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Seceding from the healthcare reform union

Bob McDonnell, 10th Amendment, healthcare reform, nullification, individual mandate
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, speaking in the Virginia House of Delegates chamber (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Opponents of Obamacare may soon add Virginia to the (short) list of states that have passed legislation to preemptively nullify the proposed mandate that everyone obtain health insurance. Arizona lawmakers agreed last year to put a "health care freedom" amendment to the state constitutionon the ballot this fall.  (But then, Arizona lawmakers are especially nervous about the specter of health mandates; they approved a similar proposal during the non-healthcare-reforming Bush administration, only to have voters narrowly defeat it in 2008.) This month, both houses of Virginia's legislature approved a modified version of the Arizona bill as a state statute. The latter awaits Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's signature, which seems certain, given that he's said he would sign it

Meanwhile, according to the Tenth Amendment Center's helpful "Health Care Nullification" tracking page, similar bills have passed one chamber of the legislature in five other states. The legislation has stalled in four states, and it has yet to be taken up in 19 others, the center reports.

The constitutional experts I've talked to say that nullification is about as valid as, well, Wesley Snipes' views on the federal income tax. Here's what University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson had to say in a piece last month in the Austin American-Statesman:

[N]o serious lawyer could believe that nullification could possibly be effective as a legal possibility. Anyone who believes otherwise is simply deluded or being misled by an ignorant demagogue. To paraphrase former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, we conduct our politics under the Constitution we have, not the Constitution some people wish we had.

I know there's plenty of emotion on the other side, but I think it's long been settled law that the courts, not state legislatures, have the power to overturn acts of Congress. By "long" I mean "pre-Civil War." So in a battle between Virginia's statute and a federally enacted individual mandate, I'd put my money on the individual mandate -- at least until someone (from Virginia, even) successfully challenged the constitutionality of the federal law in court. (The Arizona referendum poses a more intriguing question about a clash between Congress and state constitutions, which may not be settled law. If you can point to any Supreme Court decisions on that issue, please do.)

I've argued before that the mandate is constitutional (and good policyto boot). What proponents of nullification are really trying to do, though, isn't about law as much as it is about politics. They're trying to build the case for their representatives in Congress to vote against the comprehensive healthcare reform bill. That's a valid pursuit, and it raises really interesting questions about the role of lawmakers in a representative democracy (CliffsNotes version: Should they make policy decisions by relying on research or on public-opinion polls?). It would be a more honest exercise, though, if state legislators passed resolutions calling on Congress to reject the individual mandate, rather than pretending they have the power to nullify it by statute.

-- Jon Healey

 

Comments () | Archives (29)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Brutus

Well, actually the States do have power to nullify, at least in some cases, and maybe in all cases.

If Congress were to declare war, it would be arguable that no State could nullify this, because the power to make war was expressly delegated to Congress in Article I Section 8.

But where a power is not delegated to Congress, it is reserved under the tenth amendment to the States or to the people. Thus, in such a case, the clear intent of the constitution is that State law should carry more weight than federal law.

I search the constitution in vain for a delegated power to compel Americans citizens to purchase a product (health insurance) which they either do not want or cannot afford.

Mitchell Young

Glad to see such a strong defense of the Union -- I can almost hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic Playing, I can almost see an animatronic Mr. Lincoln issuing stirring words.

Funny, though, I seem remember quite a different tune when some states (including I believe California) tried to nullify the RealID act.

Jamie

What part of the Tenth Amendment do you fail to understand? We do, indeed, live under the Constitution we have, and that includes the Principle of Enumerated and Delegated Powers. I applaud the states that are finally standing up to the oppressive federal government and are saying, "enough!" If anyone thinks that the government socialist takeover of healthcare is going to be enacted without winding up in front of the Supreme Court first, they're delusional.

James W Rollins

The Constitution we have is the one that established a federal republic in order to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Today our government is about power and control OVER us and the hell with Liberty and our posterity. It is Congress and the President and the Supreme Court who operate under a constitution they wish they had. We the People are fixing to show them the error of their ways. We are not cattle or slaves to be herded or directed by the government. Sovereign States do NOT have to assist the federal government in unconstitutional activities. See the 10th Amendment Sir, it means what it says.

andrew nelson

Jon, I think your editorial is wishfully in denial of the facts.

The bill is unconstitutional on two points. What's worse, this congress, and this Administration (supposedly headed by a constitutional scholar) is knowingly complicit. This is, indeed, a High Crime - not simply a misdemeanor.

1st Point.

The Senate bill includes the individual mandate and a $1,900 “excise tax" if you don’t buy health insurance. If you don’t pay that tax, the penalty includes a $25,000 fine or up to a year in jail, or both.

This "individual mandate" can also result in seizure of personal property or imprisonment – for failing to buy health insurance.

It is not an excise tax. It does not tax a commodity or service that the 'buyer' of insurance is providing to someone else, by refusing to pay for insurance.

It is simply a Bill of Attainder. A bill of attainder (also known as an act or writ of attainder) is an act of the legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a trial. In this case, failure to buy insurance.

The United States Constitution forbids both the federal and state governments to enact bills of attainder, in Article 1, Section 9 ("No bill of attainder…shall be passed.") and Section 10, ("No State shall…pass any Bill of Attainder") respectively.

2nd Point.

Among the enumerated powers given Congress in Article I Section 8, are the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress#Enumerated_powers

Other congressional powers have been granted, or confirmed, by constitutional amendments. The Thirteenth (1865), Fourteenth (1868), and Fifteenth Amendments (1870) gave Congress authority to enact legislation to enforce rights of African Americans, including voting rights, due process, and equal protection under the law.[16]

Congress also has implied powers, which derive from the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution and permit Congress "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." Broad interpretations of this clause and of the Commerce Clause, the enumerated power to regulate commerce, have effectively widened the scope of Congress' legislative authority far beyond that prescribed in Section 8.


So the other big unconstitutional point is simply that the only enumerated power the congress has to pass this law is under the auspice of regulating interstate commerce.

And I will note that the one item that would qualify, and the only one item that would qualify, is regulating insurance across state boundaries. And it specifically did not include that option in either bill. So they had a chance to be constitutionally relevant and chose to ignore it.

Alarm bells should be ringing for everyone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

"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."

You also seem to have overlooked the Ninth and 10th Amendments, which limit Congress's powers only to those granted in the Constitution.

One of those powers—the power "to regulate" interstate commerce—is the favorite hook on which Congress hangs its hat in order to justify the regulation of anything it wants to control.

Unfortunately, a notoriously tendentious New Deal-era Supreme Court decision has given Congress a green light to use the Commerce Clause to regulate noncommercial, and even purely local, private behavior. In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the Supreme Court held that a farmer who grew wheat just for the consumption of his own family violated federal agricultural guidelines enacted pursuant to the Commerce Clause. Though the wheat did not move across state lines—indeed, it never left his farm—the Court held that if other similarly situated farmers were permitted to do the same it, might have an aggregate effect on interstate commerce.

James Madison, who argued that to regulate meant to keep regular, would have shuddered at such circular reasoning. Madison's understanding was the commonly held one in 1789, since the principle reason for the Constitutional Convention was to establish a central government that would prevent ruinous state-imposed tariffs that favored in-state businesses. It would do so by assuring that commerce between the states was kept "regular."

The Supreme Court finally came to its senses when it invalidated a congressional ban on illegal guns within 1,000 feet of public schools. In United States v. Lopez (1995), the Court ruled that the Commerce Clause may only be used by Congress to regulate human activity that is truly commercial at its core and that has not traditionally been regulated by the states. The movement of illegal guns from one state to another, the Court ruled, was criminal and not commercial at its core, and school safety has historically been a state function.

Applying these principles to President Barack Obama's health-care proposal, it's clear that his plan is unconstitutional at its core. The practice of medicine consists of the delivery of intimate services to the human body. In almost all instances, the delivery of medical services occurs in one place and does not move across interstate lines. One goes to a physician not to engage in commercial activity, as the Framers of the Constitution understood, but to improve one's health. And the practice of medicine, much like public school safety, has been regulated by states for the past century.

The same Congress that wants to tell family farmers what to grow in their backyards has declined "to keep regular" the commercial sale of insurance policies. It has permitted all 50 states to erect the type of barriers that the Commerce Clause was written precisely to tear down. Insurers are barred from selling policies to people in another state.

That's right: Congress refuses to keep commerce regular when the commercial activity is the sale of insurance, but claims it can regulate the removal of a person's appendix because that constitutes interstate commerce.

What we have here is raw abuse of power by the federal government for political purposes. The president and his colleagues want to reward their supporters with "free" health care that the rest of us will end up paying for. Their only restraint on their exercise of Commerce Clause power is whatever they can get away with. They aren't upholding the Constitution—they are evading it.

andrew nelson

So, the question becomes.

If the bill is unconstitutional - If this congress, and this Administration (supposedly headed by a constitutional scholar) is knowingly complicit in this abusive tyranny of Federal power, - Is this a High Crime?

Is this is raw abuse of power by the federal government for political purposes?

Are those who vote for it, and sign it, guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing [a people] to slavery." --Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. (*) ME 1:193, Papers 1:125

"When patience has begotten false estimates of its motives, when wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality." --Thomas Jefferson to M. deStael, 1807. ME 11:282

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." --Thomas Jefferson: his motto.

andrew nelson

Further correction to your editorial.

There are 34 other states that are considering or partially passed legislation to ban any federal mandate to secure health insurance coverage.

On the same day the Virginia General Assembly passed Marshall’s bill, the Idaho Senate also approved the Idaho Health Freedom Act (HB 391), which deems the individual mandate unconstitutional and permits the state to sue Congress or any other body enforcing such a mandate.

andrew nelson

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?101+sum+HB10

Individual health insurance coverage; requirement to obtain. Provides that a resident of the Commonwealth shall not be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage. This applies regardless of whether the person has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer or a plan sponsored by the Commonwealth or the federal government. The measure also states that no provision of Title 38.2 renders a resident liable for any penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of his failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage. The measure does not apply to individuals voluntarily accepting coverage under a state-administered Medicare or Medicaid program.

Jon Healey

IANAL, so it's perilous of me to argue legal points with people, even if they aren't lawyers, either. Nevertheless, most of the previous comments assert that state legislatures have the power to declare a federal act unconstitutional. That's simply not true. The federal courts have long reserved that power to themselves -- start with Marbury v. Madison and go forward.

The point of this blog post (and Andy, please -- editorials are unsigned opinion pieces from the Times' editorial board, Opinion L.A. is just a blog) isn't to debate the constitutionality of the individual mandate. It's to say that's a fight for opponents of Obamacare to wage in court, as they will. What the state legislatures are doing is merely symbolic. If any of you folks can cite a Supreme Court case that grants state legislatures the power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional, please do.

Oh and by the way -- there's no $1,900 "excise tax" in the bill for those who don't comply with the individual mandate. Read the Senate bill here -- http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3590/text. It's a tax penalty, but one that specifically *cannot* be enforced with jail time for anyone who fails to comply.

And if you'd like to know what really constitutes a Bill of Attainder, read here:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article01/47.html.

johnboy

Let's see, states moving against established federal law= nullification...

same-sex marriage --- check!
legalize medical marijuana --- check!

Liberals in CA who are massive hypocrites by supporting these nullification efforts... endless

johnboy

and John -- the Arizona legislature did NOT refer it in 2008 --- over 230,000 citizens signed a petition to get it on the ballot...

where it was defeated by.... insurance industry money

Gene Retske

I'll leave the Constitutionality to people smarter than me, but the problem with Obamacare is that it does not address the cost of medical care, it only addresses how to pay for the system we currently have. I know that Obama and his minions claim the bill does address cost, but I can't see anywhere that it really does.

What we need is more doctors and medical practitioners, and more competition in the system. This would lead to lower cost and greater accessibility. At the same time, we need to unleash the technological power of America and come up with more and better early detection and diagnostic tools. A "walk through" MRI machine and computerization of scans could prevent many of the most expensive and deadly forms of cancer, for example.

Instead of "fundamentally transforming" America, we need to use her very special qualities.

Jon Healey

@Gene -- see http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-ed-health12-2010mar12,0,4600214.story. If the bill didn't bring down costs, why would the CBO and Medicare actuaries both say that it would slow the growth of healthcare spending over the long term?

@Johnboy -- Read the Defense of Marriage Act. There is no federal prohibition on states legalizing gay marriage. DOMA simply states that the federal government wouldn't recognize such marriages, and that states didn't have to recognize gay marriages done outside their borders. And thanks for bringing up medical marijuana, it proves my point. It's contrary to federal law, and under the Bush administration, the DOJ raided medical marijuana dispensaries. The federal law clearly trumps the California legislature's action.

David Hughes

Next time you might want to talk to more than one constitutional law professor, perhaps even one not quite so left wing as Sanford Levinson, listed in Wikipedia as "is a prominent American liberal law professor and acknowledged expert on Constitutional law and legal scholar and professor of government at the University of Texas Law School. He is notable for his criticism of the United States Constitution as well as excessive presidential power[1] and has been widely quoted on such topics as the Second Amendment, gay marriage, nominations to the Supreme Court, and other legal issues".

Nullification is backed up by a number of Constitutional scholars, as well as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798), people who know quite a bit more about the subject than Mr. Healy - as he shows by the display of ignorance, or perhaps self deception, above.

It would be great if the LA Times could pay some writers that actually have some common sense. Maybe then it would be a paper worth reading. But hey, it does come out of bankrupt California after all!

Mickey Kovars

The Feds probably win the constitutional argument, but the last thing we need politically is a protracted wrangle between the feds and the states over the individual mandate. One more illustration of the problems with Obamacare.

John Galt

A better way and the only sensible and honest "Final Vote" on Healthcare is to have a Referendum, where all the American people can vote.

That is the case for States to proceed where referendums are a better possibility than at the national level.

The "Referendum" case is well presented only at www.robbingamerica.com

They say, "it is not only the most democratic way to resolve large issues, but it may be the salvation move for Democrats, regardless of the outcome."

Jon Healey

@David -- I will freely admit to being far less of an expert on the Constitution than your average law-school grad. But I would also note that Jefferson and Madison were both on the wrong side of Marbury vs. Madison. The Constitution isn't what you or I think it is; it is what the Supreme Court says it is. That's how we're governed in this country.

Gene Retske

@Jon, I guess it depends on whether you are inclined to think for yourself, or are satisfied to let others think for you. First, the CBO did NOT say that Obamacare would bring down the cost of medical care. This is not something the CBO has the capacity, or the inclination to assess. And, just to be clear (I know you like this expression), they have yet to rule on this bill.

Just use your own brain and logic, and look at the bill as we understand it is now structured, that is, whatever the "most transparent government in history" has allowed to be leaked, and ask yourself one simple question, 'how does adding 33 million people to a system that is already in a cost death spiral, bring down cost.'

If you want to believe what proven liars and manipulative politicians are telling you, that is your choice, but the overwhelming majority of Americans are rejecting this idea in increasing numbers. As they should!

Dr. Alan Phillips

The argument that within our Constitution one is hard pressed to find an argument for compelling anyone to buy health insurance seems to have validity. Yet nullification of an excessive healthcare plan that spends us into oblivion while cutting Medicare benefits over 500 billion and effectively creating a public option is a poor strategy. To nullify anything is to admit to its potential for permanence in law. That decision is yet to be resolved by that reverent group, the Supreme Court, who Obama, in poor taste recently lectured at the State of the Union 2010 edition.

Several Congressional procedural issues seem in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and I predict they will be ultimately decided by the Supreme Court. Yet, awaiting that day of legal revelation which will no doubt effect Obama's healthcare reform miasma, there is another more effective strategy available to the majority of Americans who oppose this legislative detour which has kept the nation's attention off recent massive unemployment numbers.

This basic strategy to eliminate Obama healthcare reform and his misdirection of national resources are the looming elections of 2010 and 2012 and the recognition by all of us of the possibility for change. The Senate majority leader earlier in the year proclaimed that bills unread and quickly passed in the dark of night cannot be amended or changed. Sorry Harry, a nation who put men on the moon America can change any provision you and Pelosi have crammed though the Congress.

All types of issues are at work with the administration's abrogation of legislative procedures including, due procedure, constitutional compliance, and the ability to change the political configuration of both houses of Congress. Elimination of this new healthcare bill can be accomplished in full not later than 2012. The extra taxes to be taken from us soon on income to pay for this plan not even in effect can be refunded by a new Congress and American President in full during 2013. Harry Reid, cram down is always beaten by pay back and when that day comes Americans should get their money returned with interest.

Finally, this bad bill will be reversed by the will to see things changed by most voters. What if we had accepted as a nation the conquests of the Nazi's and Japanese forces in WW II. I assume that some voters probably exclaimed during those horrendous times, these things can't be changed. However, that's not the way it happened with Americans, we were determined at all costs to defend freedom and ultimately the wars were won.

Assuming this healthcare reform bill is passed, all we need to overturn it is hope and change. Sound familiar, but this time voters are determined to make it more than an empty cliché.

Dr. Alan Phillips
Bloomington, IL


andrew nelson

@ Jon, who did a drive-by comment, to whit:

"Oh and by the way -- there's no $1,900 "excise tax" in the bill for those who don't comply with the individual mandate. Read the Senate bill here -- http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3590/text. It's a tax penalty, but one that specifically *cannot* be enforced with jail time for anyone who fails to comply."

Jon, I simply used Max Baucus's own language in regard to "excise tax". He described it, as such, when he wrote it in.

A tax penalty is a Bill of Attainder, Jon. It's directed at someone, or some group, after the fact. It's an unconstitutional taking. And read federal law, in regard to failure to pay federal taxes. Those are the penalties, by law, and they didn't exempt this 'excise tax' from those penalties.

"And if you'd like to know what really constitutes a Bill of Attainder, read here:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article01/47.html."

Wikipedia does a very good job of describing it. Law, or our constitution, is not something that we, the uninitiated, need to petition from sacred gatekeepers called lawyers, or the sacred legal information wells like findlaw.com.

andrew nelson

@ Jon, again, who said, "http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-ed-health12-2010mar12,0,4600214.story. If the bill didn't bring down costs, why would the CBO and Medicare actuaries both say that it would slow the growth of healthcare spending over the long term?"


The CBO score and the Medicare actuary analysis didn't cover President Obama's decision to forgoe taxing cadillac plans UNTIL 2018, at the lessor amount.

That was the engine to raise the revenue for this bill, and the cost containment for bending the curve - by making healthcare more expensive, and rationing it to the cadillacs by higher price.

COST containment is out of this bill now. The only argument for it is the free healthcare for an additional 31 million people. And the deficit that produces because no one is paying for it. Except Medicare cuts and more employer taxes, and more taxes to us, the taxpayer.

Jerry Wells

Nullify ? Ok, then let these states, assume the responsibility of their actions. Let them be an example for the results of no action. A little insight tells a bad story.

andrew nelson

Bottom Line: Congress has declined "to keep regular" the commercial sale of insurance policies. It has permitted all 50 states to erect the type of barriers that the Commerce Clause, the only power given to Congress to regulate Health Care Insurance, was written precisely to tear down. Insurers are barred from selling policies to people in another state.

That's right: Congress refuses to keep commerce regular when the commercial activity is the sale of insurance, but claims it can regulate the removal of a person's appendix because that constitutes interstate commerce.

What we have here is raw abuse of power by the federal government for political purposes. The president and his colleagues want to reward their supporters with "free" health care that the rest of us will end up paying for.

Their only restraint on their exercise of Commerce Clause power is whatever they can get away with. They aren't upholding the Constitution—they are evading it.

This is a bad bill, made by really bad legislators, who really need to be voted out, come Nov 2, 2010.

Randy L.

I'm still trying to figure out why I should have to buy something in order to make someone elses life better? Why my kids should have less so someone else can have a better lifestyle?

Where is it written that you have a right to a longer/better life at my expense?

Jon Healey

@Randy -- So, you don't like Medicare either? Do you mind your tax dollars going to a National Cancer Institute or any of the other national institutes of health? Unless you have cancer, heart disease or some other chronic disease, you're just paying to extend someone else' life. What about federally funded vaccines? Do you wear a mask when you're out and about?

I could go on and on and on, but I hope you see the point. Unless you're a survivalist living alone, entertaining yourself by reading the books you already own over and over and over, you depend on other people for most of the things you need in life. The healthier our population is, the more productive it is and the fewer resources are diverted into our inefficient healthcare system. In other words, that means more economic growth and wealth creation. We all have a real economic interest in improving public health.

We should have -- and clearly are having -- a vigorous debate about how to achieve that objective. But it's silly for people to argue that they don't have an economic interest in the health of others. Unless, of course, they're living in the mountains in Idaho, harvesting their own food and reading Herodotus by candlelight.

Randy L.

You missed my point....why should I have to pay for you?

I don't, and won't buy health insurance.

I use my money for me. I disagree with social security and medicare. I just have no choice in them taking my money.

Just because I'm FORCED to participate doesn't mean I should have to. If you die, you die. Welcome to the real world. I shouldn't have to do with less so you can live longer. I have no interest or investment in you. YOur health or lack of it is your own responsibility.

If you want good healthcare, you need to go to school, get a good job and EARN it.

What a bunch of socialist who feel everyone else should support their causes. I've never seen such greedy people. Leave my paycheck alone, you take enough already.

Jon Healey

@Randy -- If everyone took your approach, there would be no hospitals to treat you after your car was rammed by a drunk driver. The contributions you reluctantly make to Medicare (and Medicaid, which I suspect you like even less) aren't enough to keep most hospitals (and many medical practices) in the black. They stay afloat because they can overcharge the insured and the occasional private payers. It's not an efficient system, but hey, it works for you. If no one carried insurance, the percentage of hospital bills that went uncollected would skyrocket -- I mean, just look at the number of people *with insurance* driven into bankruptcy (see this study -- http://www.cha.harvard.edu/news/press_releases_09/090604_Himmelstein-bankruptcy-study.shtml -- it says healthcare bills helped cause 60% of US bankruptcies in 2007 ). What would happen then?

Your argument boils down to the contention that health insurance is a sucker play by the sick against the well. That's a pretty cynical point of view. A more accurate assessment, IMHO, is that it's an investment in public health, and as I explained in my previous comment, everyone stands to receive a return on that investment.

Randy L.

Before health insurance, people got sick and lived or died.

Why should it be any different now?

You make it sound like everyone has the right to live at other peoples expense for as long as possible.

If they go into bankruptcy, in 7 years or so they get a new financial record.

You want me to give other prople my hard earned cash so they can continue to live the lifestyle of their choice with no consequences if something happens. You want everyone in America to share the pain of the few who have difficult medical choices to make.

If people started skipping on their hospital bills, well, the hospitals would have to deny them. If they die, welcome to the real world.

Where do you people get the gall to think you are special and deserve something you can't afford?

Healthcare is a privelege, not a right. Life is a privelege, not a right.

Dr. Alan Phillips

THE PRESIDENTIAL OATH ONCE TAKEN MUST BE KEPT

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. This oath once taken represents a solemn and unreserved commitment to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The stress, challenges and pressures that confront the president’s office on a daily basis requires his absolute and unreserved commitment to this oath.

We are living today in a situational ethos which allows a deceitful type of reasoning to abrogate other important oaths including the one in marriage “to love and to cherish.” Our nation rightly expects that the American President is committed to the United States Constitution in its present form and his oath of office. The idea that any Presidential affirmation would offer less than absolute loyalty to the Constitution’s preservation, protection and defense would be repugnant at a minimum and grounds for impeachment at the maximum.
The presidency has never been a single issue office. The founders however, provided a methodology for the passage of laws based upon members and their votes as prescribed by the Constitution. “Deeming” a bill passed in lieu of the constitutionally prescribed means of congressional voting is, in my opinion unconstitutional, whatever the issue. The constitution is more than a guide and the presidential oath exceeds being just a formality of recitation. Any President who has undertaken this most solemn affirmation in front of his fellow citizens is obligated to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect and defend this great document.

There are no constitutional provisions to merely set aside those voting procedures with which a President disagrees. This nation is a representative democracy and as such is not to be a party to closed room deals, swaps, and bribes. Our constitution was so well written by the founders that the amendments have been minimal and few. The constitution is revered internationally and taught in many international classrooms and law schools.

Frankly, although primarily a grandfather, living in the greatest country on the face of the earth, I will gladly in my normal life’s work do all I can to preserve. protect and defend our Constitution, by speaking on behalf of freedom and liberty.

Dr. Alan Phillips
March 17, 2010.


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