Senate Democrats are expressing great frustration with rules that make it difficult to proceed with legislation. Senator McCaskill of Missouri asks: “What in the world are we doing?” Senator Levin of Michigan comments: “It’s unconscionable. The obstructionism has become mindless.” These old Senate Rules sometimes require the unanimous consent of all members, for example, to hold Senate committee or subcommittee hearings after 2:00 in the afternoon.
On Wednesday, officials from the Department of the Treasury removed a hurdle from the path of two organizations seeking to challenge the constitutionality of a government directive authorizing the use of lethal force against American citizens.
A recent story published by the respected online political magazine, Politico, proposes to set forth similarities between the philosophies of constitutional interpretation espoused by Chief Justice John Roberts and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
Does the U.S. Constitution limit the federal government to a few, specifically enumerated powers, with all other powers retained by the states or the people? Or is it a blank check for tyranny? These questions have been at the center of America’s national debate since the Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification in 1787.
Several key GOP senators are calling for congressional hearings into the 14th Amendment’s supposed grant of citizenship to children born in the United States whose parents are illegal aliens.
From infancy on, most Americans hear a steady litany of “compromise, compromise, compromise.” Whether parents are breaking up a toddler fight in a sandbox over a big, yellow Tonka truck or a teen scrape between siblings over which child will get to use the home computer, kids hear, “Work it out. Compromise!”
Apart from the question of whether there exists an enumerated power in Congress to legislate in matters of immigration policy, there is the question of the legality of the lawsuit filed by the Obama administration against the State of Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer. There is evidence that the suit is proscribed by the Constitution and accordingly should be dismissed upon appropriate motion of the defendants.
In Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling granting the federal government partial preliminary injunction of several key provisions of Arizona's S.B. 1070, she made specific reference to the exclusivity of federal power to regulate immigration. Arizona, she held, should be prohibited from legislating in an arena that the Constitution meant to be within the zone of federal power.
Just one week after the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report castigating the Obama administration for its extension and expansion of Bush-era policies that infringe on civil liberties, the Washington Post reported on July 29 that the “administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.”
Though neoconservatives and other pro-national security-state types would have Americans believe that President Obama has made a clean break with the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism program — things like “enhanced interrogation techniques” (i.e., torture), warrantless wiretapping, and imprisonment without trial — the fact is that very little has changed in this regard since January 20, 2009, as the American Civil Liberties Union documents in a scathing 22-page report entitled “Establishing a New Normal: National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration.”
The ink on S.B. 1070 hadn’t dried before motions to enjoin its enforcement were filed in federal district court. One of those motions, a motion for a preliminary injunction, was filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the government of the United States. Wednesday, the court ruled on that motion.