Posts Tagged ‘United States Constitution’
August 11th, 2014 at 9:51 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Trampled Under Foot
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

October 14th, 2010 at 5:09 pm
CFIF Statement On Federal Judge’s Ruling Allowing Constitutional Challenge to ObamaCare to Proceed
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A federal judge in Florida today ruled that 20 U.S. states can proceed with a lawsuit against the recently passed federal health care legislation on the grounds that its individual mandate is unconstitutional.  In response, CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella released the following statement: 

The Center for Individual Freedom commends the court for recognizing and validating arguments presented by the plaintiffs, who have provided substantive legal arguments regarding the unconstitutional nature of the legislation’s mandate on individuals and the troubling power grab by the federal government represented in it.
“We will continue to join the plaintiffs and others in advocating the merits of this case, making it clear to the American public that the legislation is an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of individual Americans.”

January 5th, 2010 at 3:47 pm
The Constitutionality of the “Cornhusker Kickback”

Much has been made about the secret sweetheart deal Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) struck with Senate leaders in exchange for his “Yea” vote on ObamaCare. 

The deal, known as the “Cornhusker Kickback,” permanently exempts Nebraska – and only Nebraska – from paying for expanded Medicaid mandates called for in the Senate-passed “reform” bill.  In other words, taxpayers in all other states will be stuck paying the tab for Nebraska’s expanded Medicaid rolls if that provision survives final passage.

But is the “Cornhusker Kickback” constitutional?

On December 30, thirteen state attorneys general sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calling the provision “constitutionally flawed” and threatening legal action unless the provision is dropped from the health care bill. 

The attorneys general wrote:

The undersigned state attorneys general, in response to numerous inquiries, write to express our grave concern with the Senate version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (‘H.R. 3590’). The current iteration of the bill contains a provision that affords special treatment to the state of Nebraska under the federal Medicaid program. We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed. As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision.

It has been reported that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson’s vote, for H.R. 3590, was secured only after striking a deal that the federal government would bear the cost of newly eligible Nebraska Medicaid enrollees. In marked contrast all other states would not be similarly treated, and instead would be required to allocate substantial sums, potentially totaling billions of dollars, to accommodate H.R. 3590’s new Medicaid mandates. In addition to violating the most basic and universally held notions of what is fair and just, we also believe this provision of H.R. 3590 is inconsistent with protections afforded by the United States Constitution against arbitrary legislation. …

According to a lengthy report by, “The Dec. 30 letter was drafted by South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and gained the signatures of 12 other Republicans. Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is the only Democrat, so far, to express support for the possible litigation.”

Read the letter is its entirety here (.pdf).

October 22nd, 2009 at 12:10 pm
California’s Cautionary Constitutional History

For those perturbed by the federal government’s lack of responsiveness to the will of the people, California’s voter initiative process shows the danger of the opposite extreme. Recently, Ronald George, Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court, questioned the wisdom of the state’s constitutional-amendment-by-initiative process. In a speech to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, George criticized the ease with which voters can change the fundamental law of California, a practice that has yielded 500 amendments since 1879. To compare, the United States Constitution contains 17 amendments, plus the 10 known as the Bill of Rights, over a time period spanning twice as long.

George’s lament is that frequent and easy changes to the primary source of law are not the criteria for sustained, peaceful government. Instead, the continuous use of such measures (and the threat of more in the future) renders government dysfunctional by making the legislative process merely the starting point of a policy debate, not its conclusion. Moreover, legal challenges to popularly passed initiatives put judges in the unenviable position of trying to discern the voters’ intent without the benefit of the usual contextual sources (e.g. legislative history, factual findings, committee reports, etc.). If California goes forward with calls for a constitutional convention, one hopes that the delegates remember the virtue of constraining lawmaking to a system governed by checks and balances, the separation of powers, and representative democracy. As we see with the current White House, though, hope alone won’t ensure a better government.