Skip to comments.Americans Are Worrying About the Constitution Again
Posted on 04/02/2012 3:59:13 AM PDT by Kaslin
"I don't worry about the Constitution," said Rep. Phil Hare, Democrat of Illinois, at a town hall meeting where voters questioned his support of the legislation that became Obamacare. You can find the clip on Youtube, where it has 462,084 hits.
That was before the 2010 election, in which Hare, running for a third term in a district designed by Democrats to elect a Democrat, was defeated 53 to 43 percent by Bobby Schilling, proprietor of a pizza parlor in East Moline.
A lot of politicians are worrying about the Constitution these days. Liberal commentators were shocked this past week when in three days of oral argument in the lawsuits challenging Obamacare, five Supreme Court justices -- a majority -- asked questions strongly suggesting they think the legislation is unconstitutional.
And so the Constitution -- and the limits it places on Congress' powers -- is once again part of our politics. And will continue to be, whichever way the Court rules.
For 70 years, since the court in 1942 said the government could limit the amount of wheat farmer Roscoe Filburn could grow on his own land to feed his own animals, it has been generally assumed that the federal government's power to regulate the economy had no limits.
That assumption survived in liberal precincts even though the court in 1995 overturned a law banning guns in schools and in 2000 ruled unconstitutional parts of the Violence Against Women Act.
But the arguments, developed by Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett and others, that it is beyond the powers conferred by the Constitution for Congress to mandate the purchase of a commercial product -- health insurance in Obamacare -- were certainly taken seriously by a majority of Supreme Court justices last week.
And the government's lawyers were unable to answer the questions of both liberal and conservative justices: If Congress can do this, what can't it do?
That question is likely to linger even if the court upholds Obamacare.
For the justices are not the only federal officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution. So do the president and vice president, Cabinet members and other appointees, and every member of Congress. Phil Hare may not have been worried about the Constitution, but his constituents evidently thought he should be.
That means that every federal official has an obligation to act in line with the Constitution as he or she understands it. And that doesn't necessarily mean obeying Supreme Court decisions.
Many constitutional issues never come before the Supreme Court, which only rules on lawsuits. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issues rulings based on the Constitution, which are generally regarded as binding precedents by administrations of different parties, even though cases never go to court.
Presidents of different parties regularly issue signing statements, saying that they will not carry out provisions of laws they sign that they regard as unconstitutional. Barack Obama decried signing statements when he was campaigning, but as president he has issued them himself.
Members of Congress may reasonably regard themselves as bound to vote against measures they conscientiously believe unconstitutional. Barry Goldwater did this when he voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, even though he had integrated his own business many years before, on constitutional grounds.
Goldwater's constitutional argument, predictably, wasn't accepted by the Supreme Court. And his vote gave the Republican Party an unfair reputation for being anti-civil rights. But I think he was entitled to think his oath required him to vote that way.
Clearly the two parties are divided on the constitutionality of the Obamacare mandate. Polls have shown large majorities of voters think the provision is unconstitutional, though one can wonder whether many have given the matter much thought.
But they're certainly giving it more thought after this week and will likely give it more when the decision comes down.
Voters can reasonably ask candidates for Congress their views on this and other constitutional issues and call on them to vote against measures they consider beyond Congress' constitutional powers.
If the Court overturns Obamacare, Obama may be tempted to attack the court. He should beware. In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt, a few months after landslide re-election, proposed to pack the Supreme Court with new appointees.
Gallup polls showed majorities opposed, and in the next election, proponents of FDR's New Deal lost their congressional majorities. Lesson: Most American voters worry about the Constitution.
> Most American voters worry about the Constitution.
That was then.
This is now.
I venture that a majority of Americans either don’t know or don’t care about the Constitution.
The constitution, applied as written, would not only piss off liberals, but would piss off a majority of the so called conservatives. Sacred cows would be gored.
The only way back is to enforce original intent. The first step would be to repeal the 17th amendment.
Not only is Obamacare unconstitutional, it is a gateway to the diminution of all other freedosm we have in the Bill of Rights.
For example, once Obama care gets going they can charge exhorbitant extra risk premiums say, if you have firearms in your house, because they are a “health risk.” Private Insurance is not involved in fascist social engineering. Any ability of government to do that should be curtailed and destroyed.
"I venture that a majority of Americans either dont know or dont care about the Constitution."
It is only true of liberals. Everyone knows that they hate the Constitution and that that most of them don't even know the Constitution.
Probably because many of American's are new American's and don't understand the Constitution. Look at the things happening in this country as pieces of a larger puzzle...put them together and you should make out that we're being destroyed from within. Liberal/progressives want to destroy the Constitution and turn us into a socialist country, Hispanics want to turn USA into Mexico Two, homosexuals want us to accept their lifestyles as normal to under-mind our moral foundation, and radical Muslims want to change, no demand we change our religion to theirs. Let all that happen and what's left?
Ok, agreed, then the first step in accomplishing that must be to get conservative majorities in 3/4 of the state legislatures, correct?
“Let all that happen and what’s left?
...that is what it was put there for.
The liberal attack on the court is already under way. It has become the theme to warn that if obamacare is struck down, the activists who invented the corporate person and who selected George Bush president will be taking away our right to health care.
Who cares about the constitution when the benevolent Feds just want to send “boatloads of money” to the states? /kagan
His "Restoring the Lost Constitution" is superb and should be on every Freeper's bookshelf.
For the Founder's meaning of Necessary and Proper
The vast majority of Americans believe that anything congress passes and the president signs must be okay.
The vast majority of Americans believe we live in a democracy and anything the majority wants is okay
The vast majority of Americans don’t like to think about this stuff because it’s so hard.
Democrats don’t worry about the Constitution it’s why they all voted for Obamacare.
Our system of government was designed to keep all politics local..... your vote for your state representative mattered, because this was the person that would send a senator to washington to represent your state’s interests.....the number of votes needed to appoint a senator varies from state to state... at the time of ratification some states used simple majority, others did not. What people fail to realize is that the house of representatives is the peoples house, and the senate was meant to be the states house. The senate is now the political parties house, kinda like the old soviet union.
“I venture that a majority of Americans either dont know or dont care about the Constitution.”
The 2010 elections suggest otherwise.
What you said.
All I was saying was, in order for the 17th to be repealed, 3/4 of state legislatures would have to be in conservative constitutionalist hands to ratify, because liberals, knowing exactly what you stated, would vote against repeal.
>>That means that every federal official has an obligation to act in line with the Constitution as he or she understands it. And that doesn’t necessarily mean obeying Supreme Court decisions. <<
WRONG, WRONG, A THOUSAND TIMES WRONG!!!!!
It is NOT open to individual interpretation. It is what it is and the Supreme Court was set up to be the final arbiter. If we start messing around with individual interpretation and selective acceptance, be very careful. Not only is the Constitution shredded, but also the rule of law. And that leads to anarchy.
That the Supremes have not made bad decisions (Dred Scott, Roe v. Wade, Kelo, etc.) is a fact. Disobeying those bad decisions is a moral obligation. DeathCare fits the bill since abortion is included.