Rep. Ted Poe gets it almost right on Obamacare
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) explains in a piece for Human Events “Why Repeal Really Matters“. It’s a solid piece from a solid member of congress, but I would pick a nit with one aspect of Rep. Poe’s note:
To Rep. Poe:
I appreciate the sentiment expressed when you said “Congress should not be appropriating money for a government program that very well might be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.”
Perhaps the fact that you’re a former judge has caused you to miss what I’d think an obvious point, one coincidentally made in a Washington Times article today, that it is not only the role of the judiciary to protect and defend the Constitution.
As a member of Congress, you and your colleagues share that responsibility. Therefore, it might be more appropriate for you to argue against funding Obamacare because YOU believe it’s unconstitutional rather than because you think another branch of government will.
As a practical matter, it makes more sense, too. After all, President Bush explicitly abandoned his oath when signing McCain-Feingold, saying he knew it to be unconstitutional but passing the buck to the Supreme Court which then, by a 5-4 vote, upheld most of that frontal assault on the First Amendment.
When it comes to requiring constitutionality to get your support for a bill’s passage or the funding of a government program, don’t be shy…and don’t rely on judges!
I’d like to reiterate here that I know Rep. Poe to be very solid and to be one of the few members of Congress who actually thinks about the Constitution. My intent with this note is to encourage him to be even more aggressive in his discussion of constitutionality and to reinforce the idea that the opinion of a congressman that something is unconstitutional should have at least as much impact on his vote as his guess on how the Supreme Court would rule should have on his vote.
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