Tuesday, September 28, 2010

GOP 'Pledge to America' Looks Unlikely to Inspire - Newsweek

Newsweek (no surprise there) offers possibly the dumbest piece of political commentary ever committed to paper (or pixel).
Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary.
Simply mind-boggling. One would think that it would be at least benign, if not actually beneficial, to have Congress think about the constitutionality of legislation before passing it, rather than doing whatever the hell they feel like doing and passing the buck to the courts to protect the constitution, a task at which they've notably failed on many occasions. And it's difficult to see how a pledge by a group of Congresspeople to refrain from passing unconstitutional legislation is somehow "dangerous as a mere suggestion." Indeed, the idea that Congress would not assess the constitutionality of legislation before passing it is a far more dangerous suggestion, as that institution has demonstrated. Repeatedly. And the idea that there's any conceivable way to read this as a "encroachment on the judiciary" is just silly. One might as easily say that a bank robber's decision to retire from a life of crime somehow constitutes "an encroachment" on the police or an obese person's diet is "an encroachment" on McDonald's.

As to the idea that the "mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation...is the independent judiciary," one wonders whether the author is aware of the oath of office that each member of Congress takes:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
As I say, the column was exactly what you'd expect from Newsweek. I included the link, but I'd have to advise you not to click and follow it. I read it so you don't have to...

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