Conservative Republicans Pushing to Strengthen Constitutionality Rule
It’s amazing to me that we even have to remind politicians that ALL of their legislation must fall within the constraints of the U.S. Constitution:
MILLER: Constitution 101:
Congress shows little knowledge of the document it swore to defend
By Emily Miller – The Washington Times
With any luck, the Supreme Court will soon declare Obamacare unconstitutional. Nevertheless, conservatives think it’s not a good idea to rely on the courts to prevent the next congressional overreach from becoming law. House Republicans did their best when they took over in January 2011 in adopting a rule requiring every bill to be justified by a constitutional-authority statement. So far, however, conservative members aren’t overly impressed with their colleagues.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) analyzes the constitutional statements for every bill and joint resolution introduced and sends out a weekly email highlighting the “most questionable.” Last week, it selected Rep. Andre Carson, Indiana Democrat, for justifying his bill to authorize the president to award a gold medal on behalf of Congress to boxer Muhammad Ali by citing irrelevant constitutional clauses, including the one giving Congress the right to set its governing rules and expel members.
Lack of knowledge of the Constitution is part of the problem, but so is the enforcement mechanism. The current rule is too vague, saying only that the statement should cite “as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution.” Mr. Garrett and the RSC are pushing for reforms that include requiring citation of the specific enumerated power authorizing a particular congressional action.
This would have prevented Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, from citing the preamble to the Constitution to justify the creation of a Department of Peace. The exact section and clause would have to be cited, stopping Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, from writing merely that Article 1 gave him the power to introduce a job-training bill in April.
Had then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi been forced to explain the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, the public might have seen through the Democratic power grab. It’s not too much to ask members to be able to articulate the legitimacy of their actions. Conservatives are right to strengthen the rule after the election. Making lawmakers become more familiar with our nation’s founding document is worth the fight.Explore posts in the same categories: Abuse of Power, politics, U.S. Constitution