Saturday, December 29, 2012

Laws vs Regulations

Permit me to provide just a little heads up and training this morning. The President, is now going to try to ram gun control legislation through the Congress. I doubt he can get it through the House, but the majority of the GOP over there continues to not be who they say they you never know. If he cannot get gun control legislation through the Congress, I expect him to attempt to use Executive Orders to enact regulatory schemes through Executive Branch agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF).

So, here is a relevant piece of information about our Constitution that many of our elected officials either do not know, or choose to ignore. Like I have said before, it has to be one of those two things; ignorance, or gross dereliction of their oath. All of these agencies that now fall under the Executive Branch are not mentioned in the Constitution. All of these agencies are authorized by statutory law enacted by the United States Congress, the Legislative Branch of our government. The framers of this brilliant document we call the Constitution vested ALL legislative power in the Congress. This is found in the very first sentence in the Constitution, Article I, Section 1. All of my former students young and old, know this as “the first principle of American Government”. Article I, Section 1 is made up of one sentence: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Therefore, per the Federal Constitution, and the brilliance of the framers, we have only one branch of government that can constitutionally make law. I point out “constitutionally” because many times people tell me: “well that’s not the way it is now”, to which I answer, “precisely my point, thanks for making it”. The reason that’s “not the way it is now” is due to our collective ignorance, silence, and inaction.

But on to my point, whenever one of these Executive Branch agencies makes a regulation, it is made behind closed doors by bureaucrats that are unelected, and therefore unanswerable to the people. The reason Article I, Section 1 says what it says is because the framers intended for laws to only come from people that had to answer to you and me at the ballot box. They intended for federal laws to be enacted by a deliberative body that would openly debate the merits of each law considered. Ok, so back to these things called “regulations”. Regulations enacted by Executive Branch agencies like BATF will carry the force of law with monetary or incarceration type penalties for violating them in exactly the same way a law passed by the Legislative branch would. Therefore, even though they are referred to as “regulations”, they are in effect laws. Good case in point, the Healthcare law that was passed (I call it ZeroCare) contained almost 3000 pages of statutory law enacted by people we voted for. To implement that behemoth law (the largest single law in our nation’s history), unelected bureaucrats have written almost 10,000 pages of regulatory dogma to date. Those regulations will be the undoing of most of our current healthcare system and many of our businesses.

What I am describing to you is just one way that our government has grown way beyond the Constitutional fence that the framers designed to keep the branches of our government separated and “in check”.

So why do I take the time to write all this out for you. Glad you asked. If the Presidnet and his cohort the Vice President are not able to get their wishes by enacting more firearms laws through the congress, they will probably turn to some other Executive type regulatory scheme with the BATF. When this happens, our lawmakers (Senate and House) are going to tell us that they did their job and refused to pass the legislation, and therefore we ought to thank them and pat them on the back and that its all the President's fault. I want to encourage you to be prepared to hold their feet to the fire and ask them why they permit the Executive branch to run roughshod over them by passing regulations that they (the Congress) have not passed into law. Here’s where knowledge of the workings of the Constitution comes in. Article I, Section 7 states that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. In other words the House of Representatives has first and final say on anything to do with spending. This is a very powerful “check” that virtually goes unused today. If an agency of the Executive Branch does something that violates the Constitution, like making law where they have no authority to make law, then the Congress can hit back (check) by defunding that agency. It actually is that plain and simple. So you might ask, Bob, why don’t they ever do that? We can only surmise why they never utilize this “check”, more than likely its fear of being accused of shutting down an important agency, or keeping federal workers in that agency from getting their paychecks, myriads of things not to which the least of them would be the leftist media excoriating them.

But folks, this is where we are today, for years of dereliction of duty, of Congress looking the other way while these agencies torment the citizenry with more and more regulations. The Congress enacted these agencies and turned them over to the Executive Branch, and now refuses to keep them in check.

Be informed and hold our elected officials accountable for their oath to the Rule of Law, the United States Constitution.

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