Tuesday, March 11, 2014


1. "What Is The Law?"

Ace at Ace of Spades continues to impress. Here's a choice citation from yesterday:

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan questions whether Obamacare is even a "law" anymore.

@charlescwcooke summed this up a while back on the podcast: It's not a law. It might have been passed in a law-like form, but it has been "interpreted" by Obama to not be a law at all.

It is simply an Enabling Act, a block grant of legislative authority to the executive on anything in the category of "health care."

This, of course, is illegal, and unconstitutional. Even if Congress wished to give their powers to the Executive, it would be illegal for them to do so, and the Supreme Court would call it illegal.

And yet here the President simply asserts that Congress has handed him his powers, and only a brave few say anything about it at all.

This does force us to confront a question: If it's as blatantly unConstitutional as that, why hasn't the House of Representatives impeached the bastard? It can't be for lack of a case. That leaves a very few possibilities:

  • Skeletons in the closets of too many Congressmen;
  • Fear that Obama could somehow take vengeance;
  • Lack of confidence that the Senate would fulfill its Constitutional duties.

Any or all of these could be true. And yet I find myself glued to the declaration of Stephen Graham Sumner:

    “Why are you so...fixated on the Constitution, Mr. Sumner? Isn’t it a little bit naive to think a document two centuries old contains all the answers to the problems of a complex modern society?”
    “Have you read it, Miss Weatherly?” Sumner’s voice remained mild.
    “Not lately, no.”
    “Then you might have forgotten that it’s the supreme law of the land. All other law and all government action must conform to it. If it needs to be revised or expanded, it contains provisions for that.”
    “A lot of people would say,” Weatherly cooed, “that we’ve done that, only informally.”
    Sumner pursed his lips and glanced down at his shoes. For a moment, Weatherly thought she might finally have scored against his infuriating self-assurance.
    “Miss Weatherly,” he said with a note of regret, “I’m a lawyer. I was raised by a lawyer. He taught me to think of the law as our most precious possession. One of the questions he repeatedly insisted that I ponder was ‘What is the law?’ Not ‘What would I like the law to be,’ but ‘What is it really, and how do I know that’s what it is?’
    “My profession, sadly, has made a practice of twisting the law to its own ends. There aren’t many lawyers left who really care what the law is, as long as they can get the results they want, when they want them. So they play the angles, and collaborate with judges who think they’re black-robed gods, and generally do whatever they can get away with to get what they want, without a moment’s regard for what it does to the knowability of the law.
    “I care. I want to know what the law is, what it permits, requires, and forbids. I want my clients to know. And the only way to reach that result is to insist that the words of the law have exact meanings, not arbitrary, impermanent interpretations that can be changed by some supercilious cretin who thinks he can prescribe and proscribe for the rest of us.
    “The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what the Constitution means, then no one can know whether any other law conforms to it. At that point, all that matters is the will of whoever’s in power. And that’s an exact definition of tyranny.
    “Washington was against it. Jefferson was against it. Jackson was against it. All of these men rose to the office of president. I am against it, and I seek the same office. The rest is for the voters to decide.”

At a guess, Gentle Reader, how many of our elected representatives in Washington would you say care about the knowability of the law -- and in which direction?

2. Yet Another Ukase.

Sarah Noble comments on Obama's latest Imperial Decree:

By Imperial decree, President Obama has issued a new immigration rule. From here on, foreign spouses, parents and children of American military members will be given legal status.

Military is defined as active-duty military, reservists and veterans.

The newly-legal family members will be put on the dole for health care, education and survivor benefits, and they will receive a Social Security number and a driver’s license. With a license, they will be able to register to vote and, though illegal, there will be few who will check.

The rule is called parole in place. It was not submitted to or approved by Congress, and the regulations were not published in the Federal Register, which allows for public comment prior to a rule taking effect.

This arbitrary assumption of power to rewrite immigration and naturalization law isn't Obama's first. Inasmuch as he can't plausibly be suspected of having much interest in the military or the well-being of America's men at arms, there must be some other reason. But what?

To these eyes, it looks like a "camel's nose under the tent flap." This is Obama's first sally at decreeing legal resident status for persons who are in the U.S. illegally. As such, it was a good choice, for the military is the only component of the federal edifice for which ordinary Americans have much respect. Opposition to Obama's proclamation will be countered with a modified version of the Compassion Gambit: "Don't you care about our men at arms and their families?" But should this be accepted, it will become easier for Obama to bring ever more illegal aliens under the shelter of his wings, by using almost exactly the same rationale.

Given the state of our mechanisms for combating election fraud, those illegals will be able to vote in most states. Food for thought.

3. Mankind Is At The Bottom Of The EPA's Totem Pole.

Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes notes recent EPA shenanigans:

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finalized new rules that would impose a dramatic reduction in sulfur in gasoline and tailpipe emissions, as the oil and gas industry warned the regulations would lead to more pain at the pump.

In the works for years, the rules require refineries to cut sulfur levels in gasoline by about two-thirds by 2017. Less sulfur in gasoline makes it easier for a car’s pollution controls to effectively filter out emissions, resulting in cleaner air, the EPA says. For car manufacturers, stricter limits on tailpipe emissions will require engineering changes so that cars weed out more pollution....

But the American Petroleum Institute pointed to studies it has commissioned estimating that the limits would actually add 6 cents to 9 cents a gallon to refiners’ manufacturing costs while requiring $10 billion in capital costs.

The EPA was taken over long ago by ideological enviro-fascists, the majority of whom are actively hostile to human prosperity, and in some cases to human life itself. EPA rules concerning "the protection of endangered species" have been used to thwart every sort of human undertaking. EPA rules concerning "clean air" -- a completely undefined term, when you think about it -- are being used to make it ever harder for Americans to heat and light their homes or fuel their cars.

There will come a time when EPA employees will have to hide their occupations for the sake of their own safety. Fewer and fewer of us are wealthy enough to cope with the steady increase of the burdens placed upon us in the name of "the environment." Americans have sat still for too much nonsense already, including an artificially created drought in the most important farming region in the United States: California's Imperial Valley.

There are plenty of trees, and plenty of rope. All that's lacking is sufficient will to round up the "guests of honor" and drag them to the party.


Anonymous said...

I agree and add that you could make the same statement about the 2nd amendment. The constitution is so clear about private ownership of guns not being infringed, and that means not infringed by any of the three separate branches of government. The congress cannot pass laws usurping the constitution, the executive branch cannot without law usurp the constitution and the judicial branch cannot rule against the constitution. Virtually all of the federal, state and local laws that limit the 2nd amendment are unconstitutional, period!

Malcolm Hays said...

The EPA, along with other Federal agencies, seems like it wants to rewrite the laws of physics and chemistry to suit its needs. Does it ever even occur to them that "sulfur free" gasoline (presumably their ideal fuel if they *must* resort to fossil fuels) may not even by physically possible? What's next? 100% pure ethanol in the tanks? Government wants to re-write reality by fiat, but physics will ALWAYS win in the end! How many people will suffer and die to prove this point?

William Stout said...

There are many in Congress who bear an unadulterated hatred of the U.S. Constitution. Progressives hate the document precisely because it limits their power. Roe v. Wade is an excellent example of the mental contortions that the left resorts to in an effort to bypass the document. Can't find a way around a guaranteed protection? Not a problem, just resort to international law or create a synthetic pretext to support your position. Of course, a strict interpretation of that document would preclude this foolishness, but that is exactly why the left consistently argues for a loose interpretation. As Sumner says, "If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what the Constitution means, then no one can know whether any other law conforms to it." And the leftist sleight of hand is revealed. That is exactly why the loose interpretation approach is not only wrong, but dangerous.

Add to this that the left has been stacking the courts, legislation from the bench, and a complicit legislature, and you have a finely crafted weapon to slaughter liberty. By removing the American citizen from the legislative process you arrive at a point where tyranny is inevitable. It will continue to hide it's true face, but it is never the less a brutal jackboot pressed down roughly on the throat of a helpless populace. But Republics do not die from violence, they die because the laws upon which they are founded are reinterpreted to empower an individual or group of individuals.

Make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here.

Mark Philip Alger said...

Dear Peggy;

It never was.

See John Marshall in Marbury vs Madison.