How To Balance The Budget

In a recent conversation, a member of Congress told me that he thought the original Constitution was flawed because it did not require a balanced federal budget. Therefore, he was in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment and saw this as a way to limit the runaway spending of the Congress.

I bring up this conversation as an example of what you might call “overlooking the obvious”—or “not being able to see the forest because all the trees are in the way.”

Here’s what I mean:

The Constitution clearly says that Congress can only tax and spend money for certain things. These things are contained in Article One and Section 8 of the document. If this prohibition on spending isn’t clear enough, our founders added the Tenth Amendment, which even more clearly says that if a power was not specifically delegated to the federal government, it is reserved to the States or to the people.

Today, the federal government pays no attention to this limited list of its authorized activities. It spends recklessly and lawlessly, doing many things that it has no authority to do.

It doesn’t do any of these things well, but that’s not really the point. The legal point—the Constitutional point—is that it has no authority to spend money on education or health care or social security, just to name a few.

If we could just limit the Congress and the President and the Courts to the lawful activities listed in the Constitution, there would be no spending problem—and no deficit.

But, if Congress won’t follow the plain, clear, unambiguous spending limitations in Article One Section Eight, what makes you think a Balanced Budget Amendment would make them behave?

Learn more about your Constitution with Michael Anthony Peroutka and his Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.

Supreme Court Positioned To Repeal 4th Amendment

SupremeCourt building flag SC

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Navarette v California, a case in which a wrong decision will effectively repeal the 4th Amendment rights of the American people.

The text of the 4th Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled that “…law enforcement may perform a search when they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, even if it falls short of probable cause necessary for an arrest.” This reasonable suspicion standard created by the court has provided police the necessary “legal” authority to perform searches in violation of 4th Amendment language. In fact, thanks to the Court, the overwhelming majority of searches conducted in the U.S. today are warrantless searches. Obtaining a warrant has become an annoyance, a bothersome anachronism that is said to interfere with the timely administration of justice.

In Navarette, an anonymous tipster telephoned police, informing them that the driver of a silver Ford truck, license number 8D94925, had just run him off of the road. Upon locating the truck, “…[police] officers verified the non-criminal details of the tip before pulling over the truck (i.e. color, plate number, etc.), [but] they did not witness any illegal behavior or reckless driving before stopping the truck.” Officers searched the truck and found 4 large bags of marijuana. The driver was charged with “…transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.”

The defendant’s attorney asked that the evidence of the marijuana be suppressed, stating that “…the original stop was an illegal stop because the anonymous tip was insufficient to provide reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.” Both the trial court and a California Appeals Court denied the motion to suppress, each stating that police were not required to verify the claim that the truck was being driven recklessly. Officers were only required to verify the “non-criminal” details–in this case, the type and color of the vehicle and its license number–prior to stopping the truck and conducting a search.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in order to decide “…whether the Fourth Amendment requires a police officer, who receives an anonymous tip about a drunken or reckless driver, to corroborate the dangerous driving before stopping a vehicle.”

In a 2000 case, the Supreme Court ruled that an anonymous tip did not allow police the luxury of ignoring either 4th Amendment rights or even the necessity of meeting the far less stringent legal standard of reasonable suspicion.

But in Navarette, the State of California will argue before the Court that even the weak standard of reasonable suspicion may be ignored IF the alleged criminal activity is serious enough. In other words, “the more serious the crime, the less suspicion is needed.” Or more properly, the more serious the ALLEGED crime, the less suspicion is needed to stop and search the alleged suspect. Reckless driving, for example, may indicate drunk driving, which represents such a potential danger to the public that the rights of an alleged suspect may be completely ignored. Therefore, an anonymous tip may be acted upon just as though the tipster were known to be reliable and correct, and the driver known to be guilty!

If the Court permits law enforcement to ignore constitutional rights based upon an anonymous tip and permits police to increase the aggressive nature of their response according to nothing more substantial than the seriousness of the alleged crime, how long will it be until Democrat operatives make anonymous claims about alleged criminal activity on the part of Republican candidates? How often will former girlfriends or wives lodge anonymous charges against former boyfriends or husbands? The possibilities for the destruction of reputations are endless. And the necessity of probable cause, or proof, will for practical purposes no longer exist.

Getting Along In The GOP

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)

Recently, I’ve heard some resounding influential voices of the Republican Party repeating that tired old line that we must, as a party, all get along, regardless of our differences.

To a point, I would agree that this is true. We of the GOP do need to be careful not to “strain on a gnat, to swallow a camel,” as the old expression goes.

That said, if we are still a party that believes in the traditions of our founding and the Constitution, we do need to hold true to these principles that are still overwhelmingly held as standards among the party’s voting base.

These days, though, it seems that many who brand themselves with our party’s name believe that it is more important for them, as politicians, to get along with each other than it is to get along with those who vote them into, or out of, office.

In recent months and weeks, surely unrelated to their aspirations for election and re-election, some politicians have reiterated these talking points.

Just among the Texas politicians I’ve personally voted for, there is one gentleman in Washington who continues to paint himself as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative in spite of his voting record that has, of late, increasingly proven otherwise. Then, there is a local politician who votes with his conservative base 97% of the time, but is often afraid to consider himself a conservative Republican. In his view, it seems that labels such as “Mainstream Republican” or “Moderate Republican” are safer bets in pleasing the masses.

In my view, I’m not sure which is worse.

The latter of these two examples has personally related to me that we need to discontinue the usage of labels such as “R.I.N.O.” (Republican in Name Only) when describing those with whom we disagree on key issues among our party’s ranks.

I couldn’t help but notice this line of thinking, as it was recently repeated by Governor Mike Huckabee on his regular Fox News show.

He likewise expressed his disdain for the term “RINO,” saying that “I’d rather go to battle with someone who isn’t perfect than with someone who thinks he is.”

He went on to say that we shouldn’t waste our time quarreling with those we agree with 90% of the time, but that we should unify against those forces that stand in stark contrast to our convictions.

I continue to believe that Mike Huckabee brings presidential material to the table in any election cycle, especially when compared to the one who currently holds the office; but these words from him struck a negative chord with me.

When there is no other choice, such as in the conclusion of a recent campaign, I tend to agree with Mr. Huckabee on his point.

However, it occurs to me that there are only two ways by which any two disagreeing individuals or groups of individuals ever come to agreement: You must either compromise your convictions for those of others, or you must convince the other to compromise his convictions for yours.

Either of these two scenarios can be realized through sincere conviction or coercion.

I’m not a one (or even two) issue voter, but I believe that disagreement on a single issue should be a deal breaker within our party when the decision on that issue stands to either follow or disregard the U.S. Constitution.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m on the side of the Constitution.

Compromise is a double-edged sword. When you’re right, you’d better be sure that the sharpest edge is the outer rather than the inner.

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)


Video: WATCH Californians Sign Petition Repealing Important Constitutional Amendment

Mark Dice is at it again, helping show how ignorant most Americans are about the Bill of Rights and the Constitution…

The Supreme Court: Just Another Wizard Of Oz

Remember when arguments were made before the Supreme Court both for and against the constitutionality of what is known as “ObamaCare”?

You probably heard much of the screeching and shouting about this topic in the news. But I would like you to think about something that you probably didn’t hear – and maybe haven’t thought about – concerning this issue and other issues that come before the Supreme Court:

No matter what opinion the Supreme Court issues in this case, or in any case before them, that decision does NOT have the force of law.

Though a Supreme Court ruling is not unimportant, it is legally binding and enforceable only with respect to the parties in this particular case!

That means that it doesn’t affect anyone else. It doesn’t become law! With respect to the particular parties involved, it’s a ruling. But with respect to the rest of the world, it’s just an opinion!

Here’s the important implication of that truth:

The governor of each and every state retains the full right, and the duty, to determine whether or not the individual mandate (within “ObamaCare”) complies with the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, each governor should determine whether or not the whole scheme of “ObamaCare” complies with the Constitution, rather than allowing it to be accepted as law in his or her state.

I believe that all the fanfare, and all the radio and TV coverage, is a lot of “smoke” designed to convince you and me that the Supreme Court is the “GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ,” and that it is the final arbiter of the constitutionality of this matter and, indeed, of all matters in the country.

But if we look behind the curtain, we find that this simply is not true.

Why am I so sure of this? I read the Constitution. So can you!


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