Will he have the Department of Education once again put out leading and Obama-aggrandizing study guides? Will he again take personal credit for getting computers and other goodies into your kids’ schools? Will this address look as much like a campaign event as the last one? Will he tell all the kids that the really noble thing to do is get government jobs?
We don’t know the answers to these pressing questions yet, but we do know one thing: If he really does plan to play Principal – or maybe Motivational-Speaker – in-Chief again, it will be both unconstitutional, and unacceptable to a whole lot of people.
For a refresher on last year’s spectacle, by the way, check out this terrific “Cato Weekly Video” installment on it:
This can’t be happening. Teachers suspended from their posts for showing students a film about the Constitution! I can understand the initial parental inquiry–if a student did say “I was taught how to hide drugs.” There are such films on the market and those would certainly not be appropriate for school. But instead of gathering the facts, the school authorities seem to have made a terrible and unjust decision to suspend these teachers. The Busted film is about constitutional law and police encounters–showing people that they can lawfully stand up to the police and decline to approve a search of their home and belongings, and decline to answer police questions. Hopefully, the ACLU or FIRE will come to the defense of these teachers and get them reinstated fast.
[M]illions of Americans…think that Barack Obama’s health-insurance laws must be overturned…[P]olls suggest that many Americans still dislike them…
At the federal level Republican leaders in Congress have jumped on every bit of negative news—for example, a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office suggesting that the reforms will cost more than originally forecast—as just cause for overturning them…
The real action is outside Washington, though. Virginia, Utah and Idaho have outlawed the new individual mandate, which will require everyone to purchase health cover, and other states are looking at similar measures. Elsewhere, opponents have taken to the ballot box. Missouri will hold a referendum in August on the matter. Perhaps half a dozen other states may see a constitutional amendment blocking Obamacare on the ballot in November.
Critics have also filed various lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of health reform. In the most prominent nearly two dozen states, almost all led by Republicans, have banded together. Their chief legal argument is that the new individual mandate is unconstitutional. On May 14th the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group representing small companies (who worry especially about the costs of compliance with the new law), declared that it too would join in.
Repeal the bill.
Tony Blankley, former press secretary to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, exults in the Washington Times that Americans are waking up “to our heritage of freedom” and to the abuse of the Constitution:
All the following acts have suddenly awakened Americans to their Constitution: (1) The nationalization of car companies and banks; (2) the subordination of the car companies’ legal bondholders to union bosses; (3) the creation of trillion-dollar slush funds (the stimulus package) used for, among other purposes, the corrupt purchase of congressional votes; (4) the mandating of individual health insurance purchase against the will of Americans; (5) the attempt to have Obamacare “deemed” to have been enacted, rather than actually publicly voted on by Congress.
Amazingly, spontaneously, Americans are educating themselves about the details of our Constitution.
He’s absolutely right. All those actions do raise serious questions about whether there are still any constitutional limitations on government, which is to say, whether the Constitution is still in effect, questions that Roger Pilon also raised this week in the Christian Science Monitor. But it would be even better if Americans had noticed the threats to constitutional government a bit earlier, if not during the New Deal or the Great Society, then perhaps during the past decade when, as Gene Healy and Tim Lynch wrote in 2006:
Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power. In its official legal briefs and public actions, the Bush administration has advanced a view of federal power that is astonishingly broad, a view that includes
- a federal government empowered to regulate core political speech—and restrict it greatly when it counts the most: in the days before a federal election;
- a president who cannot be restrained, through validly enacted statutes, from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror;
- a president who has the inherent constitutional authority to designate American citizens suspected of terrorist activity as “enemy combatants,” strip them of any constitutional protection, and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror— in other words, perhaps forever; and
- a federal government with the power to supervise virtually every aspect of American life, from kindergarten, to marriage, to the grave.
President Bush’s constitutional vision is, in short, sharply at odds with the text, history, and structure of our Constitution, which authorizes a government of limited powers.
But better late than never, and we join Tony Blankley in hoping that the Constitution’s limits on the powers of the federal government will once again be an issue in American politics and governance.
Yesterday Cato hosted the premiere screening of the new film, 10 Rules for Dealing with Police, produced by our friends at Flex Your Rights. The Washington Post has a nice piece about the film and event here. And the Washington Examiner covered the event here.
10 Rules is a gold mine of useful information (both legal and practical) for handling police encounters. Legal books are too often impenetrable and just too time-consuming for laypersons. 10 Rules is a media-savvy vehicle that can alleviate the problem of constitutional illiteracy in America.
In less than 45 minutes, you acquire the information you need to know. Get the dvds and encourage others to show them at high schools, colleges, and other venues.
Catch the trailer below:
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