Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of the United States’

Does the federal government work for us?

“Politics is the art of making your selfish desires seem like the national interest.”

~ Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

More than 200 years ago, the states united and wrote a contract, the Constitution, creating an employee, the federal government; and that contract outlined specific tasks the federal government would perform for the states’ combined welfare.

However, in the early 1800s, the Supreme Court ruled that it alone presided over the Constitution and it alone would decide what the Constitution said. Is this what the Founding Fathers and the states intended? Did they mean for the Supreme Court to decide its own powers and those of the rest of the federal government?

Roe v. Wade – Did we get what we wanted?

Recently, parents successfully sued for “wrongful birth” because their child was born with Down syndrome, claiming if it had been accurately diagnosed early in the pregnancy, they would have chosen abortion.

With Roe v. Wade, did well-meaning people start us down an unintended path to a child being worthy of birth only if the parents find him or her desirable? Are we heading toward designer babies, babies who come with guarantees of perfection? Was this the intent of those supporting Roe v. Wade?

What happened to our “Hallmark” values?

Each Christmas season my wife and I look forward to days we spend watching one Hallmark movie after another; hopefully a snowy day with a fire in the fireplace.

We just finished watching Hallmark’s “Have a Little Faith,” which I taped earlier this week. As the first commercial began, I realized I was not fast-forwarding through it as I normally would. Instead, I wanted to watch the Hallmark commercial.

Why? Their commercials are as good as their movies and they still bring tears to my eyes. They remind me of our faith, our values, our traditions, of what we were, and of what we could again become.

Unlimited power – Part III

Since ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, the Supreme Court has found a constitutional answer to every case brought before it. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that a document prepared in the 1700s could address all issues for more than two hundred years? We currently have nine justices, none elected by the people, all appointed to their office for life, who claim absolute control over the United States Constitution. Is this what the founding fathers and the states intended? With their fear of government, why would they give unchecked power to any branch of the federal government?

The path to socialism – Part I

“We do not have socialism. We have regulated capitalism.” – ISJ reader comment

Is that true? Is it all or none? Or is the path to socialism a process so slow that each individual step is logical, masking the eventual outcome and encouraging inattention and indifference until it’s too late? More important, if we are not yet socialist, is our federal government still the limited government the founding fathers created with the United States Constitution?

Does it still respect state’s rights? Does it still respect individual rights and freedoms? Before answering, remember that this past summer the Second Amendment was upheld by only a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court, a constitutionally guaranteed right only one political appointment away from revocation.

Football and government

The federal government could learn a lot from professional football – teams competing with each other, each team doing all it can to win, referees ensuring they follow the rules, together part of a league whose owners have the final say on the rules and how the league works.

Our league is the United States of America and the teams are our free market system, individuals and companies competing with one another, doing all they can to win. The referees are our elected officials, there to ensure the competitors follow the rules. The head referee is our Supreme Court, appointed to maintain the integrity of the rulebook when questions arise. The rulebook is the United States Constitution.

Are they asking the right questions?

The constitution . . . is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.”

Thomas Jefferson

Why is a Supreme Court nominee so important? According to their only constitutional requirement, justices “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior,” allowing them to serve for life and affect generations to come. And knowing a nominee to the Supreme Court usually survives the “advise and consent” of the Senate, selecting a nominee to the court is one of the most important things a president does.

The ‘ism’ elixir?

“Bad officials are elected by
good citizens who do not vote.”

George Jean Nathan
American drama critic and newspaper editor

I watched a 1948 cartoon produced by Harding College, “Make Mine Freedom,” which tells the story of Ism elixir. If you have already viewed this, my apologies. If not, let me share the tale of Ism.

The cartoon starts with a reminder of our good fortune to live in America with the freedom to work, freedom of speech, freedom to peacefully assemble, freedom to own property, protection from unlawful search or seizure, the right to a speedy and public trial, protections against cruel punishments, the right to vote and to worship God in our own way.

Fundamental rights of Americans

The government, determined it knows what is best for us, continues expanding its role beyond its constitutional authority. It has little need for the Constitution because over 60 years ago the Supreme Court ruled that the founding fathers erred and actually meant for the general welfare clause of the Constitution to be a specific enumerated power of Congress, in essence granting Congress unlimited power.

Do you think the founding fathers really intended for the government to do anything it deems needed for the general welfare of the country and to tax us whatever needed to pay for it?

The Supreme Court – omnipotent and divine?

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments to decide if the Second Amendment right of the individual to “keep and bear Arms” applies to the states in addition to federal enclaves such as Washington, D.C.

Can the court please point to the section of the United States Constitution granting it the power to choose which parts of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, apply to the states, reducing the Bill of Rights to nothing more than a buffet of suggestions for the court?

Supreme Court – Constitutional guardian or Guardian Council?

Does the  Supreme Court submit to the authority of the United States Constitution, as it should?  Or, is it complicit with Congress, functioning beyond its constitutional powers?

In 1803, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall, trying to preserve the checks and balances in the Constitution said, “To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained.”  He was addressing Congress, explaining that Congress could not decide if a law it passed was constitutional, that checking power reserved for the Supreme Court.

The Consitution v. the federal government

The Declaration of Independence states, “. . . these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.”  This sentiment was reaffirmed in 1781 in the Articles of Confederation which states, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States . . . .”  

Six years later during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, delegate Luther Martin affirmed states’ rights saying, “At the separation from the British Empire, the people of America preferred the establishment of themselves into thirteen separate sovereignties, instead of incorporating themselves into one.”  

The Bill of Prvileges

The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, was ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791. The Constitution was ratified four years earlier in 1787.

Our Bill of Rights came into existence amid debate and deliberation. Many anti-federalists who supported it previously opposed ratification of the Constitution because that document did not provide many of the individual protections that would be guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

But the federalists, voiced by Alexander Hamilton, considered the Bill of Rights unnecessary, believing “the people surrender nothing” in the Constitution, and offering protections of specific rights would imply that any unmentioned rights were not protected.

Spending the people’s money

“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal

 with a big appetite at one end and no sense of

 responsibility at the other.”

                                 − Ronald Reagan

 Is it an appropriate use of taxpayer money to fund a “tattoo removal violence prevention program,” a Sparta Teapot museum, a program to communicate with extra-terrestrials, the Pleasure Beach water taxi service, a Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative and a swine odor and manure management program?  Moreover, where in the Constitution is the power for Congress to spend our money this way?

Abortion – call it what it is

 

Killing a fellow human being is not new to us.  We already accept killing in war, capital punishment and self-defense.  Society has made a distinction between murder and killing.

So, if we already accept killing a fellow human being, why do we soothe our conscience trying to prove abortion is not murder or killing?  For 35 years pro-abortion experts have failed to prove that the fetus up to a certain point in pregnancy does not have what is needed for legal protection – personhood – claiming it is acquired at some unknown time later in pregnancy.

Is it too late?

Is it too late for the United States of America?  Are we doomed to follow the timetable Sir John Glubb outlined in “The Fate of Empires,” surviving about 250 years?  Or, are we different from the failed empires he studied?  The outcome is our choice. 

We are unique among the nations of history.  We designed our own form of government, a government so unique that it was viewed as an experiment. 

“Give me the youth…”

What do a group of like-minded people do when they cannot convince society to agree with them?  How do they persuade society to not only acknowledge their values, but in the end to agree with those values?  

Look at the process of legalizing abortion.  Proponents first appealed to society, exaggerating the number of women dying from illegal abortions and claiming these deaths mandated legalizing abortion.  When that failed to get the needed support, they turned to the courts and got the desired outcome of legalizing abortion.   

Who are the ‘real’ terrorists?

The editorial page cartoon in the April 27, 2009, USA Today showed Uncle Sam saying, “Will you ever stop torturing me,” while he is whipping a helpless terrorist strapped on a table. 

Just last week the oppressed, benevolent Taliban beheaded three more people in Pakistan.  On Sept. 11, 2001, they intentionally targeted and murdered over 3,000 American civilians.  And since then over 3,000 American military personnel have given their lives in service to their country.  Is it a bit repugnant to mock these American deaths? 

Concealed carry permits – right or privilege?

This summer the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the meaning of the Second Amendment.  I believe they correctly understood the Founding Fathers intentions; affirming that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  But, they did not settle all issues surrounding gun ownership; including if the government can require more than just a background check to get a concealed carry permit.  Pistols and revolvers are common firearms.  Therefore, the right to own them is resolved.  But, is a concealed carry permit a right protected by the Second Amendment, is it a privilege, or is it both?

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms”

The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

As most of us now know, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the Second Amendment right of an individual to “keep and bear Arms” was separate from, and in addition to, the rights of state militias to “keep and bear Arms.”  Justice Stevens suggested the majority was “making new law.”  Those who disagree with the ruling should read the majority justices’ reasoning of what the founding fathers were trying to safeguard with the Second Amendment.   They should read about our founding fathers’ beliefs, the countries of their origin, and their fears of the very government they were creating.