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Danger, Will Robinson!

Readers of my “vintage” will recognize that phrase. Danger, Will Robinson! This phrase is uttered by Robot B9 from the TV series "Lost in Space." Today it is not uncommon to hear it used as a warning when someone is about to do something which could get them in trouble.

It does not matter which side of the aisle you are on, you should fear a judge who rules using their personal beliefs. In the case of progressives, they fear a judge who will rule on the basis of law and the Constitution. Constitutional conservatives fear a judge who writes legislation from the bench.

What is a “Constitutional Crisis?”  According to USLegal.com, “A constitutional crisis refers to a situation dealing with the inability to resolve a disagreement involving the governing constitution of a political body. Typically, a dispute or an interpretation or violation of a provision in the constitution between different branches of government is involved. A constitutional crisis may threaten to break down government function.”

According to The National Constitutional Center, we have had five such crisis.

A president dies in office (1841). The newly inaugurated President William Henry Harrison died just 30 days after taking office. The Constitution wasn’t clear on what happened next, just specifying that Vice President John Tyler assumed the duties of the president. But was Tyler the president or the acting president? The 25th Amendment in 1967 eventually settled the succession debate.

Southern states secede from the union (1861). After the election of Abraham Lincoln, southern states started leaving the union before his inauguration. It took the Civil War to settle the question of succession.

States can’t agree on the presidential election (1876). The presidential election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes came down to four states (including Florida), which couldn’t agree on votes in the Electoral College. The actions of a special commission of Congress and Supreme Court members headed off a constitutional crisis, as Hayes took the election by one electoral vote.

Florida recount from the Florida Supreme Court 1205m1 from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Village SquareFlickr | CC-BY

The Watergate affair (1972-1974). The scandal involving Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign, the existence of incriminating recordings, and claims of executive privilege made it all the way to the Supreme Court. In July 1974, the court ruled that Nixon must hand over the tapes. He complied and then resigned as president.

Bush vs. Gore (2000). In a historic replay of the 1876 election, the Supreme Court ruled that the votes in Florida weren’t subject to a recount, giving George Bush a razor-thin win over Al Gore.

I would suggest the venom expressed from both sides place us ever closer to another one, especially at this time with fake news, and mainstream news outlets who selectively share the news with an agenda in mind. Add in the people who talk and act on emotion without bothering to educate themselves, and I see a serious problem on the horizon. What happens if we experience a terrorist attack while a judge has stopped the immigration restrictions?

The issue in today’s news regarding the immigration “pause” might push some “over the edge.”  When we obviously have groups paying for signs and protesters, what is their endgame? Do they simply disagree with the president, or are they trying to reach a “tipping point?”

We are in a precarious situation. If we, in the interest of civility, stand down in the face of some of these progressive efforts, we will be pushed ever closer to the edge of full tyranny. If we stand our ground, we run the risk of a confrontation that could spiral out of control.

I still maintain that the best way to handle these issues is at the state level. We have to put pressure on our state legislators to step up and demand the federal government stop this insanity, and start doing its constitutionally mandated job. Our founders gave both the national AND state legislators the power AND the responsibility to keep up with the needs of a growing nation.

A number of years ago as I was trying to learn and study more on our Constitution, I read Judge Andrew Napolitano, who wrote that we should have dozens of more amendments than we have. He’s right. Do you realize that having a standing army is NOT constitutional? There is a two-year limit unless extended by Congress. So rather than ratifying an amendment as we should, Congress simply reauthorizes the Army every two years. However, a full-time Navy is listed within the Constitution.

We are fond of saying that one of the government’s jobs is infrastructure, but this is not so. Article I, Section 8, #7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads. That’s it. Now, that does not mean that roads are unconstitutional. This issue is addressed in the 10th Amendment. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” By the way, the 10th Amendment also covers education, EPA, OSHA and so forth.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Virginia legislator William Branch Giles spoke of his dismay over these issues less than a year from his death.

“I wrote you a letter yesterday of which you will be free to make what use you please. this will contain matters not intended for the public eye. I see as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers foreign and domestic; and that too by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power. Take together the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional compact, acted on by the legislature of the federal branch and it is but too evident that the three ruling branches of that department are in combination to strip their Colleagues, the States authorities of the powers reserved by them and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic.”

And later in the letter-

“But in the meanwhile the States should be watchful to note every material usurpation on their rights, to denounce them as they occur in the most peremptory terms, to protect against them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be considered, not as acknowledgments or precedents of right, but as a temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation shall overweigh that of separation. I would go still further, and give to the federal member; by a regular amendment of the constitution, a right to make roads and canals of intercommunication between the states, providing sufficiently against corrupt practices in Congress (log-rolling &c.) by declaring that the federal proportion of each state of the monies so employed shall be in works within the state, or elsewhere with it’s consent, and with a due salvo of jurisdiction. This is the course which I think safest and best as yet.”

Obviously, this problem has been going on since Thomas Jefferson’s day.

How much longer can the republic survive? We must move our state legislators to restrict the federal monster.

The Convention of States Project is a grassroots movement to do just that. Stop shouting in all caps on Facebook and focus your efforts where they can pay actual dividends. www.cosaction.com


Written by Michael Murphy The Voice of Reason

The Voice of Reason


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