Friday, September 17, 2010

Federal Updates on Constitution Day: The Impeachment Trial of a Federal Judge and the State Lawsuit against the Federal Government

Today is the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America in 1787 in Philadelphia, a day in which that great document is celebrated across the Union. It is a fitting time to provide updates on federal matters about which I have posted previously.

The Impeachment Trial of a Clinton-Appointed Federal Judge

U.S. Federal District Judge Thomas Porteous of Louisiana’s impeachment trial began in the Senate. See my post from March, House Impeaches Clinton-Appointed Judge. His defense has argued that his alleged misconduct occurred before his appointment as a federal judge. However, the pattern of conduct continued after Porteous joined the federal bench. He took federal office under the false pretenses of not having accepted gifts and not being a heavy drinker and gambler. For example, one witness who was later convicted of providing gifts to Porteous while he had been a state judge admitted to lying to the FBI on behalf of the judge during its background investigation of him. Therefore, Judge Porteous ought to be convicted by the Senate and removed from office.

The same standard ought to have applied to the man who nominated Porteous: former President Bill Clinton. The Electoral College should not have elected someone as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief like Clinton or President Barak Obama who could not have passed even the lowest level of security clearance. Clinton was elected under false pretenses of being a tourist in the Soviet Union in 1970, but likely was there in order to accept the thanks of the Communists for having participated in the KGB’s “Fall Campaign” against the U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese War, a propaganda effort that included anti-American protests on foreign soil. As president, Clinton appeased Communist North Korea and gave missile technology to Communist China. His opposition to the Vietnamese War contributed to his fear of losing popularity because of casualties, which caused him to not provide tanks to U.S. soldiers in Somalia and then to announce a pull-out after the Battle of Mogadishu which resulted in the deaths of 18 American servicemen at the hands of al-Qaeda backed militant Muslims. Al-Qaeda was thus encouraged to continue to inflict casualties on American servicemen as long as Clinton continued to fail to respond adequately to its attacks and those of other militant Muslims. In short, Clinton’s radical views as a youth that he has never renounced, apologized for, or even explained fully, carried over into his presidency, just as the predictions that Obama’s radical views and associations would be manifested in radical policies are being proven accurate.

Clinton and Obama are demonstrating that the American people should expect a minimum standard of character, such as the same standard as for a security clearance, which includes a lack of radical views or associations. Indeed, the only way currently for a radical to have access to U.S. intelligence secrets is to be elected president! Presidential candidates should also be held to the same standard for federal judges. Only a few federal judges have ever been impeached and removed from office in American history. Several of them were convicted on charges of perjury, as lying under oath is incompatible for holding a public office for which an oath is required. The House of Representatives impeached Clinton for perjury, but the Senate acquitted him, under the novel argument that the charge was not a “high crime or misdemeanor,” despite Senate precedent. One good standard for all federal officeholders would be whether or not they revere the Constitution.

Florida’s Lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s Violations of States’ Rights

A federal judge accepted most of Florida’s lawsuit against the federal government over the Obama Administration’s federalization of health insurance. Nineteen states have joined the Sunshine State in the suit. Separately, Virginia has filed its own complaint in federal court.

At issue, among other matters, is the federal mandate to purchase health insurance, which the states argue violates states’ constitutional rights by exceeding federal constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce. The states are seeking to protect their citizens’ freedom by objecting to such an imposition of a federal condition of citizenship to purchase a particular good or service. They argue that the decision to not purchase health insurance is not engaging in commerce, and, therefore, not subject to federal regulation.

The states must not argue only the narrow grounds of whether or not a decision not to engage in commerce constitutes commerce subject to federal regulation, but the broader grounds that the federal power to regulate commerce is limited only to interstate commerce, not intrastate commerce. The Constitution authorizes the United States to regulate interstate commerce in order to prevent states from imposing tariffs on trade between them (i.e. in order to establish a free trade zone across the federal Union). It does not authorize the federal government to regulate intrastate commerce on the theory that such commerce is potentially interstate commerce, by which reasoning all commerce would be subject to federal regulation. The Constitution also does not authorize federal regulation on the theory that because all commerce affects the economy of the states the federal government has authority to regulate it. Commerce does not equate to the economy, which is not the responsibility of government at all, including the federal Union. Government does not have economic responsibility, which is why it has no authority over all economic activity, only indirect power, such as fiscal policy. Only socialist or fascist or other totalitarian governments establish “command” economies.

See my post from December of 2009, The Commerce Clause Limits Federal Power to Mandate the Purchase of Private Health Insurance and my post from January of 2010, the Liberals’ Limitless Limit. At stake in these lawsuits is whether there are limits any longer to federal power, as originally intended by the Framers of The Constitution who established the principle of federalism, which divides power between the federal government and the states for the sake of maintaining the liberty of the people.

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