If Congress Shall Make Any Law?
By J.J. Jackson
April 6, 2009
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is rocketing up the Obama Administration's enemies list because she is asking questions no liberal wants asked and making points they certainly do not want made. For asking questions of Timothy, smartest man in the room, America cannot survive without him at Treasury, Geithner about past actions and current plans to allow the federal government more power to seize and manage the assets and contracts of businesses it deems, "too big to fail," Ms. Bachmann no doubt caught the ear of Big Brother himself over in the White House. For you see, Ms. Bachmann did something that always catches the ears of liberals and lefty politicos busily scribbling words on to paper in order to secure themselves more and more power.
What is this thing she did? Why, she cited the Constitution of these United States. And for yet another brief moment in a growing long line of brief moments it became clear once again that Timothy Geithner was indeed not the smartest man in the room.
You could hear the uneasiness in Geithner's voice as he was forced to attempt to answer an actual question of substance. You could also imagine at how at the same time as he was trolling for an answer in that vast, empty sea of a brain of his that he was making mental notes about who he would have to contact to make sure no such substantive questions would ever be raised again.
Here is how it went down and how Geithner struggled:
BACHMANN: "What provision in the Constitution could you point to ... to give authority for the actions that have been taken by the Treasury since March of '08?"
GEITHNER: "Oh, well, the - the Congress legislated in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act a range of very important new authorities."
BACHMANN: "Sir, in the Constitution. What - what in the Constitution could you point to- to give authority to the Treasury for the extraordinary actions that have been taken?"
GEITHNER: "Every action that the Treasury and the Fed and the FDIC is - is - has been using authority granted by this body - by this body, the Congress."
BACHMANN: "And by - in the Constitution, what could you point to?"
GEITHNER: "Under the laws of the land, of course."
Note that not once did Mr. Geithner ever actually answer the simple question posed to him. When asked to cite the Constitutional authority for any of the actions taken by the Treasury since early last year he simply responded that Congress had given the Treasury certain powers and that they are "under the laws of the land." But his response is a non-response. The smartest man in the room was flabbergasted and unable to answer a question that he knew if he answered truthfully would doom all the current, past and future plans of he and his fellow travelers. Perhaps he should have borrowed President Obama's teleprompter and had his remarks prepared for him by a speech writer.
But let's explore his non-answer answer further. Is citing Congress doing something enough of an excuse? Is Congress's power to make law absolute under the Constitution? Of course we all know that it is not. If it were then what powers would be reserved to the states and the people under the Tenth Amendment exactly?
Geithner's response, had it been truthful, would have been that there was no such authority for the vast majority of what the Treasury has done in the last year. But to answer truthfully it would mean that he would have to admit that he and his fellow liberals, both Democratic Party socialists and Republican Party socialist-lites, had violated the Supreme Law of the Land. So truthful answers to these sorts of serious questions are things you will never get from the blowhards inside the beltway.
We all know that just because Congress makes a law that the law is not de facto Constitutional. If it were, no law would ever be stricken as being unconstitutional. But since many laws have been it puts the lie to any notion that just because Congress decrees from on high that the order should be accepted and obeyed. We can even go very absurd to prove this point if you like. If Congress were to, for example, pass a bill that stated all people who have blond hair and blue eyes were inferior and not subject to the same rights as people with other combinations of hair and eye colors would it be a Constitutional law? Even if everyone accepted the law would it still be Constitutional? No.
Now say that we do not have to worry about Congress being so absurd all you like. That is not the point. And besides we all know that many absurd laws have indeed come out of Congress. Add to that the fact that liberals throughout time and all over the world have espoused the same sort of social and economic philosophies and have indeed sought to treat people very differently based on how they looked. The point is that if Congress did make a law stating such it would not be Constitutional just because Congress made such a law.
But Mr. Geithner and the liberals in charge of our government probably have little to fear from the American public recognizing this fact. Because they know that most Americans do not have a clue what our Constitution says and that they will not understand the importance of this exchange between Geithner and Congresswoman Bachmann. Instead they will carry on in blissful ignorance as the nation burns and President Obama fiddles.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.