Skip to comments.Can Obama Conquer the Supreme Court
Posted on 04/08/2012 8:08:08 AM PDT by Kaslin
Quick – can you guess who I’m describing here?
He campaigned against financial mismanagement, and the “harsh realities” of global capitalism. He pledged during his campaign to end corruption in both the government and the private sector.
After being elected President, he claimed that he had “inherited” the worst economic situation in recent history and then went about consolidating his power. Once privately-owned enterprises were “restructured” into government owned entities, some even organized into workers’ cooperatives.
Unemployment remained painfully high, even as the much-celebrated “reform” measures were being implemented. As private sector workers suffered with worsening economic conditions, government employees enjoyed the comforts of steady work and benefits while the President and other policy makers sought increasing control over the nation’s privately-owned wealth.
Does this seem like a description of the Obama Presidency? Certainly this depicts, at least in part, what we’ve experienced in the U.S. since the earliest days of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.
But - believe it or not - this is actually a description of the ascendency of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In fact, you could call this a “textbook case.” I’ve paraphrased a bit for the sake of column space, but this description of Chavez appears in “International Business: Competing In The Global Marketplace,” a text book currently used among M.B.A. students at many of America’s top graduate business schools.
Chavez became the democratically elected President of Venezuela in 1998, a decade before Barack Obama was elected to be our President. And the reason Chavez has been able to morph in to a dictator – he has successfully seized control over privately owned banks, tv stations, farms and gold holdings, to name a few items – and the reason he is still in power today, is because the first thing he did after taking office in 1999 was to substantively change his country’s constitution and re-arrange the nation’s judiciary.
The fact that one man could so quickly seize control of the entire country of Venezuela, probably speaks to some relative weaknesses in that nation’s constitution. And the fact that no U.S. President – not even Barack Obama – has seized this type of control over America, speaks to the relative strengths of both our U.S. Constitution itself, and the separation of powers among our three branches of government that are stipulated by our Constitution.
With so much of our individual liberty resting on the foundation of the U.S. Constitution – and yet with most of human history having been littered with not-so-benevolent dictators like Chavez – we should both expect that powerful leaders will want to overreach in to our lives, and be vigilant to call fowl when they do. Unfortunately, it seems that most Americans are shocked by President Barack Obama’s contemptuous remarks about the Supreme Court last week, as the court review his signature “healthcare reform” law. Worse still, it seems that very few Americans recognize the President’s behavior is problematic.
Of course, President Obama is not the first White House occupant to desire more power than the Constitution allows. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, angered when the Supreme Court overturned some of his “new deal” (read “big government”) programs that he believed were unquestionably necessary to save the country, famously began maligning the Justices of the Supreme Court, publicly labeling them the “9 Old Men.” And as a means of overcoming the “separation of powers” obstacle, he proposed to “reform” that old, antiquated Supreme Court system by adding up to six new justices – justices that he could select and appoint!
Of course, FDR didn’t get his way. The Congress rejected his court reform legislative proposal, and the American people took a dim view of Roosevelt trying to circumvent the Constitution.
But that was the America of 1937. Today, it’s not difficult to imagine that President Obama could curry the favor of millions of Americans, if he chose to campaign against the Justices who may vote to overturn his all-important “Obamacare” law.
Who would stand with Obama in this type of Constitution-bending effort? Start with the entire AFL-CIO. Then add the entire “occupy” movement, and the burgeoning “99% Spring” uprising, and the prevailing powers of the Democrat Party. Put them all together, and you’ve got a critical mass of Americans who neither care nor understand a wit about history, “limited government,” the U.S Constitution, or the Separation of Powers. They want “stuff” – “free” healthcare, education, or whatever – and they want raw power in Washington to deliver that stuff, and to do so by whatever means.
“9 old men.” That pejorative description wouldn’t apply with the makeup of today’s Supreme Court. But we should all prepare for President Obama to take direct aim at, say, 5 or 6 “old” white men – men who are too strictly adhering to an old Constitution that was written by old white men – should the Supreme Court dare to think differently about the President’s healthcare reform law. And the President’s party won’t dare to question this tactic. But who will?
DHS ordering 450,000,000 rounds of handgun ammo over a five year contract does not seem out of line.
216,000 employees amounts to about 400 rounds per year, per employee. I would hope they would use up more than that on the practice range. I do.
I don't think the department should exist at all, but in light of the fact they do, these numbers don't really cause me any alarm as they do not seem unreasonable.
Obama would not have done this if he thought that Obamacare was going to be upheld. The good news is that he seems to be backing down.
A more important point is that whoever is elected President in 2012 will be making Supreme Court appointments. Four of the justices will be over 70 y/o and two of them will be from the conservative, Constitutionalist faction.
The writer's concluding premise seems to be that, unlike 1937, citizens of 2012 might be open to a frontal attack on what the Framers of the Constitution believed to be an essential branch of their government--the Supreme Court.
In order to understand why that might be so, we might review how so-called "progressives" have worked diligently over the past several decades, since 1937, to "change" "the People's" concept of their Constitution. Before this president, or anyone else, attempts such an attack on the Founders' chosen branch for judicial review, citizens might want to examine the danger to their freedom such a dictatorial position presents.
A commonly-used ruse has been deliberate misrepresentations by prominent jurists and law school professors of the Constitution's own provisions for amendment contained in Article V.
This "People's" Constitution--intended to be the people's "chain" (Jefferson) to bind representatives in government--never was intended to be "changed" except by a laborious process involving "the People" themselves.
Using the phrase "a living constitution," "progressives" superimpose their own wishes by claiming, as now-Justicee Sotamayor did at Duke, that "appeals courts are where policy is made," or that Her thinking likely stems from having been schooled in the "living constitution" theory.
A 1980's essay by Dr. Walter Bern is quoted, with permission below. Dr. Bern recounts the history of the "living constitution" idea and exposes some of the myths and fallacies associated with it, while, at the same time, citing the Founders' insistence upon the Constitution's own prescribed method of amendment requiring "the People's" assent and participation.
"Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon them collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption or even knowledge of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives [the executive, judiciary, or legislature]; in a departure from it prior to such an act." - Alexander Hamilton
In the first of the eighty-five "Federalist Papers," Alexander Hamilton emphasized that:
The Framers knew that the passage of time would surely disclose imperfections or inadequacies in the Constitution, but these were to be repaired or remedied by formal amendment, not by legislative action or judicial construction (or reconstruction). Hamilton (in The Federalist No. 78) was emphatic about this:
The Congress, unlike the British Parliament, was not given final authority over the Constitution, which partly explains why the judicial authority was lodged in a separate and independent branch of government. In Britain the supreme judicial authority is exercised by a committee of the House of Lords, which is appropriate in a system of parliamentary supremacy, but, although it was suggested they do so, the Framers refused to follow the British example.
The American system is one of constitutional supremacy, which means that sovereignty resides in the people, not in the King-in-Parliament; and the idea that the Constitution may be changed by an act of the legislature--even an act subsequently authorized by the judiciary--is simply incompatible with the natural right of the people to determine how (and even whether) they shall be governed.
Unlike in Britain where, formally at least, the queen rules by the grace of God (Dei gratia regina), American government rests on the consent of the people; and, according to natural right, the consent must be given formally. In fact, it must be given in a written compact entered into by the people. Here is Madison on the compacts underlying American government:
Neither civil society (or as Madison puts it, "the people in their social state') nor government exists by nature. By nature everyone is sovereign with respect to himself, free to do whatever in his judgment is necessary to preserve his own life - or, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, everyone is endowed by nature with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of a happiness that he defines for himself. Civil society is an artificial person (constituted by the first of the compacts), and it is civil society that institutes and empowers government. So it was that they became "the People of the United