America’s most important legal document is being perverted by Republicans in the form of a new meme that makes a mockery of the rule of law and sets a new precedent of legislative malfeasance. Each branch of government has a specific role to play and because the Constitution does not give ultimate authority to Republicans to finish the job of changing our democratic form of government into an oligarchy, they have begun calling every Democratic achievement unconstitutional.
According to the Constitution, Congress makes laws and the judicial branch then determines whether or not the laws are legal within the confines of the Constitution. Members of Congress must take an oath proclaiming they will uphold and protect the Constitution, but Republicans and conservatives are subverting the very document they are sworn to defend. In their effort to seize the government for their corporate masters, Republicans have changed the rules by allowing the Supreme Court to make laws and the Congress to declare laws unconstitutional if the laws were passed by Democrats.
The Republican Party is so vindictive that even when Democrats adopt Republican ideas, they have taken it upon themselves to declare their own ideas unconstitutional. The most recent example is the claim that the individual mandate to carry health insurance written into the Affordable Health Care Act is unconstitutional. Republicans have championed an individual mandate to carry health insurance going back to the 1970s, and throughout subsequent years have continued to push the idea as a means of combating a single-payer system. The mandate was the brainchild of Mark Pauly, a conservative who said, “Let’s see if we can come up with a health reform proposal that would preserve a role for markets but would also achieve universal coverage.”
The idea makes sense for conservatives whose main interest is helping corporations maintain a stranglehold on a market. The mandate guarantees the insurance industry an increase of 30 – 40 million new policyholders and is one reason why the insurance industry signed on to the health law in the first place. The health law is not perfect, but because it is such a business-friendly universal care model, Republicans should have supported the plan, and in many respects could have claimed a victory because they avoided a public option. Throughout the past 40-plus years, the Heritage Foundation, Richard Nixon, Bush I, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, and Mitt Romney (and many others) touted the idea of a mandate but all of a sudden, it is unconstitutional. The reason it is unconstitutional is because President Obama and a Democratic controlled Congress passed the Republican idea.
The truth is that Republicans cannot dispute the inconvenient truth that the plan originated with them and are counting on ignorant Americans’ support to reject an idea they think is unconstitutional. When Republicans continue parroting the phrase unconstitutional, they instill in their supporters the belief that there is something un-American about the law. The Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws, not declare them unconstitutional. In the past year, Republican legislators have labeled child labor laws, Department of Education, food safety laws, federal disaster assistance, and many other laws passed by Congress unconstitutional because they do not give free rein to businesses.
The emergence of the Tea Party and their desire to return to the original intent of the Founding Fathers is incorrectly assuming that the federal government is trampling on their freedoms reminiscent of colonial days and the American Revolution. The Founders though, carefully crafted the Constitution to insure that one branch of government did not trample on citizens’ rights. If a citizen or group of citizens disagrees with a law, the judicial branch decides whether or not a law conforms to the Constitution. It was never the Founder’s original intent for the losing party to decide that a law is unconstitutional any more than they intended for activist judges to legislate from the bench.
Republicans did not control Congress when the health law was passed, and even though the mandate to carry health insurance was their idea, it is unconstitutional. Whether in theory or in practice, no legislator can legally declare a law unconstitutional. That is the purview of the judiciary. The unholy alliance between conservatives on the Supreme Court and Republicans in Congress is changing the very nature of the government and the Constitution. Just because Democrats passed legislation Republicans opposed does not make the law unconstitutional. What is unconstitutional is not respecting or defending the Constitution that laid out the rules for creating laws or challenging them.
Republicans and Democrats alike take an oath to serve and protect the Constitution when they take office, and if they truly believe Congress does not have the right to make laws, they should not submit bills or vote on any legislation. Republicans would like to change the Constitution so the Heritage Foundation and the Koch Brothers make laws and control every aspect of government. In lieu of radically changing the Constitution, Republicans are taking their marching orders from neo-cons on the Supreme Court who in turn take their orders from corporate America. It is not far-fetched to imagine Republicans abolishing Congress and giving all lawmaking authority to the Koch Brothers with the Supreme Court acting as enforcers.
Republicans have fooled gullible Americans into thinking that morons like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are constitutional experts when the opposite is true. A logical question for Bachmann is; why vote and pass laws if Congress does not have the authority to do so? The only reason Republicans are calling their own idea unconstitutional is because it passed a Democratic controlled Congress, and there is nothing in the Constitution that says only Republicans get to make laws. There is also nothing in the Constitution that says legislators get to rule on the Constitutionality of a law any more than it says the Supreme Court gets to make laws.
The only thing unconstitutional in 2011 is the Republican Party and their Koch Brothers-controlled Supreme Court activist judges. By the time gullible voters learn the rudiments of the Constitution, Republicans will have abolished it and every citizen will be pledging allegiance and doing acts of obeisance to Koch Industries because the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees will have been declared unconstitutional.