It is no longer amusing to experience the duplicity that reigns supreme in the political world. And it is not confined to either party as they both indulge in magnum efforts to castigate the other with nary a thought to the disastrous results. All elected and important appointed officials take an oath (or affirmation) to support and defend the constitution of the nation or the state as the case may be. Yet, all three departments of government have failed to honor that commitment.
Consider the U.S. Supreme Court first as the penultimate transgressor considering its clearly mandated duties in Article III do not include making law. If the unborn human beings aborted legally due to the court ruling in Roe v. Wade could speak, they would complain that their lives were terminated as pseudo-legal homicide, not by operation of law, but by a handful of life tenured judges. Does that square with the oath? Or how about property rights that first were purloined during the Roosevelt era when a farmer was ruled to have offended the law by growing wheat on his own farm for his own use on the ludicrous theory that it distorted the “stream of commerce” to defend an apportioning statute governing what commodities a farmer could grow? That ruling has morphed into the sick ruling that allowed a Connecticut town to use eminent domain to seize private properties for a developer on insane proposition of increased revenues for the town. There are many more examples of the court erring and often is because they use stare decisis, the flawed legal notion flowing from prior decisions being immutable. That result is of course entirely due to the court’s reluctance to overturn prior flawed rulings. Is the cost in time and money a barrier to bringing unconstitutional statutes before the Supreme Court? The founders had presumed and intended that the court would be the final correction when the legislative branch deviated. Do you think it works that way when the legislative branch has not been constrained by the first corrector, the executive?
Is it excusable for presidents to not veto unconstitutional statues based on political considerations? It seems pretty clear that since the Roosevelt era Presidents of both major parties have cleaved to that notion or else we would not have the enormous growth of government since that time. We have seen a variety of gun control statutes enacted without a veto despite the second amendment. It is a curious thing considering it is the very law abiding citizens those efforts assaulted, and they are the militia who in colonial times owned cannons on the frontier. That shows a lack of trust in the citizens in the issue of militia when we have a professional military. Vermont, of course, has no gun control laws because the Vermont constitution forbids such constraints and the Vermont Supreme Court so ruled over a century ago. What about the lack of vetoes for the federal criminal code in matters outside of the treason, piracy and counterfeiting specifically mentioned in the constitution? How can the executive justify ignoring the constitution for this excess? Doesn’t this outrageous behavior presume a lack of responsibility to the people, who are after all, the employer of the executive? And then there are the myriad of laws that demand states participate in programs the federal government partially funds with diminishing funding in future years, leaving the states with most or all of the costs. Apart from a lack of constitutional authority for the programs, by what right or privilege does the president have to burden the states with programs that are not fully funded? Recently the executive has transgressed beyond all reason by demanding that British Petroleum (BP) completely fund all damages from the massive oil spill in the gulf while simultaneously seeking to put BP out of business by taking control of the company assets. That might bankrupt the company, deprive many small stakeholders of their retirement funds, make it impossible for the company to pay damages, and recovering government costs at the expense of the folks actually harmed. Moreover, by what authority does the executive believe it has such powers to harm so many citizens while destroying so many jobs in the Gulf region? Is that a lack of fiduciary trust, fidelity to the constitution or does that apply solely to the congress?
Congress is certainly the biggest offender of unconstitutional behavior, partially owing to the protection the constitution provides them for bad behavior in their congressional offices. Every offense above began in congress. There is much more, especially in the current congress with respect to their fiduciary duties. Borrowing to fund a massive variety of programs has been the hallmark of congress, no matter which of the major parties has been in control. While the constitution provides for congress to tax and to spend, there is no power given for congress borrowing. That explains why virtually all of the members of congress should be voted out of office, if not prosecuted for breach of their oath and for breach of a fiduciary trust. Congress has consistently indulged in legerdemain by holding hordes of hearings on all sorts of matters that are not a part of their charge in Article I of the constitution. Vermont is suffering with a legislature (protected by Article 14 of the Vermont Constitution) that seeming cares nothing about its duty under Article 18 of the Vermont Constitution, which requires frugality from the “legislators and magistrates”. Curiously the right to petition government guaranteed in Article 20 of the Vermont Constitution has not been allowed. Why? Fortunately, our unfaithful servants can be replaced at the ballot box, but only if the people put up new candidates, contribute to their costs of running for office and vote to elect them. All of this lays in the hands of the people if they are unwilling to be subjects instead of citizens.
Karen Kerin, South Royalton
Karen Kerin, South Royalton