Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is preparing to pass the health care overhaul through the House of Representatives without a vote, as was originally reported by the National Journal's Congress Daily. Mark Tapscott observes that such a maneuver would be the penultimate refutation of the people's will.
In the Slaughter Solution, the rule would declare that the House "deems" the Senate version of Obamacare to have been passed by the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself.
Thus, Slaughter is preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill "passed" once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes. Democrats would thereby avoid a direct vote on the health care bill while allowing it to become law!
Constitutional attorney Mark R. Levin asks, "They're going to present a rule, issued by her committee as chairman, that says that the House already adopted the Senate bill when we know it didn't?"
U.S Constitution, Article I, Section VII, Clause II.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively...
According to Levin, James Madison himself gave special care and attention to this clause in the Constitution.
Levin: And do you want to know why? Because this clause goes to the heart of this Republic.
This clause goes to the heart of how our representative body, that is Congress, makes laws. And so I want you to [observe] how particular the Framers were... They have to pass a Bill to present it to the President...
This is one of the most exacting clauses in the Constitution.
And, to the best of my knowledge, which extends over three decades, no Congress has previously tried to institute policies without actual statutes.
Here we have the President of the United States and Congressional leaders actually talking about the possibility of a brazen and open violation of one of the most fundamental aspects of our Constitution and Republic! How we actually make laws!
Let me be as clear as I know how. If this is done, this will create the greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War. It would be 100 times worse than Watergate.
...It would be government by fiat... meaning there would be no law... the mere discussion by officials in this government is such a grotesque violation of the actual legislative function of Congress [that it] puts us... at the brink. At the brink.
This is why we conservatives revere the Constitution. This is why we stress the Constitution's words have meaning and historical context and must be complied with. Because otherwise we have anarchy, which leads to tyranny.
This is a crucial lesson for those of you who... aren't sure what your beliefs are, or if you have any beliefs. Or aren't sure if you even care. We have an effort underway by the one of the most powerful chairmen in Congress, the woman who heads the Rules Committee, ...openly discussing gutting Congress. Gutting Congress.
And if this is done, this is about as close to martial law as you'll ever get... So Louise Slaughter, a Representative from New York, is discussing, in essence, martial law. Now I can tell you, if they pursue this process, and try to impose this kind of a law, without actually passing a statute, that I will be in a race -- with scores of others -- to the courthouse to stop this.
I can't think of a more blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution than this. And the liberal media has essentially ignored it!
...It's not only absurd on its face -- that these power-hungry ideologues, party-first-country-second types, would make the claim that the House voted on something it never voted on... that's not only absurd on its face, it's blatantly unconstitutional!
Please stay tuned for updates to this post as we will provide additional insight from Levin and other Constitutional experts.
Update 11-March-2010 21:03 ET:
Levin: I wanted to bring additional firepower on this subject, my buddy Arthur Fergenson, who is a Constitutional expert and who has argued cases in front of the Supreme Court, including Buckley vs. Valeo...
What do you make of this unbelievable -- that they're even talking about, this chairman of the Rules Committee -- acting as if members of the House voted on something when they didn't actually vote on it?
Fergenson: It's preposterous. It's ludicrous. But it's also dangerous. It's dangerous because, first, ...because [the U.S. Constitution's] Article I Section VII says every bill -- and it capitalized "bill" -- ...it is common sense that the bill is the same item, it can't be multiple bills, it can't be mashups of bills. And, in fact, in 1986, Gene Gressman, no conservative, and one of the experts -- the expert -- on Supreme Court practice... was writing an article that was dealing with a less problematic attempt to get around this section of the Constitution... [Ed: the line-item veto] and he wrote, "By long usage and plain meaning, 'Bill' means any singular and entire piece of legislation in the form it was approved by the two houses."
...the bills have to be revoted until they are identical. Both chambers have to vote on the bill.
If this cockamamie proposal were to be followed by the House and there were to be a bill presented to the President for his signature, that was a bill that had not been voted on -- identically by the two Houses of Congress -- that bill would be a nullity. It is not law. That is chaos.
I cannot recall any circumstance in which that has happened.
...What we have here is a measure, that if Obama signed it, would immediately affect taxation, it would change rules of practice in the insurance industry, it would regulate 17% of the nation's economy, and it would be done without any legal basis whatsoever!
Update 11-March-2010 21:12 ET:
Fergenson: It's like, the closest I can think of is martial law! The President would have no authority -- there would be no law! It's not like it would be constitutional or not. There would be. No. Law.
Levin: What do you make of people who sit around and even think of things like this? To me, they are absolutely unfit to even be in high office!
Fergenson: You're right, Mark. And I would go back to what caused Gressman to write this... he was asked for his comments by the Senate... because the Senate was trying to do the equivalent of a line-item veto. And, in 1986, you were in the Justice Department under Attorney General Meese... there was a proposal... to take a bill and divide it into little pieces and.. then the President would sign each one or veto each one. That was unconstitutional. A Senate Rules Committee reported it unfavorably.
Update 11-March-2010 21:36 ET:
Levin: You know what's interesting about this... Attorney General Ed Meese considered it unconstitutional even though President Reagan had wanted a line-item veto. And President Reagan agreed that it was unconstitutional without an amendment to the Constitution...
...Speaking for myself, I would tell the people who listen to this program that you are under absolutely no obligation to comply with it [this health care bill] because it is not, in fact, law. Do you agree with me?
Fergenson: I agree with you. I believe it would be tested by the Supreme Court. I believe that, under these circumstances, chaos would reign. There is no obligation to obey an unconstitutional law. The courts are empowered to determine whether it's unconstitutional... it's not a law.
Under this scenario, the various arms of the federal government will be acting under a law that does not exist.
Update: March 16th in Washington: Stop the Constitution Butchers... Stop Pelosi’s Slaughter House.
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