Cynical Synapse

Sun, 14 Mar 2010

Constitution’s Fate Hangs on Slaughter House Rule

Rep. Louise Slaughter

US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is crafting a rule to violate the US Constitution. In essence, the Slaughter House Rule deams the Senate health care overhaul bill passed if the majority of Representatives pass a bill with Senate bill modifications. In defiance of the US Constitution, then, Slaughter’s rule avoids a House vote on the Senate version of the bill. From the Constitution, which our elected representatives are sworn to uphold (emphasis added):

US Constitution preamble

Article I—The Legislative Branch

Section 7—Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Signing the US Constitution

Seems to me the framers of the Constitution were pretty explicit about the legislative process. In short, the same bill, word for word, has to pass both House and Senate. Passage requires a vote with the majority voting for the bill.

More importantly, the people have consistently wanted a bi-partisan bill for health care overhaul. The March 3-8, 2010, poll conducted by GfK Roper showed only 27% wanted a bill passed without Republican support, but 68% wanted our elected representatives to continue working on an agreeable deal. Never mind that 53% opposed the current health care reform plan according to the latest Rasmussen poll. How can the Democrats be so unaware or uncaring of the will of the people?

If Democrats persist with their plan to move their Frankenstein’s monster of a health care bill to President Obama for signing by declaring the bill passed in another bill, we will face a Constitutional crisis of severe magnitude. RedState has a list of the previous Democratic parlor tricks on the extremely pot-holed road of health care reform. And here are the consequences he expects from an illegal passage (emphasis his).

The American public was at first peeved about this government power grab, leading to wildly entertaining August recesses for congressional Democrats. As the Dems shoved non-matching bills through House and Senate, America got positively miffed. Witness McDonnell, Christie, and Brown.

Now America is flat irritated. And if the Dems try sporting this blatant middle finger at the Constitution and America, we will all see what happens when America is finally angry. Like Dan Perrin, I think Democrats will back down before doing this. But we’ve both underestimated their stupidity several times in this process. Nothing’s a safe bet anymore.

Obama's approval rating

Before this, Democrats were already going to lose HUGE in November. There are more House Democrats retiring in “safe” districts than there are Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys in prison. But if they try this stunt, the ensuing electoral revolt will be epic and irreversible, resulting in a Democrat Party crippled so irredeemably that I predict a new center-left party will emerge in the next 10 years, attempting to shed the stench of scandal and disrepute that will be permanently connected to the Democrats. Most likely the partisan press will accelerate their own death spiral as they are unwilling to speak ill of the Democrats.

But that is November. What will happen in March?

Six things I can think of, the first three within days. I couldn’t say what order, because things will move pretty quickly. So I list them how my mind sorts them.

1. The Supreme Court will strike it down within days.

I don’t remember which of the 3 authors I cited said this (or maybe I heard it on the radio), so I don’t know who to cite. But every American has standing here, due to the exceedingly far reach of the Health Care Takeover bill. Somebody will sue. I predict GOP members of Congress will, and it will go straight to the Supreme Court. They will strike down the whole caboodle, and they will do it almost immediately. Probably 6-3, with Breyer and Kennedy voting with the originalists. Their ruling is very likely to include language extremely damning of the behavior of Democrats.

2. Numerous states will declare statutorily under the 10th Amendment that this law will be unenforceable within their borders.

I’m guessing 20 states. The move has been afoot for awhile anyway, and this blatant flouting of the Constitution will trigger the America-loving, freedom-loving instincts into bold (if rash) action. And while they’re at it, they’re going to say the same thing about everything emanating from the EPA.

violent protest

3. There will be public anti-government outrage so great that it will boil into violence.

I do not condone this; it will be ugly and more than a little scary. Lest I give anybody fresh ideas, I will not expound upon it other than to say it will be directed, not generalized — directed at objects, property, and symbols of government, not at people. Although those who voted for this Slaughter Rule would be wise to perhaps hang around in Washington for awhile.

4. (Even more) new candidates opposing incumbent Democrats will come out of the woodwork.

Many already have, but many good ones have considered, then declined. Many of those will change their minds, even in blue states. And new ones will pop up like dandelions. And a whole bunch of them will win. The leftist partisan national media currently think Republicans might, juuuuuuuust MIGHT, get 40 seats and the House back. Idiots. It was already going to be 80 and 8. But after this stunt, it might be 120 and 14. This is what happens when the entire center turns on a party.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

5. State AGs will bring charges against sitting Congressmen for whatever they can plausibly pin on them.

Sedition is the actual crime (IMHO), and that’s a federal charge. But no USA will touch this, since they work for the president. Because members of Congress cannot be recalled, citizens will be thirsting for vengeance. Very loudly. State AG’s will be chomping at the bits to exact SOME form of payback, encouraged (or pushed) by their citizenry. Things like corruption, conspiracy, bribery, racketeering, tax fraud, and so on, will be easy indictments. As the last few months have shown, congressional Democrats have been so thoroughly corrupt for so long, nobody will even have to trump up anything.

6. Republicans will shut down business in Congress until January 5.

Then it will REALLY get fun.

Democrats will lose the country days after they pull the Slaughter Rule. They’ll have their illegal law both flouted and overruled, their members will be subject to investigations and indictments, and not a single item of interest will be signed into law, nor will any appointment be approved, before January 5, when a hundred or more of them leave Washington for good.

Rep. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) predicted political suicide for Democrats on CBS News’ Face the Nation this morning.

This is the most brazen act of political arrogance that I can remember since the Watergate years, not in terms of breaking the law but in terms of thumbing your nose at the American people and saying, “We know you don’t want it, we’re going to give it to you anyway.”

[President Obama] said last year that the health care debate is not just about health care, it’s a proxy for the larger issue of the role of government in American lives. We think he’s right about that.

Imagine the political, financial, and legal crises to follow if Democrats use the Slaughter House Rule. Health care could collapse in the limbo of whether or not the legislation is actually law. Will you be entitled to insurance or not? Will it be mandatory nor not? How much will it cost? The only winners will be lawyers who just might have a shot at bypassing Wall Street’s robber barons and the second most-hated, after legislators, group in the country. Still, be sure to tell your Representive how to vote on health care and the Slaughter House Rule.

HT: theblogprof

Health care battle



  1. It will get really ugly if Congress passes this disaster with a parliamentary slight of hand.

    Great post per usual@

    Comment by steve — Sun, 14 Mar 2010 @ 4:33 pm

  2. An excellent post CS!! This examplifies so very well a major problem in Washington – Politicians trying to find a “legal” way around the law and/or slick mid-night deals rather than working together for the majority of Americans.

    The true split on who wants the bill to pass amoung voters is 46 percent for and 49 percent against. As Joel Beneson, a seasoned pollster said “No pollster, including me, could look at the recent data and responsibly say anything other than that the American public is closely divided when it comes to supporting or opposing various health-care plans”. Therefore, if the “We will win no matter what” mentality in Washington would vanish, we could get some meaningful legislation passed without the hocus pocus.

    Beneson’s article:

    Comment by The Old Man — Mon, 15 Mar 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  3. @steve: Thanks, again, for stopping by and for your support.

    @The Old Man: Thanks, also, for stopping by and for your support. You raise a critical point: if politicians would listen to their constituents instead of playing party politics, we’d be much better off.

    Comment by cynicalsynapse — Mon, 15 Mar 2010 @ 9:04 pm

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