Presidential Powers and the Constitution

Johnathan Turley

Well THAT was ASTOUNDINGLY interesting!

I just watched the House Judiciary Committee hearing on presidential powers and The Constitution. Among the panel of witnesses of Constitutional professors and experts was Professor Johnathan Turley who I am ashamed to admit I knew very little of until today, despite his site being the source from which some of my own readers have come AND having read a great deal more from him than I ever even realized until today. For that I offer my apologies to Professor Turley and I’m happy to say I’ve learned that clicking on the “Bio” button on a blog may be worth the effort.

The other witnesses on the panel today were Nicholas Rosenkrantz professor of law at the Georgetown Law Center, Simon Lazarus Senior council with The Constitutional Accountability Center and Michael Cannon Cato Institute Director of Health Policy Studies.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I can get rather wordy and may sometimes put too much effort into summarizing video, audio and written transcripts of events like this. In my defense, the things I write about and my desire to have these issues widely proliferated are usually so important to me that I tend to rehash even the most minute of details knowing that the vast majority of Americans are so disinterested or have such little patience that they’ll likely not submit themselves sitting through over 3 hours of congressional hearings. In this case however, I MUST make an exception.

I STRONGLY urge everyone reading this to find time, even if you do so in 15 minute chunks over the course of several days, to watch THE ENTIRE HEARING.

I can’t even begin to go into detail as to what was discussed, disclosed and even dodged for fear of spending the next 6 hours reiterating EVERY DETAIL of the hearing. Please, just watch it and find out for yourself why IA Congressman Steve King referred to this hearing as the most interesting and relevant of his entire congressional career or why GA Congressman Doug Collins called it the most “disturbing” hearing he had ever attended.

So why bother writing at all? Why not simply post a link to the video and suggest everyone go view it? Well, it comes down to what I personally found to be one of the most interesting, relevant, disturbing AND telling aspects of the entire ordeal; That being the fact that after finishing with all their foaming and frothing at the mouth in their petty attacks against the GOP, the entire Democrat side of the committee chamber was vacated. Having taken all their cheap, petty jabs, ignoring their responsibility to their constituents and demonstrating either their lack of understanding of or refusal to hold one of their own accountable for his Constitutional requirement to execute his responsibilities as clearly outlined and originally intended, they simply walked out as the remaining GOP representatives continued to question the panel of witnesses.

Democrat congressman Steve Cohn didn’t even bother arriving for the hearing until all the other Democrats had left. When he DID finally decide to bless the committee with his presence it was clear he only even bothered due to one of the early departing Democrats telling him the word “impeachment” had been uttered. Mr. Cohn walked in, was given the floor and commenced to grill the panel on the raising of the issue of impeachment and in so doing made it quite clear that his claim that he had heard the discussion of impeachment while following the hearing on a video feed was a lie as he had NO IDEA who had been involved in the discussion nor what had been said. After the members of the panel had brought Mr. Cohn up to speed on all he had missed, Cohn asked each of them if in their opinions Bush had ever committed an impeachable offense and then he left.

Herein lies the problem with our current Federal train wreck. And it’s not just in this particular hearing that I’ve seen this type of UBER-PARTISAN, petty trifling. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform seem just as disinterested in doing the jobs they’ve been tasked with and far more concerned with offering blind faith in the administration as they BLATANTLY work to marginalize and silence all with whom they disagree.

It’s a scathing indictment against we the people and our collective political apathy that disingenuous narratives like “the party of no” and “Congressional Republicans are ‘OBSTRUCTIONISTS’” ever even see the light of day with all of the facts so easily accessible to each and every one of us, if only we’re concerned enough to look and listen.

Oh and uh Professor Turley, if you’re reading this you should know that my son has been set on attending Georgetown for his law degree after finishing with his degree in business next year however we’re now taking a closer look at George Washington University thanks to you. 🙂

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Mass Confusion Over The Second Amendment

The Constitution specifically names areas in which the Federal government MUST NOT infringe upon the rights of American citizens.

This is a point that most present day Americans are woefully unaware of. However, a simple reading of The Constitution leaves little doubt.

The 2nd amendment specifically states; 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.”

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…” seems to imply that the government should have no power to restrict private access to weaponry up to the point where the private citizens and The State find themselves on an even technological playing field. This of course would open the door to private ownership of advanced weapons systems such as tanks, aircraft carriers and ICBMs. Obviously due to national security among other concerns, this would not work well.

However, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, is far less dubious. This is a directive to the Federal government to stay out of the business of regulating arms to the citizens. 

So how then do the citizens of America provide for their own security against an oppressive government that is better trained and equipped? Clearly, one way to ensure our security is to be as well equipped as national security concerns will allow. So where is that mark? What is “as well equipped as possible” while still not posing national security risks? Where do we draw the line?

Current opposition to gun ownership tends to draw the line around what THEY consider necessary for hunting. This is a flawed approach as hunting and providing for a well regulated militia have NOTHING in common. They also like to draw the line at the point at which weapons are clearly created solely for the purpose of killing other people. Again, this approach is flawed unless it’s conceivable that the founders believed America might someday face attack from a force of something other than humans.

Freedom is not free. Civilizations throughout history have learned the hard way that our leaders are not necessarily always driven to serve the people. Often world leaders have sought to serve their religion, their twisted ideological aspirations for world domination and their own greed and thirst for power. In each of these instances civilizations caught totally unprepared for a sudden swing toward tyrannical government oppression have been quickly killed or enslaved. Those more equipped to defend their way of life have always been and will continue to be a thorn in the side of any potentially oppressive regime. Our founding fathers were well aware of this fact having just defeated England with an army of farmers and shop owners.  

We shouldn’t think that our liberties were secured for all time by a bunch of dead guys back in 1787. Especially with so many apparently willing to pick and chose which  rights they like and wish to keep and which rights they would like to have repealed for all based strictly on their personal beliefs. Those who chose not to own firearms are free to not purchase them. Our Constitution guarantees them that right. Those who chose to own firearms with which to hunt, sport and if the alarms are ever raised, answer the call to protect the freedom and sovereignty of the United States against whatever enemy might threaten it have the right to do so. Our Constitution guarantees that right and strictly forbids the Federal Government from infringing upon that right.

The bottom line on the gun rights argument is that like it or not, the right to own firearms is protected by our Constitution. Not only is that right protected along with the rights to free speech, to worship as you like, to peacefully assemble in public, to a fair trial, etc, but The Constitution itself was clearly written in such a way so as to make clear the document’s intent to restrict the Federal Government from imposing on the personal lives of all Americans. The Constitution was never intended to be a document with which to control the people. The Constitution was intended to ensure the unique liberties America offers her citizens are respected and upheld by the Federal Government. It does so by specifically detailing limitations on government intrusion into the lives of American citizens.  

 

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This famous quote has often been misquoted with the words “and are destined to lose both,” thrown in at the end. I’m not sure who originally modified Mr. Franklin’s common sense assessment but I truly wish the addition had been from the original quote as history has shown this statement to be remarkably accurate.

 

Those who would give up their 2nd Amendment rights have stepped over a line from which there’s little hope they’ll return. Once we devalue our rights and liberties to the point at which we allow government to give or take whatever they see fit they’ll do exactly that. Future leaders will have little trouble convincing a people of this slave like mindset to give up all that The Constitution guarantees as long as the politically illiterate can be convinced that doing so will somehow benefit them.

A win for Christians and The Constitution

I’m reading an Associated Press article via Yahoo reporting on a San Antonio school district that appealed a federal judge’s decision to ban
prayer at a Medina school district graduation ceremony. Check it out here: http://beta.news.yahoo.com/apnewsbreak-court-lifts-ban-graduation-prayer-214401289.html

To be honest, I’m somewhat stunned at what I’ve just read. It seems the rights of Christians to pray in public have actually been upheld in this case. I say it’s about time there were an instance in which the religious freedoms of a Christian were actually considered.

There’s not much to dispute in that the vast majority of these cases end up with the Christian being screwed over through the twisting of Constitutional rights meant to ensure the freedoms of ALL Americans.

Though I’m sure there have been a few radical exceptions, I can’t remember a single instance in which public prayer by any other faith had been protested by Christians. Going further, I can’t recall an instance when any other faith has protested Christian prayer in public. The problems always seem to come from the agnostics and atheists who inexplicably direct all their scrutiny toward Christians.

Ok, I get it and that’s fine. Honestly, I have no stake in the issue either way other than the fact that the utter idiocy of the claims of the protesters tends to insult my intelligence and their whole “whiney” demeanor repulses me. But I can’t find a shred of credibility in the incessant cries of “unconstitutionality” concerning all things Christian while some of these same intellectual children seek to promote all other forms of faith and spirituality at all costs.

I simply can’t understand why we, the American people, allow these pathetic little cry baby Christ haters to dictate our Constitutional rights to us.

The Constitution of the United States of America never states but does imply a separation between religion and the state. Meaning the two are to remain separate entities. Nowhere does The Constitution imply the state’s right to infringe upon the free practice of worship for those with whom you simply disagree. In fact the entire document is dedicated to outlining our unique American freedoms and informing the government that those liberties are off limits to their meddling.

If a hell of a lot of us don’t figure out how this whole freedom thing was intended to work we WILL lose it. Anyone so ignorant as to think that only the Christians or gun owners or those with whom they disagree on a particular social issue will be stripped of their rights, are not only a detriment to the survival of freedom in America but also sadly mistaken.