Pro Logica

June 18, 2011

Stupidity in Congress?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — Ron Toczek @ 6:31 pm

There appears to be a letter sent by twenty-one Representatives given to the POTUS asking him to sign the extension of the Patriot Act.  The facts, as I understand them, are thus:

Congress passed a bill extending the Patriot Act and sent it to the POTUS, but he was out of the country at the time and would not be back in time to sign the bill into law before the existing Patriot Act expires.  The POTUS then signed the bill into law through the use of an autopen (surrogate?).

Whatever the actual mechanics of this procedure, the POTUS did not actually sign the bill and this procedure was used by Bush during his presidency even though there were objections.

While these Representatives correctly cited the Constitution’s requirement for the POTUS’ signature, they must not have read the entire section.  Further on, in the same paragraph, it states that if the POTUS does not veto the bill within ten days of its submission, the bill becomes law if Congress be in session at that time or does not become law if Congress is not in session.  Nowhere in the letter is this latter provision of the Constitution mentioned.

Now, I don’t know the date on which this bill was sent to the POTUS nor do I know whether Congress was in session ten (does time of day matter?) days later, but if Congress was in session at the end of ten days then the POTUS’ signature is redundant and not necessary for enactment of the law and the POTUS does not have to answer the letter.  If Congress was not in session then there could be a question at to the legality of the law, but in this case there is precedence for the process.

Clearly, the situation is one which is not explicitly covered by the Constitution and if these Congressmen are concerned about the process used to sign the bill into law, they should, as the Constitution instructs, pass a bill which prescribes the lawful method with which the POTUS can sign bills into law under impracticable circumstances.

As I see it, the situation is so straightforward that the authors of this letter are either stupid or can be accused of political grandstanding.  I sure hope it is not the former.

June 6, 2011

HUMAN BEINGS–A Difficult Subject

Mankind is exceptionally difficult to govern and the following quote explains why. I only wish that I would have written its author’s name.  The ‘HIS’ is my quirk, not the author’s.

The politics of governing a body of human beings is made difficult because each human sees HIS own drives and wants differently from any other human and also prioritizes those drives and wants  differently from other humans and also thinks that HIS drives, wants and prioritizations are more important than all the other humans living within the same governing sphere.  It appears that a human’s governing sphere can exist in various sizes from some type of small family organization to  that of a large empire and some humans seem to be advocating some sort of global governing sphere.  By and large, the most popular forms now consist of the nation state with smaller entities beholden to it.  The drives and wants and prioritizations of individuals are all determined by the emotional state of the individual but with the realization that many of these needs depend upon the cooperation of the other humans,  Human beings also have the good fortune to possess a rational faculty which enabled them to compromise their needs for the good of all within a select group.  The disgruntled ones either stayed and mildly complained or left to form a different group.  A mild herd instinct in humans is what causes some individuals to stay and grumble rather than set out on an unknown venture.

On Obama’s Directive on Barring the Justice Department from Defending the Federal Marriage Act

Filed under: Interpretation, U. S. Constitution — Tags: , — Ron Toczek @ 1:04 pm

For those of you who have read my previous posts, you probably know what I am going to say, but you would be only partially correct.  The Executive Branch is an independent branch of the U.S. Government and, as such, it can independently determine the constitutionality of any particular Congressional law.  The Executive Branch is charged with the responsibility of enforcing a law, however, enforcement of a law is separate from arguing that the law is constitutional.

In this particular case, the defendants have been charged with violating some provisions of the ‘Marriage Act’, a Congressional law duly passed.   The Justice Department is ready and able to: 1) Cite the provisions of the law which the defendants violated, and 2) Present evidence showing that the defendants have, in truth, violated those provisions.  Absolutely nothing more is required for the enforcement process.  Since the hullabaloo started with a request from an appellate court asking the Executive Branch if it would tender arguments for the constitutionality of the law and the Executive Branch’s decision not to tender any argument, the Justice Department has already won its case at a lower court.  Simply put, the defendants have appealed that lower court’s ruling on Constitutional grounds and the appellate court has considered that their argument has some merit.

Personally, I am disappointed in the Executive Branch’s decision but considering the POTUS’ current beliefs, I am not surprised.  It is gratifying that Congress has undertaken the defense of the constitutionality of the law.  What is dismaying, is the response from the traditional values organizations decrying the POTUS’ decision as one of non-enforcement and the media essentially not clarifying the Constitutional aspect of the decision.  These organizations beliefs have prejudiced them into confusing the job of enforcement of a law with defending the constitutionality of a law, while the media has missed an opportunity to inform and educate the public about the workings of our  Constitution.

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