At long last, a Republican Congressman is showing some cojones:
Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman threatened Monday afternoon that he would file articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama if he institutes gun control measures with an executive order.
Stockman warned that such executive orders would be “unconstitutional” and “infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.”...
“If the president is allowed to suspend constitutional rights on his own personal whims, our free republic has effectively ceased to exist,” he said.
Bravo, Congressman Stockman! But once the applause dies down, it will be time for further reflection:
- What are the odds that a majority of the House would vote to impeach Obama?
- Assuming impeachment, what are the odds that two-thirds of the Senate would vote to convict him?
- Assuming conviction, Obama would become one of the most privileged creatures on Earth, enjoying:
- A lifelong pension and "office expenses" allotment;
- Full-time Secret Service protection;
- A library dedicated to him;
- Preferential treatment of innumerable kinds (cf. Bill Clinton).
Not a bad deal for a would-be destroyer of the fundamental contract of the Republic, eh?
"Take him out and shoot him." -- General Dreedle
Legend has it that when Hammurabi set forth upon the creation of the world's first written legal code, he endeavored to couch each "law" in terms that would admit of broad subsequent interpretation, to give him the greatest possible latitude to exercise his personal judgment -- and his personal biases. Perhaps it's true; perhaps it isn't. But of this we may be sure: persons who seek power want power, and as much of it as possible. Once they rise to power, they become ever more impatient of any constraints upon them.
There's no such ambiguity in the Constitution of the United States. It's as lucid a document as statecraft has ever produced. It's not perfect, mind you; it's just the pinnacle of the art of law-writing as the art stands today. Never mind the poorly atomized BS that sprays continuously from federal courts about "penumbras," "emanations," and "implied powers."
But there's one thing it does lack, and that lack has become ever more conspicuously significant in the years immediately behind us: a schedule of penalties for its violation by an official who has violated its terms:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. [Article VI, paragraph 2]
A federal official who attempts to exert a power not granted to his office by the Constitution has broken the Supreme Law of the Land. He is a lawbreaker, and of the most serious sort. Why doesn't he face any sort of punishment for his deed if he's convicted? Why doesn't he, at the very least, forfeit the "honors and emoluments" that pertain to his office? Yet there is no provision for such forfeiture, much less for any further penalty.
Is it consistent with the conception of the Constitution as "the Supreme Law of the Land" that an official whose office is derived from Constitutional authority, but who acts to violate it, should pass from his office unchastised? Not even required to forfeit the privileges that came with the office whose trust he betrayed?
Were Barack Hussein Obama to be ejected from the White House by a Senatorial conviction, for having attempted to violate Americans' rights under the Second Amendment, or for having attempted to usurp Congress's power over revenues and appropriations, would it be acceptable that he retain the perquisites of a former president of the United States?
"Public Office is a Public Trust" -- presidential campaign slogan of Grover Cleveland
The years after the American Civil War (a.k.a. the War Between The States, the Late Unpleasantness, etc.) were rife with political corruption, for many reasons. The corruption reached all the way to the top of the federal government, particularly during the presidential terms of Ulysses S. Grant. Yet few federal officials were punished for their transgressions under any law. The notion that a penalty other than eviction from office should apply to official malfeasance had not yet been entertained.
Because the Civil War was followed by a long period of Republican Party hegemony, the many corruption scandals tainted not both the reputations of the officials involved and that of the GOP. Indeed, one of the reasons Grover Cleveland managed to reach the presidency, first Democrat to do so since the War, was his absolutely unstained and unquestioned reputation for honesty and integrity. Republicans who attained the Oval Office after Cleveland didn't help their party's cause very much; the overreaches of Theodore Roosevelt's two terms, the scandals of the Harding years, and the ineptitude of the Hoover Administration were responsible in some measure for the tenacious grip on power exerted by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A society that lacks official mechanisms by which to punish lawbreakers will often invent informal ones, ranging from ostracism to vigilantism. But former presidents are difficult to reach with any measure harsher than disapprobation, to say the least. Indeed, it gives one cause to wonder about the wisdom of lifetime Secret Service protection for such persons.
“I so, I get so tired of that trite saying,” he said. “That’s the problem. You say that why are we going to infringe on the second amendment? Well, we already do.” -- Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno
Here you have an elected official openly admitting to violating the Supreme Law of the Land. He shows no particular hesitation about it, nor any slightest degree of embarrassment. He knows full well what he's saying entitles him to public odium and more...but he does not fear it. A Democrat in Chicago, Illinois comes as close to political untouchability as any creature can get.
How much more clearly unjust could a circumstance be? Yet it's guaranteed that nothing more unpleasant than being diselected, if even that, will happen to any politician who supports anti-Constitutional legislation or executive action.
Moreno is a lowly municipal official. Yet he wields considerable power; consider his actions toward Chick-Fil-A. Is it acceptable for a man raised to political authority to escape all penalty for violations of the Supreme Law, from which any power he might wield is ultimately derived? Considering that we now routinely violate the double-jeopardy provision of the Fifth Amendment by exposing accused persons to indictment both under a state penal law, and then under federal law for the same action (cf. O.J. Simpson) for "violating the civil rights" of his victim, how can it be just that elected officials routinely escape all penalty for violating Americans' rights guaranteed by the Constitution?
And what "penalty" can the nation impose on Barack Hussein Obama for blatantly attempting the very same thing?