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Constitution

Old Settler’s Days Parade

–ACTION ALERT–

Patriots,

Once again, the Whitley County Patriots have a float in the Old Settler’s Days Parade on Saturday, June 28th at 5pm.  We need to pack the float with as many people as we can to make a good showing at the parade.  Come on out and have fun while we blast patriotic music from the sound system on our float!  We will start lining up at Columbia City High School at 4pm.

God Bless America,

Carrie Beth Youse
Webmistress, WCP

and

David Ditton
Senior Webmaster, WCP

Santorum: ‘The Constitution Is There to Do One Thing: Protect God-Given Rights’

From The Blaze:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum had several crowd pleasing remarks during Thursday’s GOP debate from Jacksonville on CNN, a strong performance which many speculated was a must for the former Pennsylvania Senator to keep pace in the Florida primary race as Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have begun to separate themselves in the polls.

When an audience member asked the candidates how their religious beliefs would affect their decisions as President, Santorum turned to the nation’s founding documents to reference the relationship between faith and governance.

“The Constitution is there to do one thing, protect God-given rights,” said Santorum. “That’s what makes America different than every other country in the world.”

“When you say ‘faith has nothing to do with it’– faith has everything to do with it,” Santorum went on to say over applause. “If our President believes that rights come to us from the state, everything government gives you, it can take away.

“The role of the government is to protect rights that cannot be taken away.”

 

USA Today notes that Texas Rep. Ron Paul answered the question by saying that his beliefs affect the way he treats people, and the only thing that affects him, as a congressman or president, is his oath of office. NPR reports that Romney concurred with Paul, but adds that he “would also seek the guidance of providence in making decisions.”

Gingrich answered the question in three parts, saying that “anyone who is president is faced with decisions so enormous they should go to God,” and that faith isn’t just an hour on Sundays. Gingrich closed with a popular argument that he has made before, saying that one of the reasons he is running is because “there has been a war on religion, particularly on Christianity in this country.”

“I frankly believe it’s important to have leadership that says, enough, we are given the right for religious freedom, not religious oppression by the state.”

Obama Uses Executive Authority to Make Recess Appointment — While Senate Is Still in Session

From The Blaze:

In a defiant display of executive power, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will “stick his thumb in the eye” of GOP opposition and name Richard Cordray as the nation’s chief consumer watchdog. Outraged Republican leaders in Congress suggested that courts would determine the appointment was illegal.

But why are Republican leaders outraged at this recess appointment? Well, mostly because the Senate is still in session.

Although President Obama has constitutional power to make appointments during a congressional recess, Republicans have moved to keep that from happening by having the Senate running in “pro forma” sessions, meaning open for business in name with no actual business planned.

The Senate held such a session on Tuesday and planned another one on Friday. Republicans contend Obama cannot make a recess appointment during a break of less than three days, based on years of precedent.

The Obama White House contends such an approach is a gimmick. For all practical purposes, the Senate is in recess and Obama is free to make the appointment on his own.

McConnell said that Obama’s move “lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress’ role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.

The president plans to argue that the appointment was necessary because, with a new director in place, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can start overseeing the mortgage companies, payday lenders, debt collectors and other financial companies.

Read the rest at The Blaze.

Obama’s “Recess” Appointments Show Constitutional Scholar Willing to Shred the Constitution

From AlinksyDefeater’s Blog:

President Barack Obama has pushed the level of Executive Power well beyond what any previous President has done with his recent, so-called, recess appointments. The only problems are not only are the nominees so controversial that they can’t get Democratically controlled Senate approval, but the Senate is technically not even in recess.

Even the Liberal New York Times had this to say about Obama’s “recess appointments”:

President Obama’s decision on Wednesday to grant recess appointments to four officials — even though the Senate contends that it is not in recess — was an unprecedented legal step that brought into sharper focus a recent bipartisan struggle over presidential power

In 2007, concerning Bush recess appointments, then Senator Obama said,

It’s disappointing that President Bush would defy the will of Congress by appointing Sam Fox Ambassador to Belgium. I opposed Mr. Fox’s nomination because I had serious concerns about his candor, judgment, and qualifications for this important post. Appointing nominees that are opposed by a majority in Congress simply because they are political cronies is old style politics at its worst. Our nation’s ambassadors should possess strong credibility and character so that they may effectively represent U.S. interests overseas, and I don’t think President Bush applied that test with this recess appointment.

It is one thing for a President to be hypocritical, there is not much new in that. It is quite another for a President who is a Constitutional scholar to have such utter disregard for the guiding document of our nation.

What Constitutionalism Means

From National Review:

Soon after Texas governor Rick Perry announced his presidential campaign, a few websites, mostly liberal, compiled a list of the constitutional amendments he has at various times touted. He has spoken favorably about amendments to end the lifetime tenure of federal judges, to allow supermajorities of Congress to overturn Supreme Court decisions, to repeal the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments (which established, respectively, the income tax and the direct election of senators), to limit federal spending, to define marriage in American law as the union of a man and a woman, and to prohibit abortion.

Liberals responded, either explicitly or implicitly, with a comment that was partly a question and partly a taunt: Why are conservatives, who place so much emphasis on fidelity to the Constitution, so keen on changing it? It is a point they have also made during recent debates over the proposed balanced-budget amendment.

The premise is correct. Over the last generation, conservatives have been much more likely than liberals to propose formal amendments to the Constitution. The failed campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s was the last time liberals attempted to use the amendment process outlined in Article V of the Constitution. Conservatives, on the other hand, have promoted not only the amendments that Governor Perry has mentioned but additional measures allowing Congress to ban flag-burning, allowing schools to organize prayers, and letting a supermajority of state governments overturn federal laws.

But that disparity does not reveal a defect in conservatives’ constitutionalism. What the liberals’ reaction to that disparity reveals is how little they understand constitutionalism, or at least what conservatives mean by it.

Read the rest at National Review.

Constitution Day: Is the Constitution on Life Support?

From The Rutherford Institute:

For all intents and purposes, the Constitution is on life support and has been for some time now.

Those responsible for its demise are none other than the schools, which have failed to educate students about its principles; the courts, which have failed to uphold the rights enshrined within it; the politicians, who long ago sold out to corporations and special interests; and “we the people” who, in our ignorance and greed, have valued materialism over freedom.

We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document. However, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants. And the few of us who actively fight to preserve the rights enshrined in the Constitution (a group whose numbers continue to shrink) do so knowing that in the long run, we may be fighting a losing battle.

A quick review of the Bill of Rights shows how dismal things have become.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind and protest in peace without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans cannot be silenced by the government. Yet despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Students are often stripped of their rights for such things as wearing a t-shirt that school officials find offensive. Incredibly, one California school official actually forbade students from wearing t-shirts with the American flag on them. Likewise, local governments and police often oppose citizens who express unpopular views in public. Peace activists who speak out against the government are being arrested and subjected to investigation by the FBI, while members of the press are threatened with jail time for reporting on possible government wrongdoing and refusing to reveal their sources.

Read the rest at The Rutherford Institute.

Introducing “Letters from an Ohio Farmer”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article introduces us to “Letters from an Ohio Farmer.” It is excellent reading.

From Power Line:

One of the more interesting and neglected political writings of the American Founding era was John Dickinson’s “Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer,” which set out the grievances of the colonists against British rule in the decade before 1776. Dickinson was something of a moderate; although he collaborated with Thomas Jefferson in 1775 on the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, he abstained on voting for the Declaration of Independence the following year, hoping for reconciliation with Britain. He attended the Constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, and defended the new Constitution in his own series of essays under the pen name Fabius.

This is prologue for bringing to everyone’s attention a new initiative conceived in a spirit similar to Dickinson’s letters: “Letters from an Ohio Farmer.” These letters are formally addressed to members of the 112th Congress but are also written for the engaged citizen. Many of the large class of new House members came to office in an election marked by an unprecedented populist fervor for constitutionalism. For that is partly what the Tea Party movement is–a populist constitutional movement–something James Madison would have thought at first glance not merely improbable, but an oxymoron, though on second thought he might have celebrated that the Tea Party represents the fulfillment of one of the Constitution’s larger purposes, which was to create a reverence among citizens for the principles of the nation.

Read the rest at Power Line.

I’m Just a Bill, Yes, I’m Only a Bill: The Constitutional Way to Make Laws

From The Heritage Foundation:

Under the Progressive notion of a “living” Constitution, almost every aspect of the Constitution has been subject to reinterpretation.  One section that would seem to defy a new interpretation, however, is Article I, Section 7, Clause 2 – or the “Presentment Clause” – which clearly outlines the process by which a bill becomes a law.

As Michael Rappaport explains in the latest Constitutional Guidance for Lawmakers essay, “The Presentment Clause ultimately drafted by the Convention was one of the most formal provisions in the Constitution. The Framers apparently feared that factions would attempt to depart from the constitutional method for passing laws and therefore they spelled out that method in one of the document’s longest provisions.”

Yet despite the careful detail the Founders took with this clause, lawmaking today often looks quite different.  Instead of exercising their constitutional responsibility, Congress regularly delegates their legislative powers to administrative agencies (see Constitutional Guidance for Lawmakers No. 1 on Article I, Section 1: “Legislative Powers: Not Yours to Give Away”). Restoring the proper lawmaking process should be the first order of business for the 112th Congress.

The Appropriate Use of the Appropriations Clause

From The Heritage Foundation:

This section is commonly referred to as the Appropriations Clause stipulates that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time,” and effectively grants the legislative branch the influential “power of the purse.”  Today, however, public opinion agrees that Congress has clearly abused this privilege.

Congress’s decades-long spending spree is on everyone’s mind these days.  Most (successful) Republicans ran on a promise to reduce federal spending last November.  The 112th Congress has received a mandate to rein in the federal debt, and restore the health of America’s economy.  This new demand for fiscal responsibility is directly in line with the Founders’ intention for the Appropriations Clause.  As Gary Kepplinger explains in the latest installment in the Constitutional Guidance for Lawmakers series, the Appropriations Clause was not an authorization for exorbitant use of Treasury funds.  Rather, it is included in Section 9 of Article I – the section that enumerates the limitations of the legislative branch.

Explaining this difference is rather like giving a teenager a credit card, and watching their face change as you explain that the money still has to be paid off.  It’s not a blank check – it’s a responsibility.

Not So Sweeping After All: The Limits of the Necessary and Proper Clause

From The Heritage Foundation:

The Necessary and Proper Clause makes things happen. To many on the left, the Necessary and Proper Clause joins the General Welfare Clause, and the Commerce Clause to form a trivium of validation for any and every expansion of government power imaginable. But, as David Engdahl explains in his Constitutional Guidance for Lawmakers essay, the Necessary and Proper Clause is not a blank check for Congress to pass anything it deems necessary or proper for America. Just as the Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause have limits, so too does the Necessary and Proper Clause.

After listing the 17 specific powers delegated to Congress, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution concludes by specifying that Congress has the power “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.” This lawmaking power is limited and defined by the ends for which it is delegated: “for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” All the Necessary and Proper Clause does is to make explicit a power already implied in the grants of powers in Section 8 and elsewhere. It is the means to achieve ends. Learn more about why Necessary and Proper Clause makes things—but not just anything—happen.

God Bless America

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Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it. — James Madison, Federalist No. 41, January 1788

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