monkey wrench into that works by elevating the claims of the unsecured ahead of and to the detriment of the secured. Henceforth, those who would bond corporations will now have to consider that the rules of the game have fundamentally changed. And they changed without any Representative or Senator filing legislation, that legislation being debated, voted upon and signed by the President. Obama just decided that he was going to do it. So let it be written, so let it be done.

And the Supreme Court would not hear arguments for or against.

*sigh*

This is one of those times in American History where the unintended consequences of a policy will have thunderous effects in the future.

And to cap it all off, isn’t it especially and deliciously ironic that the corporation that was handed Chrysler on a silver platter was named Fiat?

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. They’d never believe you.

My central premise of Obama’s political philosophy is that he is a socialist, a marxist, a communist. Choose one or all of the nebulous terms that you like but the result is the same. He is at war with capitalism. He is an enemy of free enterprise. His entire life has been spent in mentorship with those who loath the political and corporate juggernaut that is the United States – his parents, Frank Marshall Davis, Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, academia, ACORN, ad infinitum, and by extension, Alinsky. His resume is one of political activism against the economy that he sees as unjust. He is hell bent upon destroying that system. He has found fertile ground in that progressives have spent the past century eroding the foundation of liberty one nibble at a time. He has found fertile ground in a gathering of statists in Washington that have grown complacent in their elected offices. He has found fertile ground in a populace that is more interested in the sexual orientation of the winner of American Idol than the fact that their neighbor just had his profitable General Motors franchise taken away from him without recourse, without remuneration, and given to the dealership across the street.

We have strayed so very far that I am deeply worried that we will never recover. The rule of law means nothing if you are on the opposite side of the argument from the government. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and all of the collective writings of the founders were an attempt to avoid a situation just as we are experiencing right now.

So, Mr. Huster, you’re the political philosopher/barrister here, under what specific and enumerated powers is Mr. Obama authorized to act in the many and varied things (a tsunami is a better description) that he has done in the past six months?

June 13, 2009 @ 2:18 pm #

Turfman and Phil,

Leaving aside the wisdom of the Obama administration’s actions, or his motivations, the president’s power to act is not limited to enumerated powers.

The key case about assertion of executive power was Youngstown Steel & Tube Company v. Sawyer. That case concerned President Harry S. Truman’s seizure of steel mills in 1952. Truman wanted to prevent a strike during the Korean War. The court blocked the seizure.

In the opinion, Judge Jackson explained that when the president acts pursuant to an express or implied congressional authorization, his power is at its zenith. When he acts contrary to congressional authorization, his power is at its minimum. Where congress hasn’t spoken one way or another . . . (Jackson didn’t say).

The court blocked the seizure, not because it was unconstitutional, but because it was illegal pursuant to federal law governing collective bargaining. I believe, but have not been following the issue closely, that Obama officials are claiming that they are acting under the authority of the TARP legislation passed last year. If that is so, Obama is on firm constitutional ground (although the Youngstown case was a plurality decision and Judge Jackson’s holding is not binding law, it is the definitive judicial statement on the issue). I didn’t read the TARP legislation, so I don’t know what it authorizes. But even if it doesn’t authorize the administration buying a car company, its probably constitutional.

So that brings us back to your beliefs that Obama’s actions are both unconstitutional and/or illegal. Any citations?

June 13, 2009 @ 8:46 pm #

I am surprised that Mr. Hester brings up the case of Youngstown as it was a major setback for Truman as he sought to settle what he thought to be a union strike that would cause great harm during armed conflict. SCOTUS moved to limit the powers of the executive here as contrasted with our situation in the present where this administration seems content to do anything it sees fit without any consideration for limitations on its powers.

I too understand that the administration looks to TARP as its mandate to act in this matter. I have also read what I consider to be compelling arguments that TARP itself is an unconstitutional act in that it delegates legislative authority to the executive branch.

I suspect that should Mr. Obama been President in 1809 he would never have gotten away with what he is attempting to do today. I am certain that he would have been rebuked strongly by the actual authors of the Constitution.

Like Mr. Hester, I have not read TARP. As with the stimulus bill, I suspect that many of the legislators that voted for it did not read it either.

My citation is Article I, Section 10 as originally applied before the New Deal. My view is that the blindness to the unconstitutionality of what is occurring today is a result of 70 plus years of incremental progressive erosion of the centrality of our Constitution in the conduct of affairs in government today. So much of the settled case law that marches away from original intent is so calcified, so entrenched, so mired in precedent it will never be swept away.

Let me pose a question to those who agree with original intent. When did it dawn on you that the government was not following its own rules? I’ll wager it was not in High School history class and it certainly wasn’t when you were wearing a Che tee shirt on a college campus.

A living Constitution was not what was written, but it is what has been bequeathed to us.

June 13, 2009 @ 9:49 pm #

When the drafters of the Bill of Rights wrote “due process” and “cruel and unusual punishment,” how did they want us to apply these terms? Did they want us to look back to their opinions as to what they thought constituted due process or cruel and unusual punishments, or did they want us to apply the ideas as we understand them 230 years later?

Consider the following example. I am a settling a trust that will provide for my grandchildren. I want to provide them with an incentive to keep themselves healthy, so I instruct the trustee that he may not make distributions unless the beneficiaries “eat a healthy diet.”

50 years go by, and we’ve now learned many things about nutrition. We know that what was thought to be a healthy diet when the trust was settled 50 years ago is actually a very unhealthy diet.

The question is, as the trustee, how do I interpret the “healthy diet” provision?

“Healthy diet” still means the same thing (a diet that contributes to health and long life), but our conception of what constitutes a healthy diet is now very different.

The original intent people seem to think the correct way to interpret the “healthy diet provision” is to look back to what the trust settlor thought you should eat. But that is crazy. Doing that would frustrate the settlor’s obvious purpose.

The only rational approach would be to make sure that the basic idea of the language hadn’t changed, and then apply that idea to the facts as we understand them now.

That’s all proponents of the living constitution are proposing. The “evolving standards of decency” embodies that basic idea. “Due process” means precisely the same thing as it did 230 years ago. But we’ve come to believe that it requires more of us than we once understood.

What’s wrong with that?

Joe H.

June 14, 2009 @ 5:50 am #

I believe deeply that the framers wanted us to interpret the Constitution exactly as they wrote it. I believe that is one of the reasons why so much time and attention was given to writing the Federalist Papers; guidance and insight separate and apart from the actual document have proven invaluable through the ages as the authors put forth their arguments for ratification. Further cementing my point is that the framers gave us the means by which to amend the document if ever we found it wanting. The concept that we have a living Constitution that can be informally malleable to suit the whims of a ‘wise latina’, for example, as she dispenses justice and the formal mechanism of amendment are incompatible.

Mr. Hester answers his first two questions quite to my satisfaction: due process means the same as it did two centuries ago and that evolving standards of decency is fine when passing judgement upon cruel and unusual punishment. However, those who practice the concept of a living Constitution would use this argument of evolving standards not to ensure that the punishment is not cruel, but rather to eliminate the punishment all together. For example, a person who is anti-death penalty is not interested in the means of execution, but rather that punishment is meted out at all. All executions to them are an affront to justice therefore all are cruel and unusual. They are not interested in eschewing drawing and quartering in lieu of lethal injection. Ironically, the same people that picket the prison for a midnight execution don’t get a lot of rest before they have to show up at an abortion rights demonstration in the morning – but I digress…

Mr. Hester’s example of his grandchildren’s trust is a fantastic metaphor for a tyrannical government. He seeks to limit the liberty of his grandchildren to conduct their lives as they see fit with the consequence of being cut from his treasure if they spend too much time at McDonalds in between texting their friends and playing x-box. Of course we want our children to healthy but is it not the job of the parent to teach the child good eating habits? Is little Joe Hester, III better served by him mom making sure that he eats his peas and carrots, or is he better served by the spectre of his grandfather’s tyranny if he thinks his grandson is too fat. What is too fat anyway? Who is to decide such a thing? Wouldn’t Joe III be better served in this scenario by a trust that relied upon concrete limits in the use of the funds, such as he can’t access it until he is thirty?

That brings me back to my original premise, that the Constitution exists to limit government, to keep government from being the primary focus of people’s lives, a document that is intended to enumerate and guarantee rights, to ensure that government is kept connected yet is local in its focus.

This is plainly not the view shared by the current occupant of the White House. He is interested in gathering as much power over his subjects as he can muster as he rules our nation. My words are not accidental, I firmly believe that he views himself as a ruler, not as a leader. His actions speak of a hunger for power at the expense of other branches of government and other levels of government. “I won” is the mantra of this man.

June 14, 2009 @ 8:59 am #

In the opinion, Judge Jackson explained that when the president acts pursuant to an express or implied congressional authorization, his power is at its zenith. When he acts contrary to congressional authorization, his power is at its minimum.

This illustrates the point I made in response to Joe’s initial challenge. If you’ll recall, I said the President was not authorized to interfere in the workings of private corporations without an act of Congress.

Joe, I’m on vacation and it’s been some 30+ years since I invaded a law library and hunted down precedent, so I don’t know whether I’ll be able to meet your challenge. However, I’ll try to take a gander at Youngstown Sheet & Tube; it’s been a few years since I read it last.

June 14, 2009 @ 12:03 pm #

Turfman,

I could do without the “Mr. Hester” references. My name is Joe Huster. You can call me Joe, or Mr. Huster.

Thanks,

Joe

June 14, 2009 @ 4:11 pm #

My apologies for misspelling your name, it was inadvertent.

Now that you mention it, you may wish to reexamine how I refer to myself.

By the way, is someone reading our conversation here?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061203379.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns

A tip of the hat to you.

June 15, 2009 @ 7:58 pm #

The only rational approach would be to make sure that the basic idea of the language hadn’t changed, and then apply that idea to the facts as we understand them now.

That’s all proponents of the living constitution are proposing. The “evolving standards of decency” embodies that basic idea.

Really? So, why do they keep inventing new rights that are not even implied, and for which no reasonable analogy can possibly produce a rational connection?

Face it, Joe: there is NOTHING — not anything close, or even within light years — in the Constitution guaranteeing a right to any particular brand of sex. There is NOTHING in the Constitution guaranteeing a right to abortions. There is NOTHING in the Constitution guaranteeing any particular marriage rules. Those matters were clearly left to the states. It does not matter if standards of decency have evolved; the Constitution clearly and unequivocally left the application of standards to state and local governments, so ANY application of those from the federal level constitutes a rupturing of Constitutional bounds.

Furthermore, it’s quite obviously the case in all of the instances mentioned above that standards of decency had NOT evolved — not to the extent the Court made them go. On the contrary, the Court’s decision in Roe, Lawrence, and the various state court decisions regarding gay “marriage” are all clear attempts to FORCE the culture’s standards of decency to change.

The Court does not reflect the standards of the community, and in our Constitutional system, it is not meant to. The governmental organ that reflects the standards of the community is the legislature. The Court in all these cases was attempting to CORRECT the standard of the community, because it sees itself as the judge of the community standard — it’s above the community, sitting as judge.

The Constitutional model requires that the Court remain simply the interpreter of law. What is occurring in the instances I named above is a clear violation of Constitutional boundaries, but more to the point, they are NOTHING like what Joe insists they are. They are, instead, unconstitutional attempts to force the culture to adopt standards that progressives have failed to pass through the appropriate Constitutional organ, the legislature.

June 16, 2009 @ 1:08 pm #

Hey, I thought you were on vacation!
:)

Turfmann, you missed the point of my “healthy diet example.” It was not to endorse paternalistic control on the part of trust settlors. It was to show that language is “alive” in the way the scholars who favor a “living constitution” claim it to be. For that purpose, I think it is a good example.

Phil,

The right to “privacy,” particularly in the sense of the “right to be left alone,” is a concept embedded within the idea of liberty. If I’m trying to make a decsion with my wife and a friend tries to give me advice, I might say to him, “look, this is a private matter that doesn’t concern you.” In using the term “private,” I’m asserting my right to be free from external interference in making my decision – which is a derivative of personal liberty. And protections of liberty from government interference most clearly are in the constitution.

So, your formulation of your conclusions (no right to an abortion in the constitution, no right to a particular type of sex in the constitution) ignore the argument your constitutional opponents make. They say that the 5th and 14th Amendments create a zone of privacy – the right to non-interference against the government – such that the government can’t interfere with (or prohibit) my conduct without good reason. And the more fundamental the liberty at stake, the better the government’s reason for interfering has to be!

Where I think social conservatives truly disagree with the courts on these issues is that they think the government had good reasons to prohibit contraceptives, abortions and (what they call) sexual deviancy. They think the courts ingorned these reasons and imposed their own moral opinions on the nation. Perhaps they did. But the court did not invent any new rights in protecting a woman’s ability to obtain contraceptives, have an abortion, or for gays to engage in private sexual intercourse. It simply applied the enumerated right of individual liberty to a particular prohibition.

I do agree that “the evolving standards of decency” principle that the courts rely upon is often ahead of public sentiment. But usually not too far ahead – abortion may be the big exception. For example, by the time the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia (overturing all state laws prohibiting interracial marriage) the majority of Americans still opposed interracial marriage. But that quickly changed. Sometimes Court activism is a good thing.

Joe H.

June 16, 2009 @ 1:50 pm #

Hey, I thought you were on vacation!

Laptop, wifi, lots of spare time… you get the idea.

I was traveling Saturday, and busy all day Sunday, and traveling again Monday… but now I’m at my in-laws’ place, with nothing but time on my hands until the weekend.

June 16, 2009 @ 3:03 pm #

Joe,

Lots of things to say here, but… hey, I’m on vacation. :)

You’ll be surprised, perhaps, to learn that I basically agree that a right to privacy does exist along the lines you suggest, and always has. However, it’s a double-edged sword. If the government needs an exceedingly good reason to restrict access to abortions, it needs just as good a reason to take over your private company, tell you what sort of automobile you can buy, or restrict your choices in any way, all for the same reason. I don’t think I’m alone in assessing the Court’s decision in Roe invalidating virtually all state laws existing at the time as poor legal reasoning; I think states have excellent reasons to restrict access to abortions, and I think the Court was wrong to take the matter out of their hands. And none of your discussion really excuses the Court venturing into arenas that the Constitution assigns to the legislature; the Court’s job is to apply the law, it’s the only the legislature that need concern itself with the drift of social convention.

In an earlier comment, you mentioned the 14th amendment (suggesting, iirc, that maybe I wasn’t aware of it). The application of the 14th amendment has always troubled me. I understand why they did it, but in effect it turned the Constitution inside out; instead of the Bill of Rights anchoring the liberties of free citizens, it became the means by which the national government began asserting control over the states. At first, this was done only on basic items, but as time has gone on, the value of limited federalism has more or less vanished, and the federal government has become increasingly dominant.

Your comment about Loving v Virginia fits here. Yes, sometimes court activism produces an effect we all agree is beneficial; but it’s always at the expense of liberty. Until the mid-20th century, the general assessment seemed to have been that liberty is worth the price of the moral failures of individual states. That assessment seems to have been reversed sometime during the 1950s; people decided that extinguishing those particular moral failings was worth the cost to liberty, and didn’t mind the Court making limited federalism a quaint historical oddity. Thus we got Loving, then Brown, and then the Civil Rights Act. But we lost a lot of liberty, and the ensuing flood of federal activism has truly eviscerated the republic.

This is why I’ve been talking about the intent of the framers in this conversation. I do understand that things change, and I know more about how and when than you seem to think I do. However, my agreement with the construct of the nation is with the intentions of the original immigrants here. I go along with changes in the manner Jefferson suggests in the Declaration: “…mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” The 14th amendment altered the structure I felt was the right one, a little. The New Deal altered it a great deal more. But what President Obama is doing is so far from it that I can’t lend my consent. I was content to live under Democrats or Republicans, so long as they felt constrained by the basic tenets of the nation. Obama does not seem so constrained; and I cannot simply accept the turning of the United States into the rough equivalent of the now-defunct Soviet Union. It’s too far from what I believed in and agreed to. So whether you can convince me that the President might actually win a Constitutional challenge against his auto manufacturing venture on the basis of the TARP law — and I have very strong doubts about this — it remains nonetheless that his approach is so far from the original conception that I’m forced to consider how I might “provide new guards for my future security.”

June 19, 2009 @ 12:35 pm #

Phil,

It sure is easy to tell when you’re writing from vacation, as opposed to when in the heat of it all : )

You said: “I don’t think I’m alone in assessing the Court’s decision in Roe invalidating virtually all state laws existing at the time as poor legal reasoning; I think states have excellent reasons to restrict access to abortions, and I think the Court was wrong to take the matter out of their hands.”

You are not alone, and that’s not restricted to conservatives. You probably know already that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has called Roe “heavy-handed judicial intervention.”

(Thanks to Politico.com for the quote).

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