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The US Constitution is not just a set of guidelines, it is law. This is not simply a matter of opinion, it's written into the Constitution itself. Article 6, Section 2 of the Constitution states:
"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;"
The Supreme Court's 2015 decision on Gay marriage is absolutely right, and Justice Kennedy correctly referred to the 14th Amendment, although he argued rhetoric. This issue is addressed by the US Constitution, and that is what the Court should be quoting, not personal opinion or rhetoric. The dissenting opinions were totally unprofessional and irresponsible. Justice Roberts stated “This has no basis in the Constitution”. Justice Alito said it is a “constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine”. Well, the 14th Amendment states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”, and “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. That includes marriage laws. If the states are going to legislate marriage, they must apply those laws equally, and they can not "abridge the privileges" of American citizens – they can not create legislation that only applies to specially chosen people or groups.
In 2015, President Obama entered discussions with Iran regarding nuclear weapons. Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution gives the President authority to “make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate”. That's the limit of the President's authority to form agreements with foreign entities. He has no derivative authority. He can't form personal treaties or agreements, they hold no legal authority without consent of 67% of the Senate. And... this is unconstitutional – illegal.
By intentionally pursuing a personal agreement with no intention of consulting the Senate, it also becomes a violation of the Presidential Oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States".
When we must make these choices, true leaders obey the Constitution and advocate an amendment, according to Article 5. They encourage "we the people" to allow this extra government power. They don't violate the 4th Amendment - with or without legislation.
Yes, the UN Small Arms Treaty does violate the U S Constitution, and President Obama is absolutely wrong to sign it.
This is not a complex argument. The 2nd Amendment says: "the right of the people" - not men, or militia members; "to keep and bear" - not just to own; "arms" - not only hunting or self-defense guns; and "shall not be infringed".
The last phrase is key. If you want to restrict gun ownership, amend the Constitution to allow it; as written, there are no restrictions.
The President is charged with enforcing the laws, he has no power to modify them. He can not issue executive orders describing how to enforce the laws, he can simply enforce them as written.
Regarding legislative power...
"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." - U S Constitution, Article 1, Section 1
And specifically regarding the powers enumerated to Congress...
"To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;" - U S Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4
And specific to the Presidency - the Oath of Office.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."U S Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8
The US Constitution is not a set of guidelines, it is written law.
"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" - U S Constitution, Article 6, Clause 2
Other than an amendment regarding Congressional pay increases, the Constitution hasn't been changed since 1971. Too much recent legislation has been justified based on "common sense", or passed with a minimum majority. Is it time to force compromise by requiring a 60% vote for passage? At a time when professional politicians are serving 30-40 years, is it time to force term limits?
Yes, Obama can make recess Appointments:
"The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session." - U S Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 3
But... he doesn't have authority to claim a recess is in effect:
"Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting." - U S Constitution, Article 1, Section 5, Clause 4
Recess is decided by agreement between the House and the Senate.
No, the NSA can not track our phone calls, emails, and internet usage. These actions are "unreasonable searches" - based on no "probable cause" or search warrant.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. " 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights
Put simply, the U. S. Government has very limited powers. Originally the U. S. Constitution allowed the government broad powers due to ambiguity - "to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States". To provide for the general welfare of the United States allows the government to pass any legislation it wants. The 10th Amendment overwrote this clause.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights
This is the only statement in the U S Constitution about guns. Neither Federal, State, nor local laws overwrite it. This is not a complex issue.
Since there's a lot of misinformation about the recent shutdown, here's the basic timeline:
Mar 2013 - The House passes a Continuing Resolution - H.R.Res 59 - that defunds the ACA, no real discussions until late Sept.
Sept 28 - Real discussions finally start. The Senate amends the House C. R. to fund the ACA. The House responds by amending the Senate C. R. to delay the implementation of the ACA until Jan 2015 vs Jan 2014. The Senate rejects it and sends it back to the House. The House amends the Senate C. R. to delay the individual mandate the same as it was delayed for businesses. Also, all Congressional members, the President, and the Vice President must buy insurance from the ACA exchanges, without their current subsidies, since they are well above the subsidy level. It was rejected by the Senate and President Obama.
President Obama and Harry Reid shut down the government - intentionally - not House Republicans.
The Affordable Care Act is another issue of the limits to Federal power - only the states have the power to enact healthcare legislation.
Article 1, Section 8 delegates specific powers to the U. S. Government, universal healthcare is not included. The 10th Amendment limits federal authority to only those powers "delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States".
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 states the Federal Government shall have the power "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization".
Since the power to establish rules of naturalization is delegated to the Federal Government by the Constitution, it is a power that is reserved for the Federal Government.
© Don Thayer 2013. Steamboat Springs, CO.