Roger Pilon writes a detailed column on the history of the constitution this morning. In it, a quote from Henry Waxman (D-CA30) regarding the new rule that bills put before Congress will have to cite which part of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to legislate them reads, “Whether it is constitutional or not is going to be whether the Supreme Court says it is.” In other words, Congressman Waxman, a member of the Congressional body since 1975, thinks Congress should pass whatever it likes, and then let the court system slowly grind it down if it happens to be unconstitutional. He would rather let Americans pay billions of dollars to litigate legislation that has passed Congress to judge its constitutionality.
That type of attitude is exactly what Nancy Pelosi was displaying when she told Americans they needed to pass Obamacare in order to find out what was in it. Now, the bill is undergoing a courtroom body-slam in the style of a Pay Per View wrestling match. It seems to me that Congress and the president could have saved Americans from viewing this torturous show if they had duly noted where the power of each section of Obamacare came from in the constitution. There would surely have been pieces of the bill for which they found no authority, and would have been left out (more appropriately the entire bill lacked constitutionality).
Does the Supreme Court have the final say on all bills’ constitutionality, yes, of course. But, does that mean Congress can’t aim toward the constitution in its bill writing and save Americans time, money, and freedom? Absolutely not. It should be thus and will be in the 112th Congress.
Mr. Pilon also quotes Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA4) as saying the new rule about citing constitutionality is “an air kiss they’re blowing to the tea party,” referring to GOP leadership. Mr. Frank is also a very experienced legislator, having been in Congress since the early Mesozoic Era. One would think that by now he would have learned that Congress gets it power from the constitution, not the other way around.
Andrew C. McCarthy writes at National Review that new congressman must “act, not just go with the Potomac flow.” That’s true. For too long new Congressmen have entered the House of Representatives, and been lured away by handouts from special interests and committee seats in return for favors.
McCarthy hammers incoming House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman, Fred Upton, a liberal Republican to whom incoming House Speaker Boehner gave the job. Upton believes in man-made global warming and wants to use congressional power to stop it. Perhaps he will be able to find a place in the constitution that authorizes the job-killing, useless, cap and trade legislation that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been pushing for during the 111th Congress. But probably not.