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Here Comes the Judge December 18, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Judging that the mandate in President Obama’s Health Care bill is an unconstitutional expansion of the commerce clause, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck a blow for a commonsense approach to constitutional interpretation.  He further decided that words actually have meanings and are not merely place holders for future generations to use as they deconstruct the document meant to limit government into a document used to expand it.

Judge Hudson stated “At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”  In his well reasoned and well stated 42 page opinion, Hudson also said many things which have needed saying for quite some time.  After years of activist judges stretching our tortured Constitution from limiting the government to limiting the citizen it’s refreshing to see an American jurist proclaiming that the corruption of our fundamental charter is leading us towards the creation of an unlimited central government usurping the powers expressly reserved to the States and the people.

Several of his statements are so well worded and so important they deserve repeating by every patriot who has a voice:

According to Judge Hudson:

“Although the Necessary and Proper Clause vests Congress with broad authority to exercise means, which are not themselves an enumerated power, to implement legislation, it is not without limitation.”

“Every application of Commerce Clause power found to be constitutionally sound by the Supreme Court involved some form of action, transaction, or deed placed in motion by an individual or legal entity.”

“Although purportedly grounded in the General Welfare Clause, the notion that the generation of revenue was a significant legislative objective is a transparent afterthought.”

“The legislative purpose underlying this provision was purely regulation of what Congress misperceived to be economic activity.”

“[i]f a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type of economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then logically an attempt to enforce such a provision under the Necessary and Proper Clause is equally offensive to the Constitution.”

“The same reasoning could apply to transportation, housing, or nutritional decisions. This broad definition of the economic activity subject to congressional regulation lacks logical limitation and is unsupported by Commerce Clause jurisprudence….”

“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I….”

“The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers. At its core, the dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”

“[T]he Minimum Essential Coverage Provision appears to forge new ground and extends the Commerce Clause powers beyond its current high water mark.”

These are the type of words patriots have been waiting to hear from the bench!  These are the bold and direct statements needed to reaffirm the truth that the Constitution is meant to limit government not to enable it to run roughshod over the freedom and liberty of the people.  If the original document did not make this clear the Tenth Amendment states this fundamental truth clearly for all to hear, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

However gratifying it is to hear an American Judge stand up for American values we must keep this victory in perspective.  Two other Federal Courts have previously upheld the government mandate.  And one thing can be confidently predicted, all of these rulings will be appealed.

There is no effective way to bring pressure on a federal judge.  They are insulated by lifetime appointments.  Therefore, We the People cannot influence any of them and our opinion means nothing.  Although some desire for the procedure to be shortened, having the matter immediately brought before the Supreme Court, even that wouldn’t bring a definitive answer until well into the next election cycle.  And then the decision as to the continued freedom of American citizens to refrain from economic activity and the freedom of American citizens to make personal choices for themselves will be left up to nine individuals.

As the Anti-Federalists warned so many years ago in Brutus’s 15th essay; “The supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and subject to no control.” The essay continued to warn, “There is no power above them that can correct their errors or control their decisions.”  And, “The power of this court is in many cases superior to that of the legislature.”  Ultimately observing, “When great and extraordinary powers are vested in any man, or body of men, which in their exercise, may operate to the oppression of the people, it is of high importance that powerful checks should be formed to prevent the abuse of it.”  The ratification conventions of the States chose to ignore these powerful arguments; consequently, never has the freedom of so many rested upon the judgment of so few.  And, probably on a vote of 5 to 4 rests the fate of We the People and a limited government.

Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Since Some Don’t Worry About the Constitution We Should April 5, 2010

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One of the greatest challenges in teaching History is to convey the uniqueness in its conception of something that through the passage of time has become an accepted part of everyday life. When something has been around longer than we have it’s hard to realize that it wasn’t always there. It takes a conscious effort to understand that yesterday wasn’t today only earlier and tomorrow won’t be today only later. The permanence of the now is an illusion which helps us walk as if the shifting sands of our lives are really the solid shore of the sea of time.
When Americans organize anything of importance they immediately write a construction. In most cases American organizations include a president, vice-president, and a legislative type board. From the classroom to the boardroom from Main Street to Wall Street this is just the way we do things. The idea that there needs to be a written constitution is assumed. And looking at our history this only makes sense. For hundreds of years and for generation after generation we have lived lives of peace, prosperity and power under the shade of the most remarkable secular document to have ever come from the hand of man, the Constitution of the United States.
The birth of our Constitution shines as an almost miraculous event in the story of mankind. From the beginning of time might had always made right. One strong arm after another elbowed their way to center stage. Once there eventually their descendants grown fat on the plunder of the helpless became in turn plunder for the next strong arm. Those who managed through the passage of time to become fixtures in their culture reigned as monarchs saying God gave them a divine right to continue plundering those under their sway conveniently forgetting it was the strong arm of their less noble ancestors that slaughtered their way to the top. They may have arrived in chariots, but they were chariots of steel not fire.
A few centuries before the founding of the English colonies in America the people of England began to put limits on their king. They used violence and economics to wrest the guarantees of some basic individual rights, the recognition that the king was not absolute, and that there were some checks upon his power. The Magna Charta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights were snatched from the king’s chain-mailed fist. Through the passage of time they became the accepted rights of all Englishmen. And when our ancestors founded Virginia, the first among English colonies the charter granted by the king stated that those who came to the New World were granted all liberties, franchises and immunities as if they were abiding and born within England. The colonists believed this and acted accordingly. With loyalty to the King and Parliament they set about organizing the land. Local assemblies, republican in nature were democratically elected. And it was only when George III and his ministers seemed to have forgotten that the colonists had rights that Americans took up arms to secure those rights.
After the Revolution, when it came time to create a government the Framers turned to a written constitution. In the birth of nations this was something new. England does not have a written constitution. Ours was the first; a unique attempt to limit government in order to preserve liberty. Most constitutions in the world today model themselves after ours. And if their authors did not consciously model their written document after ours the very concept of a written constitution is of American origin.
This earth-shaking event has become mundane. This ground-breaking experience now seems so common it’s glossed over with the boring presentation of a high school history class, memorize some names and few dates, regurgitate it for a test and forget it. For the first time a people had founded a government of the people, by the people and for the people. And to ensure the tranquility and safety of the people they limited that government through the separation of power into three branches and the maintenance of a unique federal system of sovereign states united as one. This is the source and the summit of American greatness: the Constitution which established and maintained a limited government providing for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Using the ideals and moral standards of the present to interpret the past is known as Presentism. Using presentism as a lens, many citizens today believe the Constitution is a living document meant to be reinterpreted with each passing generation. Others echo the former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales point of view, “The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is.” Instead of changing the document through the established amendment process they believe they can change the document through court decisions, precedent and legislation.
Twenty-first century America has been called post-Christian, post-capitalist, and post-racial. I would suggest that if we continue on the path we’ve chosen the future may refer to twenty-first century America as post-constitutional. For if the leaders of the present can impose unconstitutional laws then we’ve ceased to have a government of laws and have instead a government of men. One Congressman summed up the arrogance of our leaders perfectly. When asked where in the Constitution he finds the authority to impose the burden of purchasing health care on the American people he answered, “I don’t worry about the Constitution.” Since he doesn’t we should.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

American Exceptionalism and a Can Do Attitude March 8, 2010

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Researching the national political scene could become depressing in an era when Progressives dedicated to fundamentally transforming America hold almost total control of the media and the government especially when they’re working hard to turn a recession into a depression. However, the Obama drama is like watching a slow-motion train wreck, if not inspiring at least it’s entertaining. Daily we’re assaulted by a Washington elite dedicated to proving Saturday Night Live never went far enough into satire to capture the nonsensical folly of our elected leaders.
Hourly our intelligence is insulted by people telling us they want to spend more money to lower the deficit and balance the budget as the deficit climbs higher and faster than ever before, and the national debt careens past satire into the theater of the absurd. Minute by minute we’re assaulted by news such as the self admitted Communist who was purged from the White House in the middle of the night is now an American Treasure. Or that the President’s long time pastor and mentor Rev. Wright recently honored Minister Louis Farrakhan the leader of the Nation of Islam with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer award. Is that the last trumpet I hear?
Suffice it to say the national scene in America today appears determined to prove one of Mark Twain’s less repeated quotes, “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”
Watching our leaders act as if Dilbert comic strips are their leadership manual it’s hard not to keep at least one eye out for Curley, Larry and Moe to dance in hitting each other with rubber hammers and spraying seltzer all over the place. Oh wait a minute that’s Pelosi, Reid and Rohm Emmanuel. If it wasn’t so tragic it’d be laughable to think these Chicago ward healers and their Progressive front men really believed they’d get away with hijacking a nation like it was a semi filled with flat screen TVs.
Concentrating on this every day could become depressing, but I realized long ago not to take it too seriously it all perishes with the using and it’s the things that won’t that are important. Besides, I look to my local government for a more realistic notion of how America is doing. The leaders I see are actually struggling to come to grips with the dire economic times we face. They aren’t charging it to the kids, taxing the citizens into poverty or begging for handouts from bloated state and federal governments. They’re making the hard, unpopular choices, cutting this and limiting that in order to maintain a balanced budget. Yes it’s hard work. Yes, it’s likely to lead to some of them not being re-elected. And yes, it’s what they volunteered for and what we chose them for.
In some areas this picture won’t match reality. In some places such as California, Illinois, Harrisburg PA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Los Angeles the Progressives who’ve controlled these places for generations desperately try to find new ways to plunder their citizens as they contemplate bankruptcy. However, no matter how the remaining proponents of ever expanding entitlements and pork barrel budgets try to prop up their house of cards there are daily more citizens who get it. Not one to profusely quote President Clinton I’m happy to recommend that we all repeat together, “The era of big government is over.” Our elected officials need to get it instead of following the lemmings over the cliff.
Yes this could get depressing but I believe in American Exceptionalism and a can do attitude. I believe that our history and our future have been and will be defined by our devotion to limited government and the liberty and opportunity this provides.
Throughout our history when the days looked the darkest Americans braved the icy Delaware to surprise the overconfident mercenaries. We surrounded the largest army of the greatest empire on earth at Yorktown and birthed freedom from oppression. After the professional soldiers of the former masters came in like a flood chasing the representatives of the people and burned our new capital we met them again on the way to New Orleans and handed them the greatest defeat their arms had ever suffered. When the dispute over slavery finally ruptured the wound which had festered since independence and other nations thought we would devour ourselves in a nightmare of blood and steel we rose from the ashes, re-united and became the greatest industrial power the world has ever known. When the Nazi and Fascists of the twentieth century thought they would rule for a thousand years America led the rest of the world in defeating them. When the Soviets and other Communists sought to crush freedom under their collective heel the United States held high the beacon of freedom.
Yes, no matter how out of fashion it may be with the media or the liberal establishment I believe in America Exceptionalism and the can do attitude of the American people. No matter how hard our progressive leaders try to grow our traditionally limited government into a cradle-to-grave welfare state I do not believe they’ll succeed in suffocating the light of liberty which burns bright in the breast of America. And since I’m quoting presidents today I want to end with President Ronald Reagan who told us, “A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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