Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama, the law, and respect for the Constitution

In his own words:
[W]e need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges.
Oh dear. The law doesn't change and isn't subject to reinterpretation because someone is gay or old. That's the very beauty of it. It is consistent in what it says and its application -- or at least it should be.

But I can't be too harsh on Obama, both him and McCain -- along with most politicians started ignoring the Constitution a long time ago. As a refresher, here are the powers that are granted to Congress (the body that makes the laws, which you might forget based on all the rhetoric coming from the candidates about various measures they will enact):
Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Lastly, just to make sure that this list was meant to be definitive, the 10th Amendment was added that reads, in very plain English:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Got that? That means that if it isn't mentioned in the Constitution then it belongs to the States or the people. This is a document that very explicitly lays out a formula for limited government.

Congress is given dominion over international trade, immigration, raising revenue, patents and copyrights, printing money, some limited infrastructure and defense. That's pretty much it. Does anyone in their right mind think that's all Congress currently has oversight of? Does this square even remotely with reality?

All those people that claim the Constitution has been torn to shreds under Bush's watch kind of make me laugh -- they're a bit late to the party.

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