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Posts tagged ‘United States Constitution’

Another lesson from south of the border

As virtually everyone knows by now, there are significant threats of a government shutdown in the US. The basic guts around it is that the US government will run out of funds for daily operations as no appropriations bill has been passed (as of yet). The reason there is no appropriations bill passed is because the GOP wants to defund the Affordable Care Act, and therefore makes defunding it one of the strings it has attached to get what it wants. And there is also the debt ceiling on the way.

Do I agree that the above is irresponsible, petty, partisan, reckless, and obstructionist? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. But guess what, it is perfectly legal. Article 1, Section 5 of the United States Constitution says (in part) the following:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

In other words, filibusters, refusing to fund the government, and so on, are all allowed by the rules the two Houses of the United.

Therefore, this means that another takeaway from the (likely) US Government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis is that the rules of operation should be amended to prevent the above obstructionism and hostage-taking from being allowed to occur.

Shut up because the views must be the same

A guest blogger at the Volokh Conspiracy is doing a series of posts about treaties and the United States’ Congress’ powers and the ability to enforce them.

Rather than offer my own views on that subject (which is way beyond my expertise, in part because IANAL), I’ll instead draw attention to a curious contradiction among many in the religious right wrong. In concerns the United States’ Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), which reads as follows:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The people in the religious right wrong use this section to argue that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if ratified by the US Senate, will somehow threaten “parental rights” or homeschooling or other such stuff. (As every other country [except Somalia, which hasn’t signed] shows, such claims are nonsense, but showing why is beyond the scope of this post). In other words, they are required to believe that any international treaty overrules whatever laws are in force in the US, even if Congress legislating in that area would be ultra vires (beyond its powers).

The religious right wrong also believe that the US is founded as a Christian nation. This is in spite of the Treaty of Tripoli, which the US Senate unanimously ratified over two centuries ago. The relevant section is Article 12, which reads as follows (spelling and wording in original):

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In other words, the religious right wrong believes that treaties overrule law when they provide rights to children, but not when they refute the Christian nation myth.

Those two positions are contradictory. One cannot rationally believe both. If they truly believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli does not apply, then they can forever shut up about the UNCRC overruling any other law and threatening parental rights. If, by contrast, they believe that the UNCRC does overrule other laws, they then can shut the fuck up about the US being founded as a Christian nation.

Reactionary

A certain American reactionary suggests or implies that, according to him, women have no right to contraception.

This is probably the best reason to vote for Obama in the 2012 US Presidential election. Although he has been disastrous in other respects, when it comes to his Supreme Court nominees Obama has been fantastic. If the Republican nominee wins more reactionaries will be appointed, and they will be sure to roll back the rights of women and others.

How the GOP wants to change the US constitution

The United States Republican Party has suggested up to twelve different ways to amend the US Constitution. They range from downright loopy to unnecessary, to done wrong. To be truthful, I actually agree with the intent behind one of them. They, in order and with commentary, are after the jump.

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Wingnut lawyer screws up on camera

If you happen to have food or drink on your desk, you better put it aside as you’ll surely spill it watching a video this burning stupid. Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars, this video shows Andrew Schlafly, son of one of the most execrable Serena Joys out there, arguing in the New Jersey Supreme Court that the United States Constitution allows the recall of federal office–holders.

In case you’re unaware, the qualifications for in the US Congress can be found in Article I, Section 5. A careful reading of that section reveals that provisions for recall are nowhere to be found, even though procedures for expulsion are present. As Schlafly is a conservative, he would undoubtedly argue that there is no right to privacy in the US Constitution (thereby justifying snooping into everyone’s sex lives), because it not explicitly mentioned. And here is Schlafly asking a different court to do the same thing.

Lastly, Schlafly is the founder of Conservapedia, a so–called “encyclopedia” that is ignorant, creationist, closed–minded, biased, and that reminds conservatives ignorant wingnuts that they are not only entitled to their own opinions, but also to their own facts. Not like you needed another reason to distrust conservapedia.

Updated to fix formatting problem.

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