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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Whats wrong with the Supreme Court?

This last week of June has been a controversial one for the Supreme Court. Their decision that corporations are equal to individuals as well as saying that Congress has the authority to force individuals to buy a certain product through threat of fines has made it seem like the Court no longer uses the Constitution or any of the Federal Convention notes as a means to keep the original intent of our Founders alive.What does the Constitution say in regards to these two cases? In Article 3 it describes what the Supreme Court can have jurisdiction over. This means that if the Court wants to hear the case then it can do so according to Section 2. However, there are many instances in which the Court has ruled against the Constitution or did not get involved when they should have. In 1798 the Federalists (those Founders who wanted a strong central government) passed a set of Acts called the Alien and Sedition Acts in order to suppress the voice of the Anti-Federalists (those founders who wanted a Bill of Rights and a limited central government). These acts caused division among the Federalists with James Madison saying, "It would seem a mockery to say that no laws should be passed for preventing publications from being made, but that laws might be passed for punishing them in case they should be made."(The Virginia Report 1800) The Supreme Court failed to bring these Acts for judicial review as that power was not established until 1803 in Marbury v. Madison. In 2001 Congress passed another Act that once again expanded government power and defied the Bill of Rights. This Act is the Patriot Act and it violates the 1st,4th and 6th amendments. So far the Supreme Court has not brought this for judicial review yet. It is no surprise then that the Court once again failed to act as a check on the system when looking at Citizens United and Affordable Car Act better known as Obamacare. The Citizens United bill would have put restrictions on how corporations could corrupt or influence the political system. The Court failed to overturn their previous decision by saying that corporations have the same rights as individuals and therefore can contribute to political campaigns. This enables them to offer huge amounts of money that most Americans and small business' can not match giving the corporations the ability to bribe the politicians. This in turns gives the politicians an excuse to turn a blind eye towards illegal activities and towards their constituents. Sen. Bernie Sanders said it best when he said, "As a result of the Supreme Courts' refusal to reconsider its decision in Citizens United, we are rapidly moving toward a nation of the super-rich, by the super-rich, and for the super-rich. That is not what America is supposed to be about." Thomas Jefferson even warned what could happen if corporations were allowed to influence campaigns when he wrote "“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." We have started to see this happen with how the big banks are foreclosing on millions of homes, some of those illegally. The Courts' decision on Obamacare is sadly not surprising in that these nine unelected individuals seemed to forget the how to keep laws moral and what the Constitution says. Laws, in order to be moral must defend individual Rights (life, liberty, property). To use law offensively as is the case here, is to convert law into a social engineering or to legalize plunder. How is this social engineering? By declaring that government can force you to buy a product it is teaching future generations that there is no limit to governments power and that not even the Constitution will be regarded as law. This legalizes plunder by forcing you to buy products from a company thereby reducing the amount of money available to your family. This is the same type of tyranny that the Founding Fathers faced with the British Stamp Acts. However, the Court declared this Act constitutional because it was a tax and congress has the authority to tax. There is just one problem with that assessment, the 16th amendment clearly states that taxes can only be levied on incomes, no matter the source. So if you are buying something, this would fall under a States Right issue as Congress does not have the authority to levy taxes on individuals purchasing products (a sales tax) according to Article 1 Section 9 clause 4. The Court also claims that the Congress has this power because its regulating commerce but Article 1 Section 8 clause 3 says that Congress can only regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the States (to prevent them from taxing goods to heavily from other States) and the Indian tribes, not individuals. Another clause from the Constitution that is being used to support this Act is the general welfare clause. James Madison warned America of the possible abuse of this clause by saying, "If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. ... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America." How can America go about fixing unconstitutional laws written by a power hungry Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court? Nullification is the answer. Thomas Jefferson argued that States have the right to nullify Federal laws that violate the Constitution in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts.In 1798, Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolutions that said because the Constitution was a treaty between the several States that only gave certain limited powers to the federal government, any power not given but used was null and void.He also warned that Congress could not use the necessary and proper clause for anything it wanted as that would destroy the point of the document.These two cases can be nullified by the respective States, but only if the People put pressure on their local governments to set an example and follow the law.

2 comments:

  1. Overall I agree with your points and you won't get a disagreement out of me regarding the Patriot Act. I also agree there are fundamental issues with corporations being engaged in the political process as well, but with laws restricting individual contributions it is an evil we live with unless we amend the Constitution.

    The ACA decision has a lot of conservatives and libertarians upset because the Supreme Courts taxing power is limitless. First let's look at what was gained. Congress' spending authority was reigned in...the federal government can no longer withhold existing funding from states if they choose not to comply with a law, a back door to nullification & the Commerce Clause after 80 years of being eroded by progressive courts cannot compel activity in a market...both victories for liberty.

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  2. Now let's examine what we all hated about the decision. First it wasn't overturned.

    Second the majority stated that congress has unlimited authority to levy taxes. I've read a lot of blogs on this point and most site examples that you stated as well. But in this case, I feel Chief Justice Roberts may be correct. Based on Article One of the Constitution section 8 clause one and section 9 clause four, the taxing authority of Congress is limited. However the 16th Amendment removes voids section 9 clause four and taxes do not have to be apportioned among the states. Essentially we the people granted Congress this power to tax income from any source derived.

    Simply put repeal the 16th Amendment and the ACA, forced participation in Social Security & Medicare as well as other intrusions by the Federal Government away. That's my two cents.

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