10/07/2008

I am a Constitution Voter

Apparently, I'm a bit late to this, but I thought I'd share it anyway. The ACLU is hosting a petition drive that I quite like. By signing the petition, you agree to this pledge:



            • I believe that no one -- including the President -- is above the law.
            • I oppose warrantless spying.
            • I believe that government officials, no matter how high-ranking, should be held accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
            • I believe that the Constitution protects every person's rights equally -- no matter what they believe, how they live, where or if they worship, and whom they love.
            • I reject the notion that we have to tolerate violations of our most fundamental rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
            • I am deeply committed to the Constitution and expect our country's leaders to share and act on that commitment -- every day, without fail.
            Now, these are very topical, and I like them all, but they are a bit... pointed, shall we say. I'd be happier if they added some more timeless ones. For instance,
            • I believe that, in accordance with the 10th Ammendment, the federal government's actions are restricted to those specifically listed in the Constitution, and that the interstate commerce clause does not give congress carte blanche to control everything goddamn thing it sees.
            or
            • I believe that when the members of one branch (say, the legislative) attempt to delegate one of their powers (say, the power to declare war) to another branch (say, the executive), that their attempt should be struck down and a suitable punishment should be applied.

            But, the list of points is a fine thing, as far as it goes, and I'm proud to sign on. Objections to any of the points are welcome in comments!

            PS: Russ Feingold held hearings in September on essentially this same topic. He's calling it Restoring the Rule of Law. He pitched it as a means of generating a blueprint for the next President to restore executive respect for the Constitution and the law. I doubt he's be asking for veto on spending laws not authorized by the Constitution, but you take what you can get. A quote from Russ:

            "As we celebrate the 221st anniversary of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, I want the next president – whoever that may be – to pledge his commitment to restoring the rule of law. It is a sad fact that for the past seven and a half years the Bush Administration has treated the Constitution and the rule of law with a disrespect never before seen in the history of our country. The years that follow this president’s shameful legacy will be the true test of the strength of our democracy."

            Wouldn't it be cool if the right and the left both started hammering on each others' unconstitutional actions and we ended up with a federal government that operated within the bounds of the Constitution? And also if Santa brought me a pony this year?

            3 comments:

            Nemo said...

            Perhaps you may have been on to something before the rule of FDR. After FDR threatened the to stack the Supreme Count with his minions if they did not go along with his clearly unconstitutional plans, the point is moot. Since then, the Supreme Court can justify any law (and any violation) by exclaiming that the Constitution is a "Living Document". They have discarded the rule of law and substituted the rule of man (all bow to your 9 headed king.) It is worth noting that the ACLU has throughly embraced this judicial philosophy when it suits them.

            I would still have trouble with this petition even if the premise (The Constitution is static and absolute) were not so critically flawed. The ink on the Constitution was barely dry when one for the founding fathers violated it. The Louisiana purchase, certain acts by Lincoln, and other technical violations did more to preserve the Union, and by extension our civl liberties, than the ACLU ever did.

            Nemo said...

            Sorry about the the misspellings in the previous post (Count = Court, threatened the to = threatened to). It was early, I was taking a break from a very ugly algorithm. Anyway, sorry for the errors. Gotta love the word "minions" though. I need some minions. How cool would it be to point to a foe and cry,"Minions! Seize him!" or maybe just send them out to fetch beer.

            The Fishmonger said...

            nemo, I can agree with you on some of that. I mean, we're a long way from Constitutional government now, and I'm not sure we'd survive a rapid transition. But I'd like to see us moving in that direction.

            As far as the supreme court being "king" (and I think the presence of the Supreme Court has done more good than harm)- what does that make a president who feels free to ignore them,? Emperor? Demi-god?

            PS: I totally agree on the minions thing. Tried to train up TheGirl to be one for me, but I appear to have failed. I blame the meddling influence of TheWife. And though i"ve lost my chance to train TheGirl to be one, I still have high hopes that TheBoy will one day be doing my seizing... at least seizing me a beer fromthe fridge, if nothing else. (ok< this interface is suddenly acting up _ better publish)

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