Constitutional Emergency

By Nancy Salvato, Senior Editor of The New Media Journal
March 23, 2009

The definition of a citizen is one who is ruled and can rule in turn. We must have the capacity for both under the law. All citizens must be able to take the following oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

Sadly, in today’s day and age, those elected to our legislature do not have to understand the law to represent their electors. Consequently, this Congress has proven to be the most constitutionally illiterate group of people ever elected to office.

To begin, one of the most difficult things to do is to enact a bill into law. The system of checks and balances was designed by the Founders and Framers to slow things down. They wanted creating and debating legislation to be a cumbersome process. Hamilton appealed to the people of New York,

“The legislature will not be infallible; ...the love of power may sometimes betray it into a disposition to encroach upon the rights of other members of the government; that a spirit of faction may sometimes pervert its deliberations; that impressions of the moment may sometimes hurry it into measures which itself, on maturer reflexion, would condemn. The primary inducement to conferring the [veto] power in question upon the Executive is, to enable him to defend himself; the secondary one is to increase the chances in favor of the community against the passing of bad laws, through haste, inadvertence, or design. The oftener the measure is brought under examination, the greater the diversity in the situations of those who are to examine it, the less must be the danger of those errors which flow from want of due deliberation, or of those missteps which proceed from the contagion of some common passion or interest. It is far less probable, that culpable views of any kind should infect all the parts of the government at the same moment and in relation to the same object, than that they should by turns govern and mislead every one of them.

“It may perhaps be said that the power of preventing bad laws includes that of preventing good ones; and may be used to the one purpose as well as to the other. But this objection will have little weight with those who can properly estimate the mischiefs of that inconstancy and mutability in the laws, which form the greatest blemish in the character and genius of our governments. They will consider every institution calculated to restrain the excess of law-making, and to keep things in the same state in which they happen to be at any given period, as much more likely to do good than harm; because it is favorable to greater stability in the system of legislation. The injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws, will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing a number of bad ones.” – Federalist Paper #73

Yet, despite such an admonition -which holds as true today as it did when the U.S. Constitution was written- President Obama advised our country that if we do not act immediately to pass the stimulus bill, “Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis, that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.” Rep Nancy Pelosi, a progressive leftist from CA, is quoted on Jan 8, 2009 as saying, “We must have a bill signed into law by the middle of February. Our economy requires it. The American people need it desperately.”

The $787 billion Stimulus Bill, passed quickly, before members of Congress had time to even read the entire text of the legislation, allowed some of the beneficiaries to hand out bonuses to their top executives. In reaction to the fury of the constituents, Congress set about enacting more hastily drawn up legislation to punish the beneficiaries of such bonuses.

“The Senate plans to vote next week on steep levies on employee bonuses after the House overwhelmingly approved a 90 percent tax on bonuses at American International Group Inc. and other companies receiving bailout funds.” – Bloomberg.com

Herein lays the problem. Congress, in acting with haste, is passing poorly written law without thinking through the consequences of their actions. In The Constitution of Liberty, F. A. Hayek writes that if individuals know the law, they can base their actions upon established rules and that true law provides the general rules. Legislative enactments which do not satisfy these criteria are objectionable. The law must be general, known and certain, and apply equally to all. A necessary condition for the law to be known and certain is a prohibition on ex post facto laws. The Cato Journal The U.S. Constitution forbids Congress from passing an ex post facto law, i.e. a law passed after the occurrence of an event or action which retrospectively changes the legal consequences of the event or action.

Worse, this particular law singles out a specific group of people. A legislative act (Bill of Pains and Penalties) that singles out one or more persons and imposes punishment on them without benefit of trial was regarded as “odious” by the framers of the Constitution. It was the role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment.

Now, the House, the Senate and the Treasury Department are blaming each other for allowing this loophole. As “We the People” witness the unfolding saga of the bonuses, stimulus money is being put to use in programs long championed by the liberal elements of Congress and which have nothing to do with directly stimulating the economy. Congress is confiscating and redistributing our hard earned money as we watch stunned and amazed at what has transpired in President Obama’s first 59 days of office. It is our civic responsibility to put an end to this nonsense. We have 592 days until the 2010 midterm elections.

When will you add your elected officials’ telephone numbers to your speed dial list?

SEE YOU AT A TEA PARTY

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Thanks Twana!
That puts forth what is wrong more forcefully than I could and have tried to express.
I hope things turn around. People are fed up with the spending and blaming.
They need to be made to read the Constitution (I wonder how many have) before they are sworn in. Maybe a test also?
Jim
There hasn't been much legislation that has been constitutional for many years, and the general population has been lulled into complacency. I have had many conversations (monologs, actually) with really bright individuals who have been educated and earned degrees in many disciplines. They can talk about many things, but when you mention politics, the constitution, republic vs democracy, etc... their eyes glaze over and they get that "deer in head lights" look. Sadly, they can tell you who was voted off American Idol , but not who is Vice President. I think we need to find those who do understand, who have the passion for public service and work to get them elected. There are enough of us who "get it" that we could surely be a force to be reckoned with; a special interest group who's interest is the constitution and restoration of our republic. Time is short, and 2010 looms; we need to be finding suitable patriots who reflect our principles and values and get behind them. That will be our chance to peacefully change the direction our beloved country is heading in, and return our Nation to "We the People" again.
Funny, but I had added the white house and senate and reps about 1 month ago and call regularly. It is on speed dial and when I get the urge, I call them up and ask that they receive my messages. I think they are starting to recognize my voice. lol That could be good or it could be bad. But my heart is in the right place. FREEDOM!
Nancy packs so much reality in a few paragraphs...so much wisdom if only we could inject a double dose into the veins of congress.

I offered a few comments at a Tea Party on Saturday with my Congressional Representative Jeff Miller, a conservative, sitting on the front row...I think he received a message when I reminded the audience, among other things, that 2010 must result in a wholesale removal of members of Congress....their roar of approval was tangible evidence of general disgust with congressional leadership...the message to Miller was stand up, "work harder" for Constitutional restoration.
Just words to ob!
This is EXACTLY what the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress leveled at George W. Bush when they talk about the Iraq war and the "weapons of mass destruction". They say he acted hastily on bad intelligence, and prosecuted an unjust war. Obama has hastily pursued an unjust fiscal policy that is going to bankrupt generations to come, and he didn't even have an event like 9/11/01 to base his decision on. He is Chicken Little, and the sky is falling on him and his feathered friends,
This Democrat (Byron Dorgan) gets it. Good for him, good for us. Now if we can get the rest of the pack in Congress to practice reason, logic, and common sense, we'll be able to see some progress.
Howdy.
just my two cents worth.
id say MOST of the members of congress/senate have NEVER read the Constitution.
and if you listen to some of them speak, one would question if they can even READ..
when people run for office MOST are self serving, and as an example, 99% didnt even read what was in the STEMILUS BILL..
and if the govt was run like a Business, 99% of congress/senate would have been FIRED for BANKRUPTING the govt.
the tax payers money that has been PISSED AWAY for the last hundred years is DISGUSTING.
and id say with the exception of RON PAUL, all the rest of congress/senate are UNQUALIFIED to be in office.
Jim.
That is a great article. Those of you who do not subscribe to The New Media Journal should do so because it is loaded with great stuff like this, every day, that most of America remain blissfully ignorant to because the MSM is "on board" with the progressive movement of national enslavement.
The process in which the 111th Congress as well as the President and his Administration has operated thus far is in effect "Legislative Malpractice".

Now I'm no scholar and i'm not educated in Federal law, but if there is anyone on this site that is, isn't there someway, somehow, that we can file suit as "We the People" as defined by our Constitution, with the Supreme court to in effect freeze the rampant abuse of power our so-called governing body is using to operate? Afterall. EVERY ONE OF THEM including the Supreme Court Justices took the oath to defend ( or in effect uphold ) the Constitution.

Or do we just have to storm the White House and Capital hill and physically throw the bums out? That actually sounds like fun to me. I'd love to chunk Barney Franks fat ass down the steps of the Capital.
Well said, I hope that people in America stand up for what is right and don't back down to what is wrong. For all in Congress and the House and mostly THE WHITE HOUSE, to push these bills threw so fast and us not even given a chance to read them, They voted on something that they had not even read. I am proud of the ones that voted NO.
YES , IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE, IT IS TIME TO CHANGE WASHINGTON D.C., AND THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA NEEDS TO MAKE THE CHANGE IN EACH STATE OF THE UNION.
"GOD" BUILT THIS COUNTRY, WITH THE BLOOD AND SWEAT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND ALL THE LIBERALS HAVE DONE THIER VERY BEST TO REMOVE "GOD" FROM EVERYTHING IN AMERICA.

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