'Aiding and Abetting' – The demise of Congress over Debt

By SUA Staff – With the incessant ‘end runs’ around the Congress in his first four years, now it looks like the big one is before us – applying some arcane twisted logic that the 14th Amendment gives the President unfettered spending power. Now, the Majority Leader and other Democrats are ‘aiding and abetting’ that effort.

Though the Constitution reads as follows:

Section 7 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Additionally:

Section 8 – Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States; (read more here.)

If Obama declares that the 14th Amendment gives him such powers, effectively stripping them away from the House of Representatives, there will be a Constitutional crisis that MUST come before the Supreme Court. If that court does not see fit to stop him, possibly due to imminent retirements of Justices being replaced by liberals appointed by Obama, changing the 5-4 balance right to a 5-4 left or worse, our Congress shall at that time be rendered meaningless.

The Senate has already become meaningless since Harry Reid has already seen fit to ignore its primary purpose – passing a budget. He is in criminal contempt of the Constitution for not passing a budget in over 1,3o0 days, that is a complete abrogation of his oath and that of every Senator seated.

Only now are we finally hearing some elected officials accuse Reid of criminal negligence in the malfeasance of his and many others’ duties they swore to uphold and defend. Many ask if he is committing a felony or a misdemeanor, but either way its criminal:

I have one question about the way Majority Leader Harry Reid has been conducting the Senate. Has he committed a felony or a mere misdemeanor?

Majority Leader Harry’s transgression is that for over 1300 days he has failed to pass a budget. In fact, there is no evidence he has even tried. This is against the law. Federal law clearly requires the Congress to pass a budget every year. I presume the reasoning behind this is that the American people deserve to know what their taxes are paying for, or another way of putting it is, why are the American people being mulcted every year by the Internal Revenue Service to pay for Harry and his gang’s criminal activities? (Read more here.)

That of course means that the people will no longer have a voice in their government and our nation shall effectively become a dictatorship, especially if they somehow find a way to overturn the 22nd Amendment.

Senate Democrats to offer no-limit credit to Obama

By Neil Munro at the Daily Caller

Top Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate have reportedly told the executive branch they won’t object if the president simply declares he has the power to impose even greater financial debts on Americans.

The announcement, leaked Jan. 10 by a Democratic aide to The Washington Post, would effectively give the White House the unprecedented power to borrow and spend as much money as it wishes — unless the Supreme Court intervenes.

If allowed to stand by the court, the decision by Senate Democrats would effectively gut the authority of Congress’ two bodies — the Senate and House of Representatives — to jointly govern borrowing by the executive branch.

“The four Democratic leaders — Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Patty Murray — have privately reached agreement that continued GOP intransigence on the debt ceiling means the White House needs the space to pursue options for raising it that don’t involve Congress,” according to the report in the Post.

“The White House needs to know that Dems will support whatever it decides to do,” read the report.

GOP Senators have decried the self-imposed diminution of the Senate, which was once lauded as “world’s the greatest deliberative body.”

The Democrats’ offer “is not only the height of irresponsibility, but also a guarantee that our national debt crisis will only get worse,” said the Republicans’ Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

“Rather than offering any plan to break the spending habit that’s causing the problem, Democrats are looking at everything from the ridiculous (printing a trillion-dollar coin) to outright abdication of Congressional responsibility,” he said.

“Democrats in Washington are falling all over themselves in an effort to do anything they can to get around the law—and to avoid taking any responsibility for Washington’s out-of-control spending … which is why many of us view the upcoming debt limit debate as a perfect opportunity to face up to Washington’s spending,” he said.

Speaker of the House John Boehner also denounced the unprecedented move.

“Senate Democrats cannot ignore their responsibilities for political convenience — and the American people will not tolerate an increase in the debt limit without spending cuts and reforms,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

“Out-of-control Washington spending is costing jobs now, and condemning future generations of Americans to a lower standard of living. Washington Democrats must stop spending money we don’t have,” he said.

Congress’ sole authority over the nation’s debt is enshrined in Section 8 of Article 1 the Constitution, which says “Congress shall have the power to … borrow money on the credit of the United States.”

The Constitution does not give the executive branch any legal authority to borrow money from outsides sources.

The Congress’ power is implemented via the the Public Debts Acts of 1939 and 1941.

Can't argue fact or law – attack the court, then tell fibs…

Editor’s Note – President Obama, himself a constitutional question or anomaly according to a large portion of the country, took the Supreme Court to task yesterday over its deliberations regarding his Obama Care Law. Remember, Obama is an avowed “Constitutional Scholar.”

He fired away at the court decrying that they were un-elected. He also stated that the law passed with an overwhelming majority, in itself a mis-leading statement at best. (See the video of that speech here.)

Where does this man’s ‘chutzpah’ end?

The old adage, “the first story out wins” a phrase adapted by Ilana Freedman of Gerard Direct back in 2006, seems to be the number one play in Obama’s bag of tricks. He figures, and likely rightfully so, that he can say anything he wants, true, mis-leading, or fabricated from his ‘bully pulpit’, because the general public that supports him will run with it. That includes the “lame stream media.”

Then Jay Carney will get to the mic and bail him out, or stammer as he did tonight when questioned by Brett Baier of Fox News about Obama’s mis-statements.

His attacks yesterday on the Supreme Court were walked-back today (Read here), but the fact of the matter is, he is not winning the argument over his signature law. Rumors spread since yesterday tell that a message was sent to this ‘constitutional scholar’ from Associate Justice Sotomayor, that the initial pre-vote at SCOTUS went bad for him. What happened, he lashes out at the court.

Well, it does not end there.

The following story came out late today from an Appeals Court today demanding an explanatory letter from Eric Holder explaining the President’s comments that the court cannot overturn laws for constitutionality issues. Law establish in Marbury v. Madison from 1803.

So, if a law [e.g., a statute or treaty] be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.

When one cannot argue the facts, argue the law. When one cannot argue the law, argue the facts. When one can neither argue the law, nor the facts, attack the court. In this case, he is attacking, and then obfuscating by drumming up emotion over what is a matter of law. That is how he regards the Constitution and the rule-of-law.

Following from CBS with update just filed:

Appeals court fires back at Obama’s comments on health care case

By Jan Crawford

In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president’s bluff — ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.

The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president’s comments yesterday about the Supreme Court’s review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was “confident” the Court would not “take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented — since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise — despite the president’s remarks that implied the contrary. The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said.

The panel is hearing a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals. The issue arose when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges. Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.

The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes — and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom.

Smith then became “very stern,” the source said, telling the lawyers arguing the case it was not clear to “many of us” whether the president believes such a right exists. The other two judges on the panel, Emilio Garza and Leslie Southwick–both Republican appointees–remained silent, the source said.

Smith, a Reagan appointee, went on to say that comments from the president and others in the Executive Branch indicate they believe judges don’t have the power to review laws and strike those that are unconstitutional, specifically referencing Mr. Obama’s comments yesterday about judges being an “unelected group of people.”

I’ve reached out to the White House for comment, and will update when we have more information.

UPDATE 6 p.m. ET: The White House is declining to comment on the 5th Circuit’s order, but the president today did clarify his comments that it would be “unprecedented” for the Court to overturn laws passed by a democratically elected Congress. During a question-and-answer session after a luncheon speech in Washington, a journalist pointed out “that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence.”

Mr. Obama suggested he meant that it would be “unprecedented” in the modern era for the Court to rule the law exceeded Congress’ power to regulate an economic issue like health care.

“The point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress. And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this,” Mr. Obama said.

“Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there. I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has,” he said.

And now DOJ gets to write three single-spaced pages expounding on that. Due at high noon on Thursday.

ObamaCare – visualized summary of the impact, freedoms lost

Editor’s Note – You might have seen this video a stunning demonstration of political condescension on the health care front.

In remarks at the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said,

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.” (Heritage)

Well the “fog” is gone, and its the second anniversary of it being signed into law, and the ObamaCare nightmare is upon us.

As you can see in the visuals below, its not the package we bargained for. Wait, we did not bargain for it, it was crammed down our throats.

The SCOTUS is now contemplating its validity and Constitutionality, if they do not declare the whole thing void, the the next Congress, and next President must change, and must overturn this debacle.

Why? As Karen Harned points out at Fox News, there are five basic freedoms we will all lose:

1) The American ideal of freedom

Our nation was founded on individual liberty—liberty which is under assault by the health care law. The individual mandate is unprecedented and unconstitutional.

2) The freedom to purchase whatever product you want with your own money

The government has never been able to force Americans to buy something or pay a penalty in the history of this nation. If the individual mandate is upheld, the Constitution will not protect Americans from any mandate Congress wants to impose.

3) The right to own and operate your small business 

Small businesses create over 60 percent of the nation’s new jobs. The job market is stagnant and the health care law has had a palpable chilling effect on the sector and caused many small businesses not to hire.

4) The power to decide what is medically best for our families and businesses

If ObamaCare is upheld, over half of all Americans would be forced onto some type of government-run health-care by the end of the decade. Elite bureaucrats would be in charge of deciding what medical tests you need or should have based on costs. What’s more, these government bureaucrats will also get to decide what kinds of insurance plans will be made available and what businesses must provide in the form of health insurance to their employees.

5) The economic future of this country

ObamaCare is already a significant drag on the nation’s economy and could threaten to sink it even further when the mandate goes into effect in 2014. Not surprisingly, its costs were vastly underestimated during the national debate.

Read the rest here.

In Pictures: The Impact of Obamacare

Alyene Senger, From the Heritage Foundation’s blog: The Foundry

Today is the official second anniversary of Obamacare’s signing, but there’s little to celebrate. The Heritage Foundation’s re-launched version of “Obamacare in Pictures: Visualizing the Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” shows through new charts and graphs Obamacare’s far-reaching negative effects on Americans

Here are just a few examples of what the series reveals about Obamacare:

It grows dependence on government. Obamacare expands government control over health care by expanding Medicaid and creating new government exchanges. By the year 2020, more than 50 percent of Americans will be enrolled in a government-run health care program.

It hurts jobs and the economy. Obamacare may be the cause of a slowed private-sector recovery. After it was signed into law, job growth in the private sector stalled. Also, Obamacare contains 17 new taxes on Americans that will total $502 billion between 2010 and 2019. Several of these will hit the middle class.

It threatens Americans’ existing coverage. Despite President Obama’s promise, “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan,” there are many provisions in Obamacare that will cause Americans to lose existing coverage. Some estimates show the loss of employer coverage will be as high as 35 million people.

It undermines state authority. Obamacare pushes approximately 20 million additional people onto state Medicaid rolls. Obamacare in Pictures shows the burden of the expansion in the increased Medicaid population and cost to each state. Meanwhile, 26 states have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare’s individual mandate and forced Medicaid expansion.

EPA – Capricious and Arbitrary vs. Property Rights

By Scott W. Winchell

When is enough regulation, enough? When it comes to the EPA, and environmentalists, there is never enough, and they have the ability to completely remove your property rights, even in a capricious and arbitrary manner. When is a person’s property no longer theirs to do with as they may, even after playing with in the proscribed rules and laws outlined in the permit promise locally? The answer to that question and more is what the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is about to judge after hearing arguments yesterday; Sackett vs. EPA. The case is said to be many things, depending on who you ask, but the issues are: were the EPA and its agents capricious and arbitrary, what recourse (due process) exists for those who receive an order they believe is in error, and has the liberty and rights of the property owner been summarily usurped?

Why is there an EPA?

In the macro, we must ask ourselves whether or not human beings are part of nature, or are we a cancer that is here only to ruin the planet? To rabid environmentalists, we are indeed a cancer and cannot be proper stewards of the planet, if we even belong here at all. Everything we do as humans as determined by these people is ruinous, from our simple bodily functions of evacuating our bowels, bladders, and lungs, to where we live and build. To many, we are too numerous, so our very numbers are ruining the planet and the atmosphere by just being here and breathing.

Let’s add into the mix the stipulation that we have large brains and can therefore out-think all other creatures and our nature, to these folks, is to just consume, dominate, waste, and kill. The elite among the environmentalists have taken on every aspect of preserving everything but man. Whether its the Snail Darter or the Delta Smelt in the Central Valley of California, the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest or lobsters off the coast of Maine, there are rules and regulations. But perhaps the biggest regulations of all govern our air and water.

We all want and need clean air and clean water and granted, many among us are very guilty of ruining the environment, especially in the creation of our industries from power plants to automobiles, to chemicals and pesticides, to nuclear power, to petroleum products, and on, and on. So we created ways to control those without consciences, or enough smarts to realize their actions are harmful to all, including themselves. Hence, we created the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1977, and numerous other laws, rules, and regulations to clean up previous messes, and prevent future ones.

Overreach, capriciousness, and arbitrary control

A further question isn’t whether or not it was a good thing the EPA was created to enforce these regulations, but to what extent and cost? At some point, we start to reach the point of diminishing returns and expanding further may do a small amount of good, but at extreme cost and loss of liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. In a time when the excess of regulation is a key topic in debates for political office to a ruined economy (yes people ruin other things too), we have the Sackett vs. EPA case heard by SCOTUS yesterday (Read the transcript here).

We have entered a time and place where overzealous government regulators, many with complete impunity, can determine not only whether or not you have violated the law, or what laws and rules they will enforce by fiat, but to give you no recourse but financial ruin and worse is simply too much power. All this with no recourse. In this case we see two major players, those who think government has gotten too big and too strong, and those who think we need more regulation and control over our neighbors.

The vertical barren grey area is the lot in question - notice the other lots and roads around it. (Google Earth)

In this case, it is hard not to ask, who was the EPA Agent who first visited the property, why did they even go to look at it – all questions not being discussed? But we all know its usually personal at the local level. Did a neighbor complain because they did not want another house in the neighborhood? Did the Sacketts have enemies they did not know? It stretches credulity that an EPA Agent, of their own volition, thought it was so important to look at this very small residential lot, and then to convey the harshest maximum threats of fines. Something stinks on that level all by itself.

Opposing sides, defending the EPA, and suffering because of the EPA

Two opinions are before SCOTUS now and to hear each is to disbelieve the other. The Kootenai Environmental Alliance, a very avid environmentalist group in the Northwest posted this article and comments on the Sacketts, and labels the other side as ideological; the pot calling the kettle black. Please read closely, especially the analogy they use and the conclusion they draw from it:

What The Priest Lake Wetland Case Is Actually About

The Sacketts have challenged a structural legal problem in enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Fundamentally, the EPA says there are wetlands on the property, the Sacketts say there are no wetlands. The question at the Supreme Court is essentially how that dispute gets resolved. The Sacketts say they should get to affirmatively go to court to immediately decide it. The EPA, and the lower courts, say the actual language in the law does not allow such a court challenge. Instead the Clean Water Act suggests that Sacketts can get a permit or they can defend against an enforcement action in a court. It is a major case because a wide range of environmental and other federal statutes are structured similarly.

An imperfect but illustrative analogy is that a speeder is pulled over for going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. The speeder points to a sign, directly in front of the cop, that says “Speed Limit 70.” The cop issues the ticket anyway. The traditional remedy is that you appeal the ticket in Court. The Sacketts, however, are essentially arguing that they should get to go to court to dispute the facts before the cop even issues the ticket.

The case does raise an interesting question of fairness and “due process” perhaps. The Sacketts argue that the EPA determining that there are wetlands on their property means they either need to get a permit, which can be expensive, or they can be appeal a wetland violation in court, which can also be expensive. However, in truth, due diligence by the landowner, along with competent and honest advice from lawyers and land development professionals, will almost always avoid these wetland problems. (Mike Sackett, an excavation contractor of all things, should know this.)

Instead, in this case, we have an ideologically driven lawsuit by the ideologically driven Pacific Legal Foundation which may or may not decide a fine point of Clean Water Act enforcement procedure. So, don’t believe the hype. To be completely clear, what is not in dispute in the Supreme Court case is:  wetlands are regulated; EPA and the Corps of Engineers have regulatory jurisdiction and authority; if you fill wetlands you need a permit; and if you fill wetlands without a permit you are violating the law and you are subject to enforcement. When you get your day in court is the only issue to be determined.

To the Kootenai Environmental Alliance, the Sacketts should have known better and done more due diligence and that by challenging the ruling, with their supporters at the Pacific Legal Foundation are practicing hyperbole for ideological reasons. The problem seems simple to them, that the Sacketts need to go to court and have it adjudicated, after they received the so-called ‘ticket’. They argue that the Sacketts wanted to try the case prior to receiving the ‘ticket’, no matter how capricious or arbitrary. The problem is, the EPA offers no such remedy. To employ their analogy further, the Sacketts have to not only receive the ticket, but in this case, they have to pay the fines, pay for the remediation ordered, and then apply for a permit, or argue their case in a court after ward.

The cleared lot - notice the proximity to neighbors' buildings and compare the lot as described in the other posted images in this article.

This is clearly a case of “guilty until proven innocent”, and at a very steep price, and after suffering great harm. The Sacketts have waited years, and all agree they have suffered greatly on many levels. After-all, the EPA levied the maximum penalty on them as if they were pouring poison into a reservoir while spewing acid into the air. The case is about them filling a small area on their property the EPA agent determined was a wetland, a very broad term and definition. To read the definition, one would think any puddle on Earth created by rain is a vernal pool, and is therefore a wetland. Standing water in your driveway could mean losing your home with that logic.

The analogy’s logic they employ is that you have to pay the speeding ticket then argue the case. So by capricious and arbitrary fiat, the Sacketts have to spend more money than the land was worth to get a chance to have the same federal agency determine their guilt and/or their future abilities on land they own. That is a bar far to high for any citizen, especially when the courts already accord deference to the agency because they are the experts, and the agency has unlimited resources and time to defeat anyone. On top of that, the citizen has to fight against the personal will of the agent, no matter how zealous he/she may be; that is the arbitrary nature of this case.

The greatest failure of their logic though is this, the Sacketts did their due diligence by applying for and receiving a county permit prior to work being performed. They had no obligation to prove a negative by seeking other permits not determined to be needed by the very county they lived in. How is a land owner supposed to know that an EPA agent could arbitrarily shut them down, charge exorbitant fees and fines, after doing what they were supposed to do?

Once again the ultra-environmentalists try to cast the argument in a very narrow manner, but to look at the property by any reasonable standard would never raise an eyebrow of the common law-abiding citizen. After-all, the property is bordered by two roads, front and back, and neighbors’ homes are situated on each side and across the street on the shores of the lake. Maybe there are Delta Smelt in a puddle on the property.

This is clearly a case that SCOTUS must judge in favor of the Sacketts and all citizens in a resounding manner. It needs to be adjudicated beyond the usual tendency for a narrow defined decision that will only raise future cases, and ruin others’ lives. This must be settled now.