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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Odd State of Political Affairs

It's a bit hard to understand what the American people are thinking today.  Sixty percent of the states have a Republican governor, and far more states have Republican majority legislatures than Democratic legislatures.  Republicans have strong control of the US House of Representatives, yet the Democrats have firm, but marginal control of the US Senate, and of course the White House.  Don't forget that Obama is the first President since Woodrow Wilson to run successfully for a second term and get fewer votes.  That's not what you call a ringing endorsement from the American people.  He is still in office and still a threat to freedom and to the US Constitution, to be sure.  To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

It appears that the situation will continue down the same path, getting both better and worse at the same time.  President Obama spoke out on Sunday, January 27, complaining that the news media wasn't giving him a fair break.  In an attack on both Rush Limbaugh and FOX News, he sounded like Hugo Chavez complaining that anyone who didn't agree with him should be silenced.  All pretty incredible stuff when you consider that this President has nearly universal backing and support of the main stream media (MSM).  They love him, they love him, they love him.  But, it's still not enough.  Clearly he wants a media that totally reveres him, with no dissidents.  Talk about thin-skinned and having an other worldly view of reality!  It would be weird and outlandish anywhere but in the Willy Wonka world of Washington, DC.  I'm sure the MSM all nodded their heads in agreement and will henceforth be even more biased and supportive of him.  You could almost hear them chanting, "Down with the First Amendment!  Down with the First Amendment!"

Obama may have the MSM marching in lockstep, but all is not bright and sunny in Obamaland.  In a stunning victory for commonsense and for the United States Constitution, the US Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the recess appointments of Obama to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (while the US Senate was still in session) were illegal.  Yes, it wasn't a typical session of the Senate, but every day it was called to order and therefore, following the letter and spirit of the law, the Court ruled that the appointments were illegal. 

The MSM tried to paint this as some Neanderthal move by the Court and noted that many previous Presidents had made recess appointments.  However, the MSM carefully neglected to note that no previous President had made any recess appointments when the Senate was procedurally called to order—not one.  The gutless Republican Senators didn't have the courage to file a lawsuit challenging the appointments, but one was filed by Noel Canning, a family-owned Yakima, Washington bottling company, which complained the NLRB unfairly ruled in favor of Teamsters Local 760 during contract negotiations.  What courage and what cost this family had to file this lawsuit.

As you may recall, the NLRB was stacked by Obama, through recess appointments, appointing union lawyers like Craig Becker to serve on the NLRB board.  The NLRB has not always been fair handed, and the reason for its existence is doubtful, but Obama is the first president to stack the deck with union radicals bent on punishing businesses and bypassing Congress.  How radical is Craig Becker?  Becker has argued that workers should not have any right to opt out of union representation, period.  In the past, he served as legal counsel for a local union founded as a subsidiary of the corrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  Among the outrageous rulings by the Obama NLRB is one giving unions the right to organize a company in secret and then giving just a few days for the company to respond before a vote to unionize must be held.  The Board also endeavored to eliminate secret ballots for unionization, thus allowing workers who would otherwise choose not to join a union to be intimidated.  Such intimidation is no idle threat. 

My father was forced to join a union, but when the union went on strike, he and a few others chose to continue working.  Trash was thrown in the yards of those who continued working and they were verbally abused and threatened.  The only people who oppose a secret ballot are those who want to physically and verbally intimidate workers from having free choice.

As an aside, it is worth noting that the ruling also throws into question the legality of the appointment of Richard Cordray, the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Obama used the same type of recess appointment to install Cordray.  His appointment is being challenged in a separate lawsuit.

So now that the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC has ruled unanimously you and I can assume that the President and the NLRB have ceased to issue rulings, right?  Wrong!  The White House was silent for several days, but the word is now out that they feel the Court of Appeals was wrong, so they intend to ignore the ruling!  Similarly, the NLRB, that has issued more than 200 rulings illegally, plans to continue hearings as if nothing has happened.

Of course, ignoring the law, ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the Courts is nothing new for this Administration.  Whatever it doesn't agree with, it simply ignores or even attacks, as in the case of the State of Arizona enforcing federal laws against illegal immigration which Obama's Department of Justice (DOJ) refused to enforce.  The list instances this Administration has defied the Constitution and the law is quite extensive.  Obama didn't agree with the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress, so his DOJ argued against it at the US Supreme Court.  Never mind that the President took an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution and the laws of the land.  When Congress refused to enact the radical "Cap and Tax" legislation, the President sought to create his imaginary green utopia, bypassing Congress, and having the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue edicts accomplishing the same end.  It's boring and repetitive to state the obvious, but President Obama has total disregard for the rule of law and for the US Constitution.  He has made it clear that he feels it is just a "negative" document that tells government what it cannot do to the people, instead of a positive document that should say what the government can do for people.  The fact is that when the leader of Government advocates and practices lawlessness, the people will follow suit. 

But the good news is that a panel of Appeals Court judges, appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents, has unanimously ruled in favor of the Constitution.  Now the Supremes will have their say.  Unanimous rulings by the US Court of Appeals (except for the screwball Ninth Circuit Court) are rarely overruled by the US Supreme Court.  The Democrat appointees are just political ideologues who promote their liberal agenda with total disregard for the United States Constitution to which they took an oath of allegiance.  It would certainly be refreshing to see just one of these partisans show enough character and respect for the Constitution by sustaining the ruling of the Appeals Court, but don't hold your breath.  I believe we are justified in holding out hope that commonsense and sound jurisprudence will prevail.

There is more good news.  On Friday, January 18 the US Circuit Court of the Seventh District issued a ruling based on commonsense, the law, and the US Constitution, rejecting claims of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (along with six other state government unions).  The unions argued that Governor Scott Walker had violated the Equal Protection clause and the First Amendment.  A part of the plaintiffs argument was that the elimination of the requirement that the State of Wisconsin automatically deduct union dues violated the First Amendment!  The reality or the union argument is summed up clearly in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal

"Wisconsin's failure to automatically subtract union duties from paychecks endangers free speech because it requires organized labor to persuade its own members that its activities are valuable enough to contribute to voluntarily."

Wow!  How such an outrageous claim could pass muster from a lower court is breathtaking, but it did.  The Unions simply found two lower court judges who ruled on the basis of their liberal ideology, rather than on the basis of logic and the US Constitution.

Will the ruling of the Seventh District Court stand?  I think the answer is quite likely.  Even an Obama appointed judge joined in the decision in part and dissented in part.  This is going to be a very hard one to pass muster at the US Supreme Court.

All in all, it's been a pretty good start to Obama's second term.  These two legal setbacks are historic and very important.  Arrogance encourages overreaching and overreaching creates setbacks and scandals.  I'm confident there will be plenty of both in Obama's second term.  This could be fun.

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