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.
Published April 02, 2012 | FoxNews.com/AP
President Obama, employing his strongest language to date on the Supreme Court review of the federal health care overhaul, cautioned the court Monday against overturning the law -- while repeatedly saying he's "confident" it will be upheld.
"I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Obama said.
The Supreme Court spent three days hearing arguments last week in four separate challenges to the health care law, which stands as the president's signature domestic policy accomplishment. A central challenge was over the individual mandate -- the requirement that Americans buy health insurance. Critics say the mandate is unconstitutional, and that the federal government cannot force people into the insurance marketplace.
----------------- ------------------- --------------
Published April 03, 2012 | FoxNews.com
A federal appeals court is striking back after President Obama cautioned the Supreme Court against overturning the health care overhaul and warned that such an act would be "unprecedented."
A three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to explain by Thursday whether the administration believes judges have the power to strike down a federal law.
------------ ------------------------ -------------------------------
Published April 05, 2012 | FoxNews.com
Attorney General Eric Holder assured a federal appeals court Thursday that the Obama administration believes judges have the authority to overturn federal laws, after President Obama's comments earlier this week raised concerns from the bench about his view of judicial power.
Holder, in a three-page letter to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, said "the power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute," though it should only be exercised in "appropriate cases." He also claimed laws passed by Congress are "presumptively constitutional."
Obama reiterated his stance on Tuesday, saying the court has traditionally shown "deference" to Congress and that "the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this."
President and Congress-persons who mandated commerce vs. The Constitution
Federalist 42; James Madison
The powers included in the third class are those which provide for the harmony and proper intercourse among the States.
The defect of power in the existing Confederacy to regulate the commerce between its several members, is in the number of those which have been clearly pointed out by experience. To the proofs and remarks which former papers have brought into view on this subject, it may be added that without this supplemental provision, the great and essential power of regulating foreign commerce would have been incomplete and ineffectual. A very material object of this power was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter. Were these at liberty to regulate the trade between State and State, it must be foreseen that ways would be found out to load the articles of import and export, during the passage through their jurisdiction, with duties which would fall on the makers of the latter and the consumers of the former. We may be assured by past experience, that such a practice would be introduced by future contrivances; and both by that and a common knowledge of human affairs, that it would nourish unceasing animosities, and not improbably terminate in serious interruptions of the public tranquillity. To those who do not view the question through the medium of passion or of interest, the desire of the commercial States to collect, in any form, an indirect revenue from their uncommercial neighbors, must appear not less impolitic than it is unfair; since it would stimulate the injured party, by resentment as well as interest, to resort to less convenient channels for their foreign trade. But the mild voice of reason, pleading the cause of an enlarged and permanent interest, is but too often drowned, before public bodies as well as individuals, by the clamors of an impatient avidity for immediate and immoderate gain.
US Constitution; Article I Section 8 - Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
We the People:
According James Madison’s writings above, federal authority to regulate interstate commerce pertains to state governments. For example, because of the commerce clause, states are prohibited from imposing tariffs on products that pass through from other states. However it does not specifically authorize regulation of private companies. The commerce clause is therefore a bogus rationalization for the health care premium mandate.
What justification remains for Congress? Attorney General Holder referenced the other enumerated powers of Article I section 8. Can you see where Congress is empowered to require any purchase? If not, then Congress is blocked by the 10th amendment. Mr. Holder also claimed that Congressional acts are "presumptively constitutional". Do you recall former house speaker Pelosi’s response about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care act? She said; "Are you kidding? Are you kidding”? Congress has too often abused this presumption, and therefore deserves to lose it.
The Administration has demonstrated that it will attempt to intimidate anyone, any group, and any agency or religion that challenges its edicts. Notwithstanding this exchange, would President Obama have accepted the court’s authority if 2012 was not an election year? Given his brazen assertion that the court bears the burden of proof when overturning a law, it is debatable.
The Sons of Liberty set the precedent by refusing to buy King George III’s tea. As in 1773, we Americans must never allow the federal government to force us to buy something. Have fun at the tea party this weekend; and enjoy your coffee.