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Welcome to Martial Law: House Democrats Will Rule They Voted on Health Care Bill Without Actually Voting On It

posted at 3:56 pm on March 13, 2010 by

The Washington Examiner reports that House Democrats appear poised to adopt a rule that would pass the Senate health care bill without actually voting on it.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is preparing to pass the health care overhaul through the House of Representatives without a vote, as was originally reported by the National Journal’s Congress Daily. Mark Tapscott observes that such a maneuver would be the penultimate refutation of the people’s will.

In the Slaughter Solution, the rule would declare that the House “deems” the Senate version of Obamacare to have been passed by the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself.

Thus, Slaughter is preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill “passed” once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes. Democrats would thereby avoid a direct vote on the health care bill while allowing it to become law!

‘The Greatest Assault on the Constitution In Your Lifetime’

Constitutional attorney Mark R. Levin asks, “They’re going to present a rule, issued by her committee as chairman, that says that the House already adopted the Senate bill when we know it didn’t?”

U.S Constitution, Article I, Section VII, Clause II.

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

According to Levin, James Madison himself gave special care and attention to this clause in the Constitution.

Levin: And do you want to know why? Because this clause goes to the heart of this Republic.

This clause goes to the heart of how our representative body, that is Congress, makes laws. And so I want you to [observe] how particular the Framers were… They have to pass a Bill to present it to the President…

This is one of the most exacting clauses in the Constitution.

And, to the best of my knowledge, which extends over three decades, no Congress has previously tried to institute policies without actual statutes.

Here we have the President of the United States and Congressional leaders actually talking about the possibility of a brazen and open violation of one of the most fundamental aspects of our Constitution and Republic! How we actually make laws!

Let me be as clear as I know how. If this is done, this will create the greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War. It would be 100 times worse than Watergate.

…It would be government by fiat… meaning there would be no law… the mere discussion by officials in this government is such a grotesque violation of the actual legislative function of Congress [that it] puts us… at the brink. At the brink.

This is why we conservatives revere the Constitution. This is why we stress the Constitution’s words have meaning and historical context and must be complied with. Because otherwise we have anarchy, which leads to tyranny.

This is a crucial lesson for those of you who… aren’t sure what your beliefs are, or if you have any beliefs. Or aren’t sure if you even care. We have an effort underway by the one of the most powerful chairmen in Congress, the woman who heads the Rules Committee, …openly discussing gutting Congress. Gutting Congress.

And if this is done, this is about as close to martial law as you’ll ever get… So Louise Slaughter, a Representative from New York, is discussing, in essence, martial law. Now I can tell you, if they pursue this process, and try to impose this kind of a law, without actually passing a statute, that I will be in a race — with scores of others — to the courthouse to stop this.

I can’t think of a more blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution than this. And the liberal media has essentially ignored it!

…It’s not only absurd on its face — that these power-hungry ideologues, party-first-country-second types, would make the claim that the House voted on something it never voted on… that’s not only absurd on its face, it’s blatantly unconstitutional!

Levin: I wanted to bring additional firepower on this subject, my buddy Arthur Fergenson, who is a Constitutional expert and who has argued cases in front of the Supreme Court, including Buckley vs. Valeo

What do you make of this unbelievable — that they’re even talking about, this chairman of the Rules Committee — acting as if members of the House voted on something when they didn’t actually vote on it?

Fergenson: It’s preposterous. It’s ludicrous. But it’s also dangerous. It’s dangerous because, first, …because [the U.S. Constitution’s] Article I Section VII says every bill — and it capitalized “bill” — …it is common sense that the bill is the same item, it can’t be multiple bills, it can’t be mashups of bills. And, in fact, in 1986, Gene Gressman, no conservative, and one of the experts — the expert — on Supreme Court practice… was writing an article that was dealing with a less problematic attempt to get around this section of the Constitution… [Ed: the line-item veto] and he wrote, “By long usage and plain meaning, ‘Bill’ means any singular and entire piece of legislation in the form it was approved by the two houses.”

…the bills have to be revoted until they are identical. Both chambers have to vote on the bill.

If this cockamamie proposal were to be followed by the House and there were to be a bill presented to the President for his signature, that was a bill that had not been voted on — identically by the two Houses of Congress — that bill would be a nullity. It is not law. That is chaos.

I cannot recall any circumstance in which that has happened.

…What we have here is a measure, that if Obama signed it, would immediately affect taxation, it would change rules of practice in the insurance industry, it would regulate 17% of the nation’s economy, and it would be done without any legal basis whatsoever!

Fergenson: It’s like, the closest I can think of is martial law! The President would have no authority — there would be no law! It’s not like it would be constitutional or not. There would be. No. Law.

Levin: What do you make of people who sit around and even think of things like this? To me, they are absolutely unfit to even be in high office!

Fergenson: You’re right, Mark. And I would go back to what caused Gressman to write this… he was asked for his comments by the Senate… because the Senate was trying to do the equivalent of a line-item veto. And, in 1986, you were in the Justice Department under Attorney General Meese… there was a proposal… to take a bill and divide it into little pieces and.. then the President would sign each one or veto each one. That was unconstitutional. A Senate Rules Committee reported it unfavorably.

Levin: You know what’s interesting about this… Attorney General Ed Meese considered it unconstitutional even though President Reagan had wanted a line-item veto. And President Reagan agreed that it was unconstitutional without an amendment to the Constitution

…Speaking for myself, I would tell the people who listen to this program that you are under absolutely no obligation to comply with it [this health care bill] because it is not, in fact, law. Do you agree with me?

Fergenson: I agree with you. I believe it would be tested by the Supreme Court. I believe that, under these circumstances, chaos would reign. There is no obligation to obey an unconstitutional law. The courts are empowered to determine whether it’s unconstitutional… it’s not a law.

Under this scenario, the various arms of the federal government will be acting under a law that does not exist.

Cross-posted at: Doug Ross @ Journal.

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I sense the second revolution is about to begin…

Sam Adams on March 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Won’t believe until I see it, but maybe they really do have a death wish – which is rather ironic for a group of people presiding over health insurance reform.

CK MacLeod on March 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Unlike the pResident of the White House, Mark Levin IS a constitutional scholar and lawyer.

JohnTheBuilder on March 13, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Interesting times we live in.

“The Law” isn’t what the words say it is, “The Law” is whatever you can make people believe the words mean. Rather than a nation of “Law” we become a nation of men who assume positions of authority based on whatever talent they command.

Skandia Recluse on March 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM

If they go ahead with the Slaughter rule and it is then ruled unconstitutional, what is the penalty to those who voted for it? is there a penalty? I mean, this would be such a blantant attempt to destroy the Constitution could they just shrug their shoulders and try a different way? Or is this a hanging charge?

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM

I see dead people.

CriticalUpdate on March 13, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Perhaps we poor put upon citizens could “deem” the sixteenth amendment unconstitutional and cease paying income taxes.

Sauce for the goose—–

countrybumpkin on March 13, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Treason. No other way to see it, this would be plain and simple treason.

RachDubya on March 13, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Ya know, I kinda hope they do this now. There will be massive resistance and multiple legal challenges that I believe will end up with the “law” being declared unconstitutional. By that time it will be way too late to take it back to the House for an actual vote.

The Republicans will then “slaughter” the Democrats in November for attempting to subvert the Constitution. And Barack Obama will be the lamest of lame duck Presidents in history – he might even be forced to resign for signing such a blatantly unconstitutional piece of legislation.

This move will clarify forever for all Americans that the Democratic Party believes the Constitution is nothing but a piece of toilet paper to wipe their rear ends with.

rockmom on March 13, 2010 at 6:07 PM

This needs to be shouted from the rooftops. The fact that they’re even considering such action shows exactly how they feel about our government and constitution. This can not stand!

Vera on March 13, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Substitute a country for a lubricant in an old 1970’s song and “Greece is the word!”

Americannodash on March 13, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Cleaning my Arms and buying extra ammo.

bill30097 on March 13, 2010 at 6:45 PM

This is simply unconscionable, and cannot be allowed to stand. Period.

And another thought; if they do this, we must take note of the ones who vote for the rule change – when Republicans take the House back in November, any and all Democrats must be summarily ejected from Congress by the same procedure – make a rule change that *deems* all Democrats in the house to have resigned. In fact, let’s *deem* them to have committed treason and sentence them to life in prison.

Midas on March 13, 2010 at 7:08 PM

I sense the second revolution is about to begin…

Sam Adams on March 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM

If this thing happens, and isn’t thrown out by the courts, then I can’t see any alternative.

Midas on March 13, 2010 at 7:10 PM

I fear Madame Slaughter could go down in history as being destroyed by her own creation, not unlike Dr. Joseph Guillotin.
And although the legend is erroneous, Dr. Guillotin died of natural causes, I do hope Ms. Slaughter’s dubious actions do not bring about as prophetic a result to her name sake.

onomo on March 13, 2010 at 7:22 PM

This is why I am such a fan of Mark Levin.

He thermo-nuked this “Slaughter Solution” idea, and vowed to be the “first constitutional lawyer on the courthouse steps to kill the whole damn thing dead”.

The very idea of a Representative, who took an oath to uphold the US Constitution, openly contemplating such a revolting process as this, do something so transformational as this, is offensive on it’s face.

I agree with Mark that the Republicans in the House ought to make an example of this woman, and demand she be expelled from Congress for being unfit to hold high office.

The effort will not be ultimately successful given the Democrat majority, but it would still be very useful to communicate that this will not be tolerated, this is too far.

Someone needs to get through to these Democrats that we will not abide by the Founding Documents being thrown in the trash.

Brian1972 on March 13, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Actually, like Rockmom, it would almost be good if this occurred. BarryO signing something like this would be an impeachable offense. Take SloJoe with him. And with, hopefully, a new Republican dominated House and Senate in November, 2011 could be The Year. Wonder who’d be leader of the House then?

Robert17 on March 13, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Get those pitchforks ready!

VBMax on March 13, 2010 at 9:29 PM

Slaughter House 5 — slightly altering Vonnegut’s title here. He felt he must be living in an alternate reality as well.

GnuBreed on March 13, 2010 at 11:40 PM

I suspect the governed may have a few things to say about this … Read the Constitution.

I will believe it when I see it.

It’s getting really clear our Congress needs an enema and a full blown Florida Sunshine Constitutional Amendment to keep it clear.

tarpon on March 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Let’s think outside the box on this, folks. The United States Capitol Police protect Congress. Let’s ask the Chief of Police, Philip D. Morse, to arrest the members of the House of Representatives that act unconstitutionally.
He may not do that, but it’s good strategy to chip away at the defenders of criminals. It’s like hitting the convoy escorts first, then going after the transports later.
If the HC bill passes without a Constitutional vote, the Members are, by definition, domestic enemies of the Constitution.

NaCly dog on March 14, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Imagine the furor if the Bush administration and the Republicans had tried something like this.

No matter what their political bent, abject treason like this cannot be allowed to stand. If the Dems really do rule that that ‘voted’ on the bill, all 50 governors should call the White House and flatly refuse to obey the ‘law’…because the bill was never actually passed into law in the first place.

Decades of dirty tricks on both sides of the aisle have finally led to this: an outright attempt to rule by fiat. When the politicians can’t even be convinced to change their course by their big-business cronies (who’ve just realized how badly they’re about to be backstabbed) you know something big’s gotta give, and soon.

Dark-Star on March 14, 2010 at 7:51 PM

These people swore an oath, under God, mind you, to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic”—-if they are acting in this fashion, it is not unConstitutional, its not extraConstitutional, its ANTI Constitutional and it should be treated as an attack upon the Constitution by those sworn to uphold it.

ted c on March 14, 2010 at 8:44 PM

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