The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Obama with egg on his face

As I said in an earlier post, President Obama (who, by the way, I have found out was not a professor of constitutional law, but merely a senior lecturer, a far less exalted academic title) made the remark that a Supreme Court overruling of “a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress” would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step.” Now, considering that ever since 1803 the Supreme Court has been recognizing that the Constitution trumps “law[s] that [were] passed by… a democratically elected Congress” (and the majority that passed PPACA was hardly “strong” — it was 7 votes in a House of 435 members!), it would seem that Pres. Obama's knowledge of constitutional law is rather deficient. (It would be deficient, even for someone who did not teach it at a law school!)

And he was called on it. A judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Jerry Smith, ordered the Department of Justice to submit a three-page, single-spaced memo stating the administration's position on judicial authority to invalidate unconstitutional laws in response to the president's rather hostile comments. Attorney General Eric Holder filed that memo Thursday, which included the words: “The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute.”

Interestingly, while the Obama Administration conceded this point, some liberal lawyers (such as Laurence H. Tribe) think it was Judge Smith who overstepped the bounds. I guess Tribe could not see in Obama's words what most people did — a challenge to the Court's right to void the PPACA if they saw it as unconstitutional. I wonder what planet Tribe lives on!

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