NAPOLITANO: GOP for Big Government – Washington Times

NAPOLITANO: GOP for Big Government – Washington Times.

Republicans running from punt they set up

By Andrew P. Napolitano

distressDo you know anyone who voted Republican this past election in order to further President Obama’s big government agenda? It is more likely that Republican voters sought to advance a smaller version of the federal government. Assuming this is the case, why are Republican congressional leaders offering to help the president spend us into oblivion?

I suspected that those questions might be asked when Mitt Romney was nominated to oppose Mr. Obama. My view of his campaign then and now has been that he presented a choice to the voters of big government versus bigger government, and bigger government prevailed. Mr. Romney argued during the campaign that he was at a disadvantage because the president had distributed federal tax dollars to persons and groups critical to his re-election. He has since argued that he lost the election because nearly half of Americans — some by chance, some by choice and some by force — are dependent on government for much of their income or subsistence.

His argument sounds harsh, but it’s true. A formerly working, now retired couple in their mid-80s who are receiving monthly payments from the Social Security Administration into which they were forced to make payments while they were working can hardly be considered slackers. They can be considered dupes. All of us who have fallen for the government’s nonsense about it holding our money for our future use have been duped. The government doesn’t hold anyone’s money for him. It spends whatever it collects as soon as it receives it. When its entitlement bills come due, it uses current tax revenue, or it borrows money in order to acquire the cash to make the payments.

The president knows this. Congress knows it. The courts have endorsed it. In endorsing it, the courts have held that the government’s decision to pay entitlements is a political, not a legal, one. Stated differently, the federal government has no legal obligation to pay any money to any Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid applicant. That’s why those who have relied on the political wisdom of politicians, rather than their own prudential judgment, are dupes. Let me rephrase that: Those who have permitted politicians to use the force of law to compel everyone to contribute their hard-earned income to a bankrupt government Ponzi scheme are dupes if they think this can work without end.

When FDR first proposed his Social Security scam, he knew that only force and duplicity would get enough people into the system to generate the cash flow at the entry side of the Ponzi scheme to make it salable to Congress and to the American people. LBJ knew the same was the case for his expansions of Social Security with Medicare and Medicaid. What LBJ probably did not anticipate is that health insurers would largely cease offering products of primary insurance to seniors. Seniors then required the government entitlements into which they had mistakenly believed they were contributing, because the government became the only game in town.

Now that the emperor has no clothes, and we are confronting more and more seniors who have been lulled into this false sense of security, and fewer young workers are even entering the job market, the government’s voracious need for cash is difficult to fulfill. Earlier this year, when members of both parties in Congress recognized this ticking time bomb, they agreed to address it by punting. Now, that punted political football is falling to the earth, and no one wants to catch it. The punt they bequeathed to themselves is a tax increase for everyone and reductions in spending that even they find to be odious. The odor they dislike is the realization, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, that they are running out of other people’s money.

The president was re-elected on promises of more of the same: more borrowing, more spending and new taxes on the rich. The Republicans who got elected did so on promises of lessened spending and no new taxes, to paraphrase George H.W. Bush. The president, who is the most liberal president since Woodrow Wilson, is largely ignorant of economics 101. But his ignorance is consistent with his beliefs that the feds can continue to spend more than they collect and continue to borrow without ever repaying.

The Republicans in the House are largely more conservative than at any time since Wilson left office. One would expect them to understand the intent of the voters who sent them there and thus say no to more taxes, no to more spending and no to more borrowing. Instead, we have Republican leadership in the House that actually proposed raising more revenue by eliminating deductions on income taxes. They somehow claim that they are being faithful to their stated mission of fiscal conservatism by making you pay more money but at the present tax rates. They, too, have failed economics 101.

Any significant movement of wealth from taxpayers to tax consumers will not enhance prosperity; it will crush it, and it will breed dependence on a government that is fiscally out of control. The recipients will no doubt vote to re-elect those who gave them these payments.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He is author of “Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

NAPOLITANO: Can Obama rewrite federal law? – Washington Times

NAPOLITANO: Can Obama rewrite federal law? – Washington Times.

President has usurped Congress’ role by altering immigration rules

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Here we go again. Is the Constitution merely a guideline to be consulted by those it purports to regulate, or is it really the supreme law of the land? If it is just a guideline, then it is meaningless, as it only will be followed by those in government when it is not an obstacle to their purposes. If it is the supreme law of the land, what do we do when one branch of government seizes power from another and the branch that had its power stolen does nothing about it?

Late last week, President Obama, fresh from a series of revelations that he kills whomever he pleases in foreign lands, that the U.S. military is actually fighting undeclared wars in Somalia and Yemen, and that the CIA is using cyberwarfare – computers – to destabilize innocents in Iran, announced that he has rewritten a small portion of federal immigration law so as to accommodate the needs of young immigrants who came to the United States as children and remained here. By establishing new rules governing deportation, rules that Congress declined to enact, the president has usurped the power to write federal law from Congress and commandeered it for himself.

Immigrants should not be used as political pawns by the government. When government does that, it violates the natural law. Our rights come from our humanity, and our humanity comes from God. Our rights are natural and integral to us, and they do not vary by virtue of, and cannot be conditioned upon, the place where our mothers were physically located at the time of our births. Federal law violates the natural law when it interferes with whom you invite to your home or employ in your business or to whom you rent your property or with whom you walk the public sidewalks.

When the government restricts freedom of association based on immutable characteristics – like race, gender or the place of birth – it is engaging in the same type of decision-making that brought us slavery, Jim Crow and other invidious government discrimination. Regrettably, the feds think they can limit human freedom by quota and by geography. And they have done this for base political reasons.

Along comes the president, and he has decided that he can fix some of our immigration woes by rewriting the laws to his liking. Never mind that the Constitution provides that his job is “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” and that “all legislative power” in the federal government has been granted to Congress. He has chosen to bypass Congress and disregard the Constitution. Can he do this?

There is a valid and constitutional argument to be made that the president can refrain from defending and enforcing laws that he believes are palpably and demonstrably unconstitutional. These arguments go back to Thomas Jefferson, who refused to defend or enforce the Alien and Sedition Acts because, by punishing speech, they directly contradicted the First Amendment. Jefferson argued that when a law contradicts the Constitution, the law must give way because the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all other laws are inferior and must conform to it. This argument is itself now universally accepted jurisprudence – except by President Obama, who recently and inexplicably questioned the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Health Care Act on the basis that it is unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, there is no intellectually honest argument to be made that the president can pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal preferences. And it is a profound violation of the Constitution for the president to engage in rewriting the laws. That’s what he has done here – he has rewritten federal law.

Only Congress can lay down specifics for immigration law, such as in order to avoid deportation and qualify for a two-year work visa, one must have entered the U.S. prior to age 16 and possess a valid American high school diploma or be a military veteran, as the president now requires. By altering the law in this manner – by constructing the requirements the government will impose – the president has violated his oath to enforce the laws as they are written. His second responsibility in the Constitution (the first is to defend the Constitution) is to enforce federal laws as Congress has written them – hence the employment of the word “faithfully” in the Constitution – not as he wishes them to be.

Congress should have enacted years ago what the president is now doing on his own, because it is unjust to punish children for the behavior of their parents, and it is unjust to restrict freedom based on the place of birth. But this can be remedied only by Congress. If the president can rewrite federal laws that he doesn’t like, there is no limit to his power. Then, he will not be a president – he will be a king.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He is author of “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2011).

NAPOLITANO: Can the Secret Service tell you to shut up? – Washington Times

NAPOLITANO: Can the Secret Service tell you to shut up? – Washington Times.

New law protecting officials from hearing criticism is unconstitutional

By Andrew P. NapolitanoThe Washington Times

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from infringing upon the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Speech is language and other forms of expression; and association and petition connote physical presence in reasonable proximity to those of like mind and to government officials, so as to make your opinions known to them.

The Declaration of Independence recognizes all three freedoms as stemming from our humanity. So, what happens if you can speak freely, but the government officials at whom your speech is aimed refuse to hear you? And what happens if your right to associate and to petition the government is confined to areas where those of like mind and the government are not present? This is coming to a street corner near you.

Certain rights, such as thought, privacy and travel, can be exercised on their own. You don’t need the government to cooperate with you; you just need to be left alone. Other rights, including those intended to influence the political process, require that the government not resist your exercise of them. Remember the old one-liner from Philosophy 101: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it make any noise? Here’s the contemporary version of that: If you can criticize the government, but it refuses to hear you, does your exercise of the freedom of speech have any value?

When the framers of the Constitution wrote the First Amendment, they lived in a society in which anyone could walk up to George Washington, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson on a public street and say directly to them whatever one wished. They never dreamed of a regal force of armed agents keeping public officials away from the public, as we have today. And they never imagined that it could be a felony for anyone to congregate in public within earshot or eyesight of certain government officials. Yet, today in America, it is.

Last week, President Obama signed into law the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. This law permits Secret Service agents to designate any place they wish as a place where free speech, association and petition of the government are prohibited. It permits the Secret Service to make these determinations based on the content of speech.

Thus, federal agents whose work is to protect public officials and their friends may prohibit the speech and the gatherings of folks who disagree with those officials or permit the speech and the gatherings of those who would praise them, even though the First Amendment condemns content-based speech discrimination by the government. The new law also provides that anyone who gathers in a “restricted” area may be prosecuted. Because the statute does not require the government to prove intent, a person accidentally in a restricted area can be charged and prosecuted, as well.

Permitting people to express publicly their opinions to the president only at a time and in a place and manner such that he cannot hear them violates the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to useful speech – unheard political speech is politically useless. The same may be said of the rights to associate and to petition. If peaceful public assembly and public expression of political demands on the government can be restricted to places where government officials cannot be confronted, then those rights, too, have been neutered.

Political speech is in the highest category of protected speech. This is not about drowning out the president in the Oval Office. This is about letting him know what we think of his work when he leaves the White House. This is speech intended to influence the political process.

This abominable legislation enjoyed overwhelming support from both political parties in Congress because the establishment loves power, fears dissent and hates inconvenience, and it doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and just three members of the House voted against it. The president signed it in secret. It is more typical of contemporary China than America. It is more George III than George Washington.

The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to assure open, wide, robust, uninhibited political debate – debate that can be seen and heard by those it seeks to challenge and influence, whether it is convenient for them or not. Anything short of that turns the First Amendment into a mirage.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst on Fox News Channel. He is author of “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2011).

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