The constitutional crisis started long ago
By Frank Salvato
web posted March 29, 2010
The cry that our country is in the midst of a "constitutional crisis" is heard frequently in our society but those who are making the claim at this particular point in time are correct. The United States Constitution and the entirety of the Charters of Freedom are under attack and the well-being of our country, nay, its very existence as the Framers intended, hangs in the balance.
Many are decrying the Progressive's passage of health care legislation as a perfect example of the crisis facing our country. They are citing Congress's bastardization of the Commerce Clause to mandate the purchase of health insurance by every US citizen, along with the legislation's usurpation of the 10th Amendment. In both cases they would be correct, if an accurate and honest interpretation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is employed.
Anyone who has digested the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers understands that the Framers intended for the US Constitution to set forth a limitation of powers for the federal government. In doing so the Framers meant to protect the rights of not only the States, but of the minority and the individual. The federal government's actions today have shattered those protections and take aim at the Constitution itself, challenging its charter as the "Law of the Land."
To briefly address the two main arguments being brought to the forefront:
The Commerce Clause, The Elastic Clause & The 10th Amendment
Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, or the Commerce Clause, reads:
"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;..."
A literal reading of this clause, as it relates to interstate commerce, empowers Congress to regulate commerce between the states. This was meant to establish the federal government as the final arbiter in interstate commerce disputes that would occur between the several States. It does not empower Congress with creating mandates that would enslave the citizenry to a monetary stipulation to legal citizenship.
In arguing congressional authority to expand on the Commerce Clause, many supporters of expanded congressional power in the federal couple the Commerce Clause with Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 – the Necessary & Proper Clause (or the Elastic Clause) – which reads:
"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."
Even when coupled together, it takes a twisted eye to read that there exists any constitutional authority for Congress to mandate that a citizen purchase anything to be deemed in legal standing. In fact, it takes a twisted eye – or a disingenuous and maniacal demeanor – to see any constitutional authority to impose regulations on the States or individuals that doesn't emanate from the States and individuals themselves.
When one correctly sees the US Constitution – the covenant between citizen and the government he created – as a document that not only outlines the scope of federal government but the limitations of its authority, we can fully understand that the "checks and balances" that each branch is supposed to provide in oversight to its equal but separate co-branches of government are meant to limit any over-reach of station.
To make certain that future legislators understood – in no uncertain terms – that the powers vested in the federal government by the people via the US Constitution were finite, the 10th Amendment was included in the original Bill of Rights:
"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."
Taking into account the fact that the Framers intended for the US Constitution to serve as a limitation of the power of federal government, when combined with the 10th Amendment it becomes an acutely elementary task to understand that the federal government has no constitutional authority to impose a "monetary requirement" for citizenship. Yet the Progressives in Congress and in the White House ignore these truths and so our country exists in constitutional crisis.
But this is really the lesser catalyst, the less critical reason that we find our country in constitutional crisis. The more potent threat to the US Constitution and to our nation comes in the form of federally elected officials who exist constitutionally illiterate.
When a reporter from CNS News asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (P-CA) where in the US Constitution Congress was granted authority to enact an individual health care insurance mandate, all Ms. Pelosi could respond with was:
"Are you serious?...Are you serious?"
This is – and I am being generous – an absurdly vacuous response to a legitimate question. Either Speaker Pelosi knew there is no constitutional authority to mandate individual health insurance coverage and was trying to avoid the question or she is so constitutionally illiterate that she didn't understand that the authority didn't exist. Either way, that Ms. Pelosi is Speaker of the House is alarming in that she was either ignorant to the fact or knowingly usurped the US Constitution.
Then we have US. Rep. John Conyers (P-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who, when asked what part of the Constitution he thought gives Congress the authority to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance, replied:
"Under several clauses...the good and welfare clause..uh...and a couple others. Ah...all the scholars, constitutional scholars that I know...I'm chairman of Judiciary Committee, as you know...they all say that there's nothing unconstitutional in this bill..."
The "good and welfare clause...and several others..."? Please...
Yet another example of the cancer of ignorance, that is constitutional illiteracy in federal government, is that it has gotten so malignant that the very liberties and freedoms guaranteed to the American people are being challenged by those we have elected to represent us in federal government.
When asked by a radio host if he was prepared to allow thousands more people to die because Progressive health care reform wasn't to take full effect until after Pres. Obama was to be out of office, US Rep. John Dingle (D-MI) said:
"...The harsh fact of the matter is that when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [sic] American people in different ways, it takes a long time to...to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people..."
Stunning. "...to control the people..."
Given that the federal government exists through the consent of the governed; that the federal government exists solely because the citizenry of the United States established the institution, I can think of only two reasons why such stunning idiocy would be forthcoming from a United States Congressman: 1) elitist and gross arrogance, or 2) blithering ignorance to the content of the Charters of Freedom. Either way, Mr. Dingle is unqualified to hold office for his lack of constitutional literacy.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that Progressive Leftists – both in an out of elected office – hold the US Constitution, the Charters of Freedom and the idea of individual liberty and freedom in contempt, the fact of the matter is that the scourge of constitutional illiteracy is rampant in the federal government and at every level of government. Political operatives have gotten so addicted to "winning" political battles that the principles and philosophies, the enumerated powers and the limitations of authority set forth in the US Constitution and the Charters of Freedom have become foreign to them, if not irrelevant altogether.
But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the bane of constitutional illiteracy is the fact that the citizens elected such unqualified people to elected office! To be constitutionally illiterate in the "Information Age" is to be derelict in your civic responsibility. To elect the constitutionally illiterate to office – especially because they promise you unearned wealth from the public treasury – is to commit an egregious act against the US Constitution, our nation and your fellow citizens.
The United State of America, today, exists in constitutional crisis. Our Republic, its charter documents and the philosophies used to create this nation are under siege. But I do believe that the need for freedom and liberty held within the human soul – held within the soul of every man, woman and child on the face of planet Earth – can and will overcome the purposeful oppression of the Progressive movement and the useful idiots who comprise the constitutionally illiterate among the elected class.
It is our duty as free men and women to champion the Charters of Freedom, to educate and reacquaint ourselves on the founding documents and the principles and philosophies used to forge them...and it is our duty, each of us, to educate, inform and advance the truth about the US Constitution and the philosophies of the Founders and Framers among our fellow citizens and neighbors. As civically responsible citizens, We the People no longer are afforded the luxury of non-engagement. It is time to do right by the Founders & Framers, the revolutionary patriots and the past generations who expended blood and treasure to secure liberty and freedom for our generation.
Our Republic will survive this constitutional crisis and overcome the tyrannical threat of the anti-capitalist Progressive movement.
I do believe.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at email@example.com.