Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Pelosi's Interpretation of the Constitution
At a recent press conference, a very revealing exchange occurred between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D - Calif) and CNSNews.com. When Pelosi was asked where in the constitution is she and the federal government granted the power to mandate that Americans purchase health insurance she responded "Are You Serious?" After that Pelosi's press secretary Nadeam Elshami added "you can put this on the record. That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question."
No, Ms. Elshami, regardless of the answer we arrive at, the questions of a law's constitutionality is of dire importance to the people of the United States.
Clearly Pelosi, Obama and most "progressives" do not take the constitution's clear limits on the power of the federal government seriously. For Pelosi the constitution is not treated as a guiding document that serves to protect individual liberty, but as an impediment that they seek to erode through legal sophistry.
Later on, CNSNews.com followed up with an e-mail to Pelosis Nadeam Elshami, in which they reiterated the question:
“Where specifically does the Constitution authorize Congress to force Americans to purchase a particular good or service such as health insurance?” CNSNews.com asked the speaker's office.
“If it is the Speaker’s belief that there is a provision in the Constitution that does give Congress this power, does she believe the Constitution in any way limits the goods and services Congress can force an individual to purchase?" CNSNews.com asked. "If so, what is that limit?”
Elshami responded by sending CNSNews.com a press release from the Speaker’s office that states that Congress has “broad power to regulate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce. Congress has used this authority to regulate many aspects of American life, from labor relations to education to health care to agricultural production.”
What Elshami is referring to is the grossly abused Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8) of the constitution which grants Congress the power “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states...” The said authority was granted to allow Congress to regulate foreign trade and trade between the fledgling states of the Union. The underlying purpose of this clause was to bar individual states within the Union from constructing barriers to commerce between their fellow states. Tragically this clause has been grossly misconstrued by some to serve as an authorization of the federal government to vastly increase its powers to regulate and mandate the social and economic activities of individual citizens and states. Anyone who believes that the Commerce Clause grants the federal government nearly unlimited coercive powers should refer to the 10th Amendment which clearly states:
"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."
In other words, individual states and communities may have the power to regulate social and economic affairs, but the federal government does not. State and local assemblies may have the right to pursue a public option, but the congress does not.
To politicians and pundits like Pelosi and Obama who so blatantly disregard and distort the
10th Amendment in particular and the constitution in general, I refer to a quote from Thomas Jefferson that specifically regards to the said amendment.
"To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition."
In other words, once you cross clearly defined limits set by the constitution, you open the way to an expansion of government power that knows no ends. This has allowed the federal government to pursue unsustainable spending that has led to multi-trillion dollar debt. State and local governments can be just as inept and corrupt, but in contrast to the federal government they face natural limits: they cannot endless print and borrow money. And those who tire of entrenched, corrupt and abusive local governments, can flee to better governed localities. But, the heavy hand of the federal government reaches to every corner of our great nation, usurping the wealth and liberty of its citizens.