Skip to comments.Obama blames Founding Fathers’ ‘structural’ design of Congress for gridlock..(Wants Communism)
Posted on 05/23/2014 8:58:39 AM PDT by yoe
President Obama is taking a swipe at the Founding Fathers, blaming his inability to move his agenda on the disadvantage of having each state represented equally in the Senate.
At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night, Mr. Obama told a small group of wealthy supporters that there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and recapturing the House. One of those problems, he said, is the apportionment of two Senate seats to each state regardless of population.
Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage, Mr. Obama said.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
The sad thing is how many congressional Republicans would agree with him.
Senators were supposed to represent the state government, and provide a check on the federal government. Unfortunately, the 17th amendment just turned them into more exclusive version of the House.
Someone better emerge to intellectually challenge these intellectually challenged leftists.
Over 100 million commie victims would agree, if prodded..
Of course, they’re all dead.. at the hands of communists..
and activists who thought they knew better
than those who were battle tested
and trusted in God.
The US Constitution was structured in order to account for the truth about the human condition - that no human nor group of humans should be given power over the lives of others, as all are inherently flawed, sinful, and prone to corruption.
Obama and the left, being humanists, believe in their own “elitehood” and the inherent superiority of their intellect and morality. Limiting the power of “elite” people stifles them from doing the “right” things for “the common good”.
Obama is frustrated because the Constitution is functioning just as the Founding Fathers intended and is inhibiting him doing just that .
At what point in his commentary about the Constitution does he reach that level where he is violating his oath of office? It would seem to me, he could get impeached and convicted at some point and I think he has gotten beyond it now.
I wonder if “O” ever gets tired of being a jackass.
BTW Barack, the nature of the HOUSE is proportional representation, and the PEOPLE gave control of it to the REPUBLICANS!
What a frigging idiot. If not for the Constitution, I’d call his bluff so we can have a REPUBLICAN senate too.
I guess this fool was thinking of giving only California more seats. He’s too stupid to realize democrats control the Senate for exactly the reason he is criticizing!
“Constitutional Scholar” Obama should know that the constitution of the US Senate reflects that fact that the nation is a union of UNITED (sovereign) States. At least that’s how it started out.
Frankly, I’d like to see the popular election of Senators go away. I think that they should be selected by their state legislatures the way it was originally. We might still have a Harry Reid, but I’m confident that moron’s like Patty Murray, Barbara Mikulski & John Kerry wouldn’t get near the senate chambers except on a capitol tour.
And this guy taught Constitutional Law at a Law School? Even for a semester??
Is there anything about America that Obama LIKES?
Every Rat president laments that he can’t be king.
God Bless gridlock and the founding fathers...
his arrogance knows no depths... to think he believes he knows better than this once-in-a-lifetime group of classically educated men who not only founded a country, but a country like no other EVER in the history of the world... who not only put their lives and everything they owned on the line, but who--after winning freedom from a world power--came up with the idea of the US Constitution, and then brilliantly implemented it...
HE is the reason they foresaw the necessity of the 2 chambered congress, the executive branch and judicial branch and the system of checks and balances... how remarkable, how forward thinking, how utterly brilliant our Founding Fathers were...
The US Constitution is the law, and you took an oath to protect and defend it...and to bear true faith and allegicance to it.
You have already violated that oath ad nausium. These comments make it clear (which many of us have known since your own days in the Senat), that you ar ein fact an enemy of the Constitution itself and should have been impeached many times over long before now.
"I have to side with Justice Breyer's view of the Constitution--that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world." - Barack Huseoin Obama
In other words, he believes the US Constitution says whatever he wants it to say...and then acts accordingly.
How many Democrats does it take to convey the wishes of the State?
An increase of payroll for the same BS!
B0 Soebarkah remains optimistic. The Constitution won’t be in his way for long.
Just wondering, does Indonesia have Founding Fathers?
Uh yes that was kind of the purpose Mr Obama. The guy needs to take a basic American history class; one aimed at the 6th grade level.
Perhaps the following essay might explain their carefully-conceived and implemented plan. The same web site contains other essays from "Our Ageless Constitution," easy-to-read writings which might serve to inform all who need further explanation of America's strict constitutional barriers protecting "the People's" liberty from would-be rulers.
America's Founders had just declared themselves free of a tyrannical government. They were determined that such tyranny would never be repeated in this land. Their new charter of government - the Constitution - carefully defined the powers delegated to government. The Founders were determined to bind down the administrators of the federal government with Constitutional chains so that abuse of power in any of its branches would be prevented. The revolutionary idea of separation of powers, although unpopular at first, became a means by which this was to be accomplished.
John Adams, in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, stated: "I call you to witness that I was the first member of Congress who ventured to come out in public, as I did in January 1776, in my 'Thoughts on Government,' ...in favor of a government with three branches, and an independent judiciary..." By the time the Constitution was adopted, the idea was supported by all of the members of the Convention. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, devoted five Federalist Papers (47-51) to an explanation of how the Executive, Legislative, and judicial branches were to be wholly independent of each other, yet bound together through an intricate system of checks and balances. Madison believed that keeping the three branches separated was fundamental to the preservation of liberty. He wrote:
"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
George Washington, in his Farewell Address, reminded Americans of the need to preserve the Founders' system. He spoke of the "love of power and proneness to abuse it which predominates in the human heart" and warned of the "necessity of reciprocal checks of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories and constituting each the guardian ... against invasions by the others." Of such checks and balances through the separation of powers be concluded, "To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them."
The golf courses.
Actually, Obama already has what he wants. Apparently our “Constitutional Professor” didn’t understand the effect of the Seventeenth Amendment. What we have now are Senators more loyal to their political parties than to the states they purport to represent.
Anything that even hints at “checks and balances” is loathed by Obama....
You have a much higher opinion of state legislators than I do.
I've had some dealings with legislatures in four states. My experience is that they make the Congress look competent, intelligent and honest. But then I haven't had much direct dealing with Congress.
(Is anyone surprised today's liberal Democrat Party believes that "Communism works?")....Obama has little time left to complete his change from a Republic to his dream of Communism for America....
May he be confined for eternity to the Old Devils Island.
If you think Obama’s going to leave office after the 2016 election, you’ve got a big surprise coming.
His policies, in general, have no basis in any of the Constitutional grants (the specific functions entrusted) to the Federal Government. See Implied Powers? Clear Limitations.
There is nothing in that article that even hints at such a suggestion (that Obama was telling donors that Communism is a better way to govern). His logical conclusion seems to be that democratic majority rule (mob rule) is better, or at least would be better for the Democrat Mob.
He seems to have been saying that “Republican ideas are largely rejected by the public,” a spurious idea but one perhaps worth discussing in forums such as this. If conservative ideas are in fact being rejected, then let’s discuss which of those ideas the public rejects, and why they reject them.
For example, let’s start with taxes. Why do Democrats reject the idea that they should keep more of their income? Why do they reject the idea that big government programs tend to be inefficient and largely ineffective? Why do they reject the idea that the settled science of economics proves that lower taxes result in higher economic growth?
Sure, the ultimate philosophical answers to questions such as these do tend to lead us to the doorstep of Karl Marx. But that’s a long and winding road, especially under today’s political storm clouds.
He’s already said he’s not leaving DC.
He wants to stay there and comment and complain about every policy of the succeeding administration that attempts to undo his fascistic policies.
(Seriously, can't this guy accomplish ANYTHING without Affirmative Action or illegal activity?!? Can't our Great Orator take the public lead on just ONE thing?)
Yes, AF1 and the power and hi-life it affords the Obama family.
This statement cites the so-called "progressives'" oft-repeated excuse for distorting and modifying the Constitution of the United States.
Years ago, Dr. Walter Berns' wrote an essay challenging the "living constitution" argument, and explained the dishonesty involved in the original appropriation of the words of Justice John Marshall which "progressives" used to justify such a view of that Constitution.
"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:
... it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government fromreflection or choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force."
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:
"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 know ledge of their sentiments, can warrant their represen tatives in a departure from it prior to such an act."
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:
"Altho' the old idea of a compact between the Govt. & the people be justly exploded, the idea of a compact among those who are parties to a Govt. is a fundamental principle of free Govt.
"The original compact is the one implied or presumed, but nowhere reduced to writing, by which a people agree to form one society. The next is a compact, here for the first time reduced to writing, by which the people in their social state agree to a Govt. over them." (In a letter to Nicholas P. Trist, February 15, 1830)
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 States" in 1776 and, in 1787-88, WE, THE PEOPLE ordained and established "this Constitution for the United States of America."
In this formal compact THE PEOPLE specified the terms and conditions under which "ourselves and posterity," would be governed: granting some powers and withholding others, and organizing the powers granted with a view to preventing their misuse by the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches alike. WE THE PEOPLE were authorized by natural right to do this, and were authorized to act on behalf of posterity only insofar as the rights of posterity to change those terms and conditions were respected. This was accomplished in Article V of the Constitution, the amending article, which prescribed the forms to be followed when exercising that power in the future.
What THE PEOPLE were not permitted to do in 1787-88 was to deprive - or pretend to deprive - posterity of their natural right to do in the future what the founding generation had done in 1776. Nor could they, by pretending to delegate it to Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court, deprive them of their sovereign power to change the Constitution. Instead, that power was recognized in the Constitution's provisions in Article V.
The Framers had designed a constitutional structure for a government which would be limited by that structure - by the distribution of power into distinct departments, a system of legislative balances and checks, an independent judiciary, a system of representation, and an enlargement of the orbit 11 within which such systems are to revolve" And to the judges they assigned the duty, as "faithful guardians of the Constitution," to preserve the integrity of the structure, for it is by the structure (more than by "parchment barriers") that the government is limited. It would he only a slight exaggeration to say that, in the judgment of the Founders, the Constitution would "live" as long as that structure was preserved.
Now, almost 200 years later, one can read Hamilton's words in Federalist No. 1 and conclude that, under some conditions, some "societies of men" are capable of "establishing good government," but that most are not. This is not for lack of trying; on the contrary, constitutions are being written all the time - of some 164 countries in the world, all but a small handful (seven by the latest count) have written constitutions - but most of them are not long-lived.
In September 1983, the American Enterprise Institute sponsored an international conference on constitution writing at the Supreme Court of the United States; some twenty-odd countries were represented. With the exception of the Americans, the persons present had themselves played a role - in some cases a major role - in the writing of their countries' constitutions, most of them written since 1970. Only the constitution of the French Fifth Republic predated 1970; and the Nigerian, so ably discussed and defended at the 1983 conference by one of its own Framers, had subsequently been subverted, much as the four previous French republican constitutions had been subverted. It would seem that many peoples are experienced in the writing of constitutions, but only a few of them - conspicuous among these the people of America - have an experience of stable constitutional government. In that sense, we surely have "a living Constitution." That is not, however, the sense in which the term is ordinarily used in the literature of constitutional law as shall be explored herein.
In the language of many today, a "living Constitution" is not first of all one that is long-lived; rather, its longevity is a secondary or derivative quality which is attributed to its "flexibility" or better, its "adaptability." It is this quality " adaptability" that allows it to be "kept in tune with the times," as the members of this school of thought sometimes say. According to them, a living Constitution is first of all a protean constitution - one whose meaning is not fixed, but variable.
In this respect, it is similar to the Constitution as understood by the "judicial power" school. Some judicial power advocates go so far as to say that, until the judges supply it in the process of adjudication, the Constitution has no meaning whatever. Here are the words of judge Lynn D. Compton of California, writing in 1977 in the pages of the Los Angeles Times:
"Let's be honest with the public. Those courts are policy-making bodies. The policies they set have the effect of law because of the power those courts are given by the Constitution. The so-called "landmark decisions" of both ofU.S. Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court were not compelled by legal precedent. Those decisions are the law and are considered "right" simply because the court had the power to decree the result. The result in any of those cases could have been exactly the opposite and by the same criteria been correct and binding precedent.
"In short, these precedent-setting policy decisions were the products of the social, economic and political philosophy of the majority of the justices who made up the court at a given time in history .."
So extreme a view of judicial power is not likely ever to be expressed in the official reports; there (perhaps in order to be dishonest with the public) even the most inventive judge will claim to be expounding the Constitution, if not its explicit provisions then, at least its emanations, penumbras, or lacunae (Griswold v. Connecticut). What is of interest is that a judge should be willing to express it anywhere - for what it means is that a constitutional provision can be interpreted, but not misinterpreted, construed but not misconstrued. More to the point here is that it means that the Constitution is a living charter of government only because it is repeatedly being reinvented by the judiciary.
The 'Living Constitution' school and the 'Judicial Power' school may be indistinguishable at the margins, but they derive from unrelated and distinct sources. 'Judicial Power' is a product or an extension of legal realism, the school of thought whose advocates, from the beginning of the twentieth century, have argued that the essence of the judicial process consists not in interpreting law, whether statute or constitutional, but in making it. Its advocates today speak with a certain nonchalance of "creating" constitutional rights (Moore v. City of EastCleveland), and, when pressed to cite their authority for doing so are likely to point to the work of contemporary legal theorists like Ronald Dworkin and his bookTaking Rights Seriously . It is Dworkin who has purportedly given this sort of "constitutional lawmaking" what it has always lacked a philosophical underpinning. As he sees it, rights cannot be taken seriously until there has been "a fusion of constitutional law and moral theory," and to make it clear that he is not referring to any particular moral theory that may have informed the Constitution as written, he finishes that sentence by saying that that fusion "has yet to take place."
As it turns out, however, the moral theory he propounds, and which he hopes to "fuse" with constitutional law, proves to be nothing more than a fancy way of justifying what the judge Comptons among us have been doing all along. And what they have been doing is, essentially, treating the Constitution as a thing without form or substance, except insofar as it authorizes the judges to give it substance.
The living Constitution school also claims to have a source more venerable than legal realism or Ronald Dworkin - justice John Marshall. A former president of the American Political Science Association argues that the idea of a " 'living Constitution'...can trace its lineage back to John Marshall's celebrated advice in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819): 'We must never forget that it is a Constitution we are expounding...intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs' " The words quoted are certainly Marshall's but the opinion attributed to him is at odds with his well-known statements that, for example, the "principles" of the Constitution "are deemed fundamental [and] permanent" and, except by means of formalamendment, "unchangeable" (Marbury v. Madison). It is important to note that the discrepancy is not Marshall's; it is largely the consequence of the manner in which he is quoted - ellipses are used to join two statements separated by some eight pages in the original text. Marshall did not say that the Constitution should be adapted to the various crises of human affairs; he said that the powers of Congress are adaptable to meet those crises. The first statement appears in that part of his opinion where he is arguing that the Constitution cannot specify "all the subdivisions of which its great powers will admit;" if it attempted to do so, it would "partake of the prolixity of a legal code" (McCulloch v. Maryland), In the second statement, Marshall's subject is the legislative power, and specifically the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the explicitly granted powers.
Neither Marshall nor any other prominent members of the founding generation can be 'appropriated' by the living Constitution school to support their erroneous views. Marshall's and the Founders' concern was not to keep the Constitution in tune with the times but, rather, to keep the times to the extent possible, in tune with the Constitution. And that is why the Framers assigned to the judiciary the task of protecting the Constitution as written.
They were under no illusions that this would prove to be an easy task. Nevertheless, they had reason to believe that they had written a constitution that deserved to endure and, properly guarded, would endure. Hence, Madison spoke out forcefully against frequent appeals to the people for change. Marshall had this Madisonian passage in mind when, in his opinion for the Court in Marbury, he wrote:
"That the people have an original right to establish, for their future government, such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness, is the basis on which the whole American fabric has beenerected. The exercise of this original right is a very great exertion; nor can it, nor ought it, to be frequently repeated. The principles, therefore, so established, are deemed fundamental: and as the authority from which they proceed is supreme, and can seldom act, they are designed to be permanent."
At this point, it is well to remember Hamilton's strong warning about unwarranted presumptions by those in government of a power to depart from the people's established form as quoted in the title of this essay.
Marshall referred to the "principles" which he called "permanent," and the "basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected" Yet Marshall also chose to address the much broader issue of the general scope of the national powers. The Constitution must be construed to "...allow to the national legislature that discretion, with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution, which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it, in the manner most beneficial to the people." It is these powers, not the Constitution, which are flexible and adaptable to meet the crises of "human affairs."
Ironically, the very case cited by the "living Constitution" school, when properly read, demonstrates that John Marshall, at least, saw, no need for flexibility in the Constitution.
What has been undertaken here has been providing (within a very brief compass indeed) an accurate statement of the principles underlying the American Constitution: pointing to (but by no means elaborating) the political theory from which they derive and the constitutional conclusions to which they lead. Among the latter is the untenability of the proposition that constitutional limitations can be jettisoned, constitutional power enhanced, or the constitutional division of powers altered, by means other than formal constitutional amendment.
It will not be argued that it may sometimes be convenient to allow the Senate to originate a bill "for raising revenue," but convenience is not a measure of constitutionality. There is much to be said in favor of the legislative veto - Who would, in principle, deny the need of checks on administrative agencies? - but, as the Supreme Court correctly said, the Framers anticipated that Congress might find reason to employ such devices and, when designing the so-called "presentment clause" in Article 1, Section 7, forbade them ( Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha). And from a particular partisan perspective it is understandably frustrating, simply because the required number of states had not yet ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, to be denied the power to promote the cause of sexual equality; but frustration alone cannot justify a judicial attempt to preclude the necessity of formal ratification, as Justice Brennan is said to have wished to do. In Frontiero v. Richardson (411 U.S. 677, 1973) the Supreme Court was divided on the issue of whether sex, like race, should be treated as a suspect classification. We are told that Justice Brennan circulated a draft opinion in which he proposed to declare classification by sex virtually impermissible and that he knew this would have the effect of "enacting" the pending ERA. "But Brennan was accustomed to having the Court out in front, leading any civil rights movement," a major publication stated. Hence, we are further told, he saw "no reason to wait several years for the states to ratify the amendment." No reason, that is, other than the fact, which Brennan implicitly acknowledged, that the Constitution as then written, and which had not yet been rewritten by the only people authorized to rewrite it, did not support the role he would have the Court hand down.
Those who would use "convenience" or "frustration" as reason, or who insist that it lies within the powers of the Court (or the Congress or the Executive) to effect constitutional change, can be charged with a lack of respect for the principles on which, as Marshall wisely observed: "the whole American fabric has been erected."
We are told that it is unreasonable - even foolish - to expect that the Framers could have written a Constitution suitable alike for a society of husbandman and a society of multinational corporations, to say nothing of one as well adapted to the age of the musket and sailing ship as to the age of intercontinental nuclear-tipped missiles. As the problems have changed, the argument goes, so must the manner in which they are confronted and solved, and the Constitution cannot be allowed to stand in the way. Indeed, there is no reason to allow it to stand in the way, we are told, because the Framers intended it to be flexible. And we are told that John Marshall would support this position. But it was Marshall, in McCulloch v. Maryland, who stated: "Throughout this vast republic, from the St. Croix to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, revenue is to be collected and expended, armies are to be marched and supported." The United States, in this view was not intended to be a simple society of husbandmen, and Marshall Clearly saw that the Constitution empowered Congress to do what was required to meet the crises of the Republic, and to maintain the Constitutional structure intended by the Framers, changing it only when such change would be in keeping with the structure itself.
That the American Constitution is long-lived, has enduring qualities, and was intended for the ages cannot be doubted. That it was founded on enduring principles, and that it was based on the authority of a people who are sovereign has been attested to by many of its leaders. That it can be changed when, and if, the people ordain such change is a part of its own provisions. For these reasons, it can be said to be a "Living Constitution" - but let that not be claimed by those who would use the language to subvert the structure.
That's why it is called the "Senate", and not the "House of Representatives". You see, Sir, they're different. If they were the same, we wouldn't need two of 'em.
That Fascist P.O.S. is not leaving the Oval Office in 2016, not without force.
The left isn’t THAT ready to tip their hand.
They’d have to have massive gun confiscation first.
Impeachment starts Jan 1, 2015.
“Constitutional Scholar” my behind. If this clown ever attended any classes anywhere I would be shocked.
That’s coming BEFORE the election.
I’m just skeptical about our “democratic” institutions right now. I think we could do with more “indirect democracy” and less of the direct variety. Which is, of course, a forlorn hope since it runs counter to the general trends of the last 150 years of American governing reforms.
Apparently the oath he took was to ignore and attack the constitution.
I think that they should start teaching Government and History in schools once again. I will add Geography into that also. We no longer need basket weaving and “heather has two mommies”
His key was used to bamboozle the public into trusting him as an intelligent person.
All the truth was out there "not" being directly reported by the MSM.
One month, one day, or one semester. It's a token to a black man.
The token that Harvard gave Obama was to also cover their own butts by
being able to say they are not racists.
The proof of Obama' experience is the last 6 years. And he's not even learning on the job.
“If this clown ever attended any classes anywhere I would be shocked.”
How about Sharia Law at the madrassa in Indonesia?