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Current Events vs. Founding Documents

This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.

Senator's Responsibility is to Protect His State

Constitution, Legislative branch, 10th amendment, ninth amendment, Federalist Papers

Entry 57 

Current Event

From the Huffington Post, September 3, 2010

One of the most innovative voices in the health care debate, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is accelerating the process of exempting his state from some of the national reforms passed under President Barack Obama.

The Oregon Democrat is seeking to take advantage of a provision he helped write into the legislation that allows states to set up their own health care systems as long as they meet minimal requirements established by the Department of Health and Human Services.  In a letter to the state's Health Authority office, Wyden announced that he will introduce legislation to accelerate the start date for state waivers from 2017 to 2014, if not earlier for Oregon specifically.

In addition, he strongly suggested that the state should use the provision to exempt Oregon from the individual mandate, which would penalize those individuals who refuse to purchase insurance coverage. The mandate was a feature of Wyden's own health care bill but has proved to be remarkably unpopular among voters.

VS

Party loyalty vs. State and Constitutional loyalty

Founding Document

US Constitution; Amendment 9 

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

US Constitution; Amendment 10

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

An excerpt from Federalist Paper 28 by Alexander Hamilton:

It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority. Projects of usurpation cannot be masked under pretenses so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.

Excerpt from Federalist 14 by James Madison:

In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any. The subordinate governments, which can extend their care to all those other subjects which can be separately provided for, will retain their due authority and activity. Were it proposed by the plan of the convention to abolish the governments of the particular States, its adversaries would have some ground for their objection; though it would not be difficult to show that if they were abolished the general government would be compelled, by the principle of self-preservation, to reinstate them in their proper jurisdiction.

We the People:

The Constitution was designed for US Senators to protect their states from unconstitutional legislation before it becomes law.  Now he seeks an exemption?  It is unfortunate that Senator Wyden abdicated that responsibility when he voted for the federal healthcare bill; likewise for Wisconsin’s US Senators.

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