Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The GOP Threatens Yet Another Government Shutdown

I have a book, Linda R. Monk's The Words we Live By, that contains the complete text of the US Constitution with intercalated explanations of the interpretations that various Supreme Court rulings over the centuries have settled on. It may not turn me into a Supreme Court Justice, but it's a good starting place for an ordinary citizen who gives a damn about process in lawmaking.

I have read that book perhaps four times through in the 12 years since the first edition was published. In it, I have found nothing that would indicate that members of Congress can use the threat of a government shutdown to accomplish by blackmail something they cannot bring about by the well-defined process of legislation (see video of "I'm just a bill"). Can Congress really do that? Maybe; they've come close in the past. Can they do it legally? That's not nearly as clear. Doing so certainly belies the notion that our government is a representative democracy.

I also find no support for the legitimacy of forcing the implementation of a law that is detrimental to one specific individual or nongovernmental institution. Such a law is not quite a bill of attainder, but this particular threatened act is damned close, because it would effectively "execute" Planned Parenthood without any sort of due process. (And we all know, don't we, that corporations are people; the R's told us so...)

But that doesn't seem to matter much to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Hell) or the Teabaggers. To them, it's all an exercise in maximizing their power to get what they want, and if the process is illegitimate, well, so are they, and they just don't care what anyone else thinks. Or votes.

Blackmail... an evil, ugly technique... is what the Tea Party is all about.

Have a nice day. </irony>

(Usual reminder: IANAL. - SB)

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