Thursday, December 10, 2009

The people must be the SCOTUS at the ballot box

by Smitty

Great Blogs
The legal blogs like Power Line, The Volokh Conspiracy and Legal Insurrection are among the better reads in the shiny-tubes. When not a cure for insomnia, they often capture subtleties, are well written, and better organized than, say, effingconservatives.

VC had a pointer to a discussion at about the Constitutionality (rather, screaming lack thereof) of the 4-ream reaming of the American people currently contemplated by the Worst Congress Ever. Eugene Volokh points out a crucial judicial failure in the SCOTUS that has been an enabler of the current debacle over the last century:
The premise of much of the Court's expansive view of Congressional powers is deference to Congress. "In considering whether a particular expenditure is intended to serve general public purposes, courts should defer substantially to the judgment of Congress." "[W]e must defer to a congressional finding that a regulated activity affects interstate commerce "if there is any rational basis for such a finding," and we must ensure only that the means selected by Congress are '"reasonably adapted to the end permitted by the Constitution."'"
A Funny
I am reminded of an old Broadside cartoon that I don't have electronically. Jeff Bacon is a Scott Adams gone Navy, and the example in mind had three panels featuring a Submariner, a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO), and an aviator.
Bubble head: If it's not in the book, we can't do it.
SWO: If the book doesn't preclude it, we can do it.
Maverick: It is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

The Progressives have consistently pursued the cavalier 'Maverick' approach for the last century. The SCOTUS and the voters have supported it. Members of the House take an oath (item #3) when they show up to steallegislate. Apparently, that oath is as meaningful to them as Tiger Woods' wedding vows. The Congresscritters have been allowed, cheered, and consistently re-elected for putting the interests of their donors and constitutents ahead of doing The Right Thing. And the SCOTUS has said, in summary, over time: "Two tears in a bucket".

Funky Basketball
Your reward, Americans, for your century of slumber is the kind of European political class people fled ~400 years ago when the colonies were founded, and rebelled against ~230 years ago, in the form of the British crown.

The economic sodomy of chronic deficit spending has been treated casually by the National Funk Congress.

When an actual journalist asked that useless sack of a Speaker of the House if the healthcare debacle is Constitutional, Madame Speaker asked "Are you serious?". Yes, we are in fact electing and paying people to piss down our backs and tell us it's raining. Apologies to the Libertarians who've been screaming about this for years. Send "Liberal Fascism" back in time for an earlier start of the awakening.

The big concern I have is that once the adrenaline of the Tea Parties blows over, the Globetrotters and Generals will go back to business as usual. Irrespective of who wins election, the vast federal bureaucracy knows it will outlive the winner. Congress has legislated the slow Socialist march of Progressivism, and the SCOTUS has fiddled something delicate and mournful, and the Constitution has smoldered since 1913. We can either:
  • Drink the Progressive kool-aid and secure our own supply thereof, or
  • Stand by for extreme pain as all the Socialist band-aids are ripped off our collective backsides.
Why You Don't Want Me in Charge
Since the SCOTUS wasn't packing the gear to preserve a Federalist arrangement, the Tea Parties must refine a set of principles, and then support, contribute, pay attention, demonstrate, and drive the elected officials to adhere to them. Among these should be:
  • Debt sucks. The Federal budget and hiring are frozen, the budget is run at an interest rate plus X percent surplus until further notice or the national debt is eliminated, barring declared war.
  • The following spectacularly bad Federal ideas are kicked down to the state level in Y years. They can be staggered to give States time to figure out what they're doing with the data.
  • The following non-hunting Federal dogs are to be put down:
  • The War Powers Resolution is overhauled. No more invasions w/out declaration of war. A high bar filters out the casual high-jumpers.
Let's not kid ourselves. Even a third of the reforms just outlined is going to cause economic pain. Americans traditionally of find someone to blow sunshine up the public hoo-hah rather than deal with pain. Col. Jessup's "You can't handle the truth" applies.

The quality of long-term American political health is proportional to the capacity of the Tea Partiers to convince the rest that the convulsions which must follow are necessary and worth it. Progressives are going to whine "But States can't afford Social Security," while failing to specifiy the magical means by which the program is Federally solvent.

Face it. The responsible variation of the American future is going to suck. It would have been great if the first black president had a shred of leadership capacity to undertake the necessary reform. However, BHO is very much in keeping with FDR, LBJ, and JEC. The stupidity is at least traditional. And the rubber-stamp role of the SCOTUS is unlikely to change.

Sarah Palin has by no means made the sort of reformist noises I'm advocating here. Nor should she. The Tea Parties haven't matured into a reliable support mechanism for any elected official. Arguably they should not, as they would simply drift in the direction of becoming that which they currently despise.

No, an laundry list of despised legislation does not a viable plan make. For every cut you want to make, there really must be a transition plan. That means time. And that is where the Tea Parties come in, as a watch dog to keep the leadership focused on principles. There is no destination, only a better course to steer. The electorate has punted on checking that course for too many decades, and the SCOTUS has proven unreliable. Such can certainly continue. If it does, then stand by to welcome your shiny new EU overlords, because the Carbonhagen farce is just a little acorn that wants to be your Progressive Yggdrasil. If not now, then soon we will bow before these elite transnational plutocratic overlords. Our challenge, back to the Broadside cartoon, is to locate and support the bubbleheads for office. We must do the job of the SCOTUS at the ballot box, through pain and over time. And we will.


  1. Great post.
    The goal of the “liberals”—as it emerges from the record of the past decades—was to smuggle this country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. Thus, statism was to come, not by vote or by violence, but by slow rot—by a long process of evasion and epistemological corruption, leading to a fait accompli. (The goal of the “conservative” was only to retard that process.)
    --Ayn Rand

  2. Smitty, not to put too fine a point on it, there is NO WAY IN HELL you will get the size of the government reduced in our current warm-body democracy.

    Ultimately, the only reform program that will work is to take the franchise away from the moochers: No one receiving one dollar more in transfer payments (including salary) from the government at any given level) than they pay in taxes to that level shall be allowed to vote in the elections in that level. I'd be willing to exempt current military and veterans from that, simply because they've paid in ways the rest of us are unwilling to.

    And the only way you will ever get that reform program in place is with guns.

    Despair may be a sin, but awareness of reality just looks like despair.


  3. Bubble head: If it's not in the book, we can't do it.
    SWO: If the book doesn't preclude it, we can do it.
    Maverick: It is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

    That's also an old law-school joke--difference between German and French law, or some such.

  4. Quoted from and Linked to Smitty's posting and Terry's comment at:

    It's Time To ROC 'N' ROLL:
    Restore Our Constitution & Restore Our Lost Liberties

  5. Smitty what part of what you just wrote tells we don't want you in charge? Someone needs to run on the pain platform for it is only thru the pain of shared sacrifice that this country gets back on track.