Dems Need to Review the Constitution

Watching the activity on Capitol Hill this week, I can draw no other conclusion than certain Congressional Democrats need a refresher course on the Constitution they swore an oath to protect and defend.

First, of course, are the bullying tactics employed by the House and Senate judiciary committees to compel testimony from senior White House officials about confidential conversations held both amongst themselves and potentially with the president of the United States. Despite evidence of no underlying crime, these two committees have authorized their chairmen to issue subpoenas to White House officials for privileged conversations — a move that would be held up in the courts for years and one that, according to many scholars, runs afoul of the Constitution.

Next, we have D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and Rep Tom Davis (R-Va.) pushing their bill to allow the District of Columbia to have a voting member in the House of Representatives. Article I, Section II of the Constitution explicitly notes: “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.” The District of Columbia is not a state. Period.
Any cursory review of the Federalist Papers shows the Framers clearly intended the seat of the federal government to be free from any pressure or interference from a state where the federal government was housed. As such, a District of Columbia created to serve as the home of the federal government must be free from pressure or force from any one state.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Norton and others have apparently not read Article I, Section II — how else could one explain their desire to proceed with a bill the president will undoubtedly veto and the Supreme Court would hold unconstitutional? Politics, of course.

Speaking of politics, how else to explain the Speaker’s desire to impose a deadline upon which American forces would withdraw from Iraq in a spending bill that was supposed to provide emergency funding for our troops fighting the war against terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world? Oh, and the arm-breaking and larding-up of the bill with pork to entice members to vote for a bill that runs afoul of the president’s authority under Article II of the Constitution to serve as commander in chief? Don’t take it from me, look at what USA Today wrote this morning on the topic: "... [A]n emergency war funding bill — especially one that would set a hard exit date of Aug. 31, 2008, for U.S. troops in Iraq and impose strict readiness standards for deploying combat forces — is no place for extraneous issues. And certainly no place for bribes." (Editorial, "Pork Has No Place In 'Emergency' War Bill," USA Today, 3/22/07)

Compelling testimony from White House officials? Granting voting rights to an entity that is not a state? Dictating how the commander in chief should direct American forces in battle? I have a few copies of the Constitution I can send up  to Capitol Hill — they clearly need them.