One of the biggest political changes that 2011 brought — in large part due to the tea parties and their effect on the 2010 election — is the centrality of the Constitution to our public discourse. Lawmakers and citizens no longer consider simply whether a given bill or policy proposal is a good idea but whether it is constitutional. “Where does the government get the power to do that?” is often critics’ rallying cry.
As the federal government works tirelessly to reduce state governments to nothing more than administrative units of the central authority, there are a handful of lawmakers who understand the proper limited role of the federal government and are working to decentralize power and restore states to their proper preeminence.
Jeffrey Rosen is bullish on the Constitution: “I have some optimism that Constitutional discussions can lessen the political polarization we see today,” the recently appointed president and CEO of the National Constitution Center said in an interview with The Hill.
Forty Republican members of Congress have filed an amicus brief in a federal appeals court that will hear a constitutional challenge to Obamacare, Roll Call reported Tuesday.
Ted Cruz, a constitutional scholar as well as U.S. senator from Texas, thinks he has figured out what the administration is up to. “Find any nation in the world,” he says, “negotiate a treaty agreeing to do what you couldn’t do otherwise, and if the Senate ratifies it — and by the way that means you can cut the House of Representatives out of everything — then suddenly the federal government has authority it didn’t have before.” Essentially, the case could turn the whole of the founding document into a dead letter.
Instead of going through the arduous process of amending the Constitution, the president and the Senate can expand the federal government's powers by agreeing to treaties. If the power to regulate interstate commerce cannot be stretched to accommodate a federal ban on possessing guns near schools or a mandate requiring everyone to buy government-approved medical coverage, a treaty dealing with firearms or health care will do the trick.
The Obamacare penalty is either an Affordable Care fine or tax depending on who you ask. And the Obamacare constitutional debate over the individual mandate has resumed with the 2013 government shutdown and the opening of the Obamacare exchanges.
The Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, but don’t try to pass out copies of it at Modesto Junior College in California. A student at the school who tried to pass out pocket-size pamphlets of the very document that memorializes our rights got shut down on Sept. 17 – a date also known as Constitution Day.
Today marks the 226th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States, and with each passing year, we seem to become more ignorant of its contents and intent. The fact that the subject of Civics has given way to more “politically correct” subjects in our public school curricula may be one of the root causes of the problem, but there is no excuse for our 537 federally-elected officials to be unfamiliar with its substance.
Despite the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that Texas was no longer required to get preclearance from the federal government before making any changes to its voting laws, the Obama administration is suing the state to stop its new voter identification laws.
It’s official, every single American can now be classified as a terrorist by the US government. The label of ‘terrorist’ no longer applies to members of al-Qaeda of ‘extremists’, but the average citizen of this nation. And I can show you how literally 100% of the population can be classified as a terrorist under the truly outrageous Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI characteristics that define a terrorist or terrorist activity. These broad qualifications of ‘terrorism’ that have spawned a new wave of absolute paranoia within the population regarding their fellow citizens, who the nightly news says may be sleeper cell terrorists.
The FBI is unhappy that there are communications technologies that it cannot intercept, and wants a new requirement that software makers and communications companies create a back door so they can listen in when they want.