Laws and the Constitution

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by g8orbill, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    I am curious as to why our Congress has not stepped up to protect our Constitution. Once a law has been passed and signed into law by the President, according to our Constitution the only way a law can be changed is by an amedment or repeal. So how is it that the ACA has been allowed to be changed by our President contrary to our laws.

    The ACA that is set to go into effect on Oct1, is not the law that was passed in prezBO's first 2 years- prezbo has made decisions that are beyond his scope of power to make changes in a law from the oval office. I guess I can understand why dems have sat quietly, but pubs have totally wussed out, and I do not understand how they sit quietly while prezBO does things he is not Constitutionally allowed to do.
  2. oldgator
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    oldgator Premium Member

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    two reasons come to mind right away. And there may be other reasons
    1. As you say, the GOP in Congress 'wussing' out
    2. One that you did not mention, is that it may be in the GOP best interest at this time, in regard to this legislation---to go along with Obama. Either because they want the changes he is making. Or to let Obama have some rope and hope he hangs himself with it as time goes by. This would depend of course on how Obama's changes affect things.

    please note the non partisan nature of my post
  3. T3goalie
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    T3goalie VIP Member

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    LOL...

    Laws in the US are selectively enforced and intentionally not enforced.

    The only issue is which side of the aisle is supporting which law.

    The Dems bitch about the GOP and the ACA, while Potus claims he has the executive power to delay deadlines of the same law. While the GOP bitches about how intentionally and systmeically violating immigration and arming terrorists violate current law, while the DEMS think laws should be ingored if they are unfair or not convenient.
  4. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    this is not about selective enforcement like our immigration laws-this is about a sitting prez making changes in a law that he does not Constitutionally have the power to do
  5. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Is it important to you to follow the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law in all cases? Allowing some additional time to comply with implementing certain parts of a law so that it achieves a smoother rollout doesnt seem like a grave abuse of power to me.
  6. tim85
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    tim85 Well-Known Member

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    How do you explain, "the spirit of law" in court? I mean, how do you have a concrete definition of anything if it's only based in the "spirit" of it, which is something that's probably different to every other person. What's not different to every other person is the actual text and the "letter of the law." I understand what you're saying, and might even agree in certain cases, but I think it's pretty dangerous to start picking and choosing which parts of laws our government decides to enforce based on the "spirit" of it.
  7. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    It would be dangerous if there was no accountability. But there is. If you think the president, or whoever is abusing their power, you can take it to court, there are elections to potentially elect people who have a different view of the law, the legislature can do things to change it, etc.

    With finite resources you often have to prioritize ... marijuana is illegal in most states ... should officials use all the resources at their disposal to pursue marijuana offenders, giving them maximum penalties under the law? Or parking tickets? Or should the bulk of resources be devoted to pursuing other more harmful crimes? I think there is a difference betweeen "ignoring" a law, and prioritizing resources for enforcement or allowing flexbility on implementation to make it work better. "Ignoring" means you want to pretend it doesnt exist and forget about it, the other case is intended to allow it to function well within the constraints of reality or the priorities of the moment. It seems like the conservative mindset here is "you must meet these deadlines absolutely" is that they would prefer the law to fail, rather than succeed. Which isnt really respectful of the rule of law either, IMO.
  8. g8orbill
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    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

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    To be honest wg- what your are talking about is important because we are a country founded on the rule of law- there is no such thing as the spirit of the law- if there are issues with the law then it is according to our Constitution up to Congress to fix those issues- the Prez does not have the Constitutional authority to do so- and granting him those powers moves us dangerously towards
    Tyranny
  9. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    I'm certain the authors of the Constitution were familiar with Montesquieu's "Spirit of the Laws" published in 1756 in English. The letter v. spirit debate predates the Constitution, it's a pretty central debate from Enlightenment discourse up to the present.

    What is the philosophical case that allowing some deadline flexibility in implementing a democratically passed law is a path to tyranny?
  10. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    True or False: the reason (at least partially) you want strict adherence to the letter of the law is so that the law is seen as a boondogle or doesnt work as well as it could.
  11. Emmitto
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    Emmitto VIP Member

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    Executive orders have been used to make or alter law literally since George Washington.
  12. gatorjd95
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    gatorjd95 Active Member

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    wgb, there is a world of difference between enforcement/prosecutorial discretion and executive nullification/amendment of statutory dictate. Your "spirit of the law" argument is entirely misplaced.
  13. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Seems like you should explain in detail the difference then, especially pertaining to implementation deadline flexability. Does this significantly alter or nullify a law? How does this translate to an abuse of power?
  14. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    Bill, maybe this will help explain things a bit.

    As I'm sure you know, under our system of government, the legislature makes the law, the executive enforces the law, and the judiciary interpret the law. While that strict understanding of the branches of government is true, when it comes to the minutia of a law, there is a little more, let's say, "breathing room" between that.

    When a law is passed by the legislature, in this case Congress, the legislature does not always (in fact, rarely) include all the details. Congress can include an "intelligible principle" in the law and delegate to the executive to figure out the details. For example, if Congress passes a law that imposes contribution limits in elections, it may leave the details of how to deal with certain circumstances to the Federal Election Commission (such as how to apply limits over multiple cycles, how to address them with coordinated organizations, etc.). That is what regulations and rules are; the executive's codification of the details of a legislatively enacted law. Additionally, whether a law is enforced is entirely the prerogative of the executive branch because enforcement often involves choices in priority.

    Like agency action, those are what executive orders, decisions by the chief executive, can do. While Congress may make the law with the principle in it, whether the law is enforced and how that law is applied (as long as it complies with the intelligible principle set forth by the legislature) is an executive prerogative.

    I hope that's helpful.
  15. gatorjd95
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    gatorjd95 Active Member

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    Happy to explain - my hourly rate is $350. Pls PM me and I will provide wire transfer information for the retainer. :wave:

    If a statute states that X is to be done on Y date, that is the law and failing to follow that law is improper. If a statute states that Dept/Dir shall or may do X on a date Y or TBD at Dept/Dir discretion, then there is wiggle room. ACA has a mixture of both. Obama has granted exemptions and extended "hard" deadlines that are not discretionary. That is where he is violating the law. If he or you or anyone else does not like the law, then change it through proper legislative effort.
  16. gatorjd95
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    gatorjd95 Active Member

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    Looks like g8rjd beat me to the punch and we're basically saying the same thing.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    And if this represents an unnacceptable or egregious violation of the law or the powers of the executive, then challenge it through the "proper" channels.
  18. sierragator
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    sierragator Well-Known Member

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    "equal justice under law"

    what a sham.....

    some animals are more equal than others----George Orwell
  19. gatorjd95
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    gatorjd95 Active Member

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    Thus the complaint that Reps in Congress are "wusses."

    Of course, anyone who even speaks against O for his actions the Dems, media, etc. will scream that Reps are radical extremists trying to starve children and kill the elderly.
  20. T3goalie
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    LOL again. Spirit of the law... Also defined as "whatever those in power want it to be. "Presidents do not have the unilateral power to modify law whether its health care or arming terrorists.

    LOL! "Grave abuse of power" A new description... Also defined as "whatever those in power want it to be is still ok becuase they have good intentions and want to be fair". The fact that it violates the Constitution is just a small matter because our guy is an awesome guy who means well... Nice :asleep:
    ________

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