What is at Stake? The Constitution!
by Tom Donelson on June 18, 2012 at 2:01 PM
This election may be a transformation election, beginning with the economy, but underneath the surface is the question: can we limit the power of government? Obamacare is but one case where economic freedom is at stake. The idea that a person could be forced to buy a product they don’t want or need because the government demands it is a misuse of the commerce clause. The Constitution presumes a limited government and all sides during the debate during the ratification of the Constitution between 1787 and 1789 agreed on the idea of limited government, the only debate being what was the best form of government to protect our rights.
Citizen United is one of those decisions where there is much written about it yet most of it is wrong. The idea that Citizen United was responsible for the left's defeat in Wisconsin is mythology since many of the major donations made were already allowed. The Wall Street Journal editorial summed this up, “If only they had some evidence. As Michael McConnell points out nearby, Citizens United eased the rules on political giving for both unions and corporations—which may have helped Mr. Barrett more than it did Mr. Walker. The Republican received most of his money from individuals, who have been allowed to donate as much as they want for nearly four decades. Mr. Barrett relied much more on unions, which thanks to Citizens United could and did help him as much as they were able…Meanwhile, Mr. Walker could accept unlimited individual funds thanks to a Wisconsin law that lets incumbents facing recalls avoid the typical $10,000 limit. Democrats understood this advantage for Mr. Walker when they signed onto the recall. That, too, had nothing to do with Citizens United.”
What should not be forgotten about Citizen United is that it dealt with an advocacy group producing a film making the case that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be President. During the oral arguments, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart stated that government had a right to ban books that express political advocacy produced by a corporation. By the Obama administration's own logic, a future FEC dominated by Republicans could ban any Michael Moore movie since these movies were produced by a corporation. Laid bare was what campaign finance laws were really all about, to restrict political debate. By a 5-4 margin, political free speech was protected just as two separate cases dealing with restricting the right to bear arms were decided by a 5-4 margin. In both cases Heller and McDonald, local laws that were designed to make it virtually impossible to own a gun in certain localities and the courts stated by a thinnest of margins, the Second Amendment means what it says: Americas have a right to bear arm.
In the Kelo decision, the Courts allowed a local government to take private property for “economic decision” by a 5-4 margin, threatening property rights. American Enterprise Institute Douglas Smith noted, “Nor is this the first time that the court has declined to fully enforce the Constitution's clear guarantees of private property rights. The court's decision in Stop the Beach Renourishment follows on the heels of its controversial decision in Kelo v. City of New London, in which it allowed a municipality to take private property for economic development by a narrow 5-4 margin. Commentators on both the right and the left roundly criticized the Kelo decision as an erosion of fundamental property rights that was inconsistent with the Constitution. Not only did the court's ruling deviate from the Constitution's plain language, but as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor observed in her dissent, the beneficiaries of the court's ruling would likely be those with "disproportionate influence and power in the political process." The irony is that the private corporation that was rewarded the property taken from middle class families did not develop the area and now it is an empty lot with no homes and no businesses.
Over the past several years, property rights, the Second Amendment and political speech have been threatened, and this election shows that if we want to stop the courts from essentially ripping up the Constitution, then we need to elect the right people beginning with the Presidency. And Obama is not that man.