'I Will Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States’
by FRANK SALVATO
March 19, 2010
"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others." – James Madison
As the American people stare down the barrel of a Progressive ideological coup in the form of the institution of so-called “healthcare reform,” it is tremendously important that we take heed of how Progressive Democrats are going about achieving their long sought-after goal. To be succinct, it has been an ugly and often times unconstitutional process. But the bribing of Senators with taxpayer monies, the bartering of favors by the White House and the threats of withheld support for Democrat candidates by President Obama himself, pale in comparison to the tactic soon to be employed by House Speaker and über Progressive Nancy Pelosi.
The Self-Executing Rule, better known as “Deem & Pass,” is an unconstitutional procedural tactic that exists in the US House of Representative’s rules. It is stunning that it exists and it is equally as stunning that it was ever allowed to be adopted as a legitimate procedure.
“Deem & Pass” is defined as:
“...a procedural measure used by the US House of Representatives to approve legislation. If the full House votes to approve a legislative rule that contains such a provision, the House then deems a second bill as also approved without requiring a separate vote, as long as that second bill is specified in the rule. That is, if the vote on the rule passes, then the second bill is passed as part of the rule vote.”
This becomes quite convenient when a bill’s subject matter is contentious enough to threaten the political longevity of elected officials. It allows them plausible deniability. It provides cover for elected officials to say – and be correct in asserting – that he or she “didn’t actually vote for the bill,” even though they effectively did. The Progressive and liberal Democrat healthcare “reform” bill is just such a piece of contentious legislation and Ms. Pelosi’s intention to use “Deem & Pass” to circumvent the constitutional legislative process provides political cover for the cowards who are doing everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for instituting this over-reaching federal power grab; a measure overwhelmingly unpopular with the governed.
Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution outlines exactly, without caveat, how a piece of legislation is to become law:
“Every bill...shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate...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.”
The very notion of the Self-Executing Rule, or “Deem & Pass,” is antithetical to the US Constitution. Put another way, because there wouldn’t be an actual vote where each member of Congress votes “yea” or “nay” there is no way to enter their votes and names into the Congressional Journal. Therefore, the Self-Executing Rule violates Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution; “Deem & Pass” is an unconstitutional procedure for passing legislation into law.
It is reprehensible that Progressives and liberal Democrats would consider trying to move incredibly unpopular legislation – ideological, agenda-driven legislation – using tactics like reconciliation in the Senate and “Deem & Pass” in the House. In doing to so they have not only violated the public trust and moved to undermine the consent of the governed, they will be violating their Oaths of Office.
The US Constitution mandates in Article VI, Clause 3:
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution...”
And the Oath of Office that those in the Legislative Branch of the US Government take states:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
For that matter, the Presidential Oath of Office states:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
It needs to be asked, if the US Constitution states clearly and exactly how legislation is to be passed, that each member of Congress is to vote on each bill and have their name and vote cast into the Congressional Journal, how is the use of reconciliation and “Deem & Pass” constitutional? How is it not a crime against the Constitution to employ these tactics, especially when the issue is one of such national importance?
By insisting upon the use of reconciliation in the Senate and “Deem & Pass” in the House, Congressional leadership has not only violated their Oaths of Office but they have demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that they hold the US Constitution – the covenant between the governed and their government – in contempt. By blatantly employing tactics that literally ignore specific mandates set forth in the Constitution, they are proving beyond all doubt that an ideologically-driven coup is taking place in the United States of America; Progressives and liberal Democrats are demonstrating they are hostile to the US Constitution.
Consequently, President Obama, by his endorsement of these tactics, has also violated his Oath of Office and, in doing so, has enabled political enemies of the US Constitution to advance their agenda against the US Constitution. He will have abetted this political coup and committed “High Crimes & Misdemeanors”; he will have committed, it can be successfully argued, impeachable offenses.
If Progressives and liberal Democrats are allowed to get away with passing sweeping “healthcare reform” legislation using procedures that not only violate the US Constitution, but absolve elected officials of any accountability for their votes – or non-votes, as it were – then we are setting precedent for laws being implemented without votes ever being taken; we are setting the stage for the establishment of an oligarchy, the first step toward a dictatorship.
We are at a very important moment in time; a crossroads for our nation. We must decide if we are a Constitutional Republic or whether we are an oligarchy. We must decide if we are governed by the rule of law – constitutional law – or by the ideological whims of an elitist class.
My fellow Americans, if you believe in the rule of law; in the US Constitution, if you believe that the Founders and Framers had it right, if you believe that James Madison was more intelligent than Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, then you must express your disdain and contempt for the ideologues who are attempting to hijack our government and trying to usurp the US Constitution.
It has been said many times before but it has never been as important as it is now.
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.