Category Archives: system of government

Richard Cordray: Is Obama’s recess appointment consistent with past presidential practices? – Slate Magazine

Richard Cordray: Is Obama’s recess appointment consistent with past presidential practices? – Slate Magazine.

Sneaking By the Senate

When did presidents start using recess appointments to bypass advice and consent?

President Obama used his recess appointment power to make Richard Cordray head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday, after Senate Republicans refused to allow a vote on the matter. When did presidents start using the recess appointment power to install people they knew the Senate would reject?

More than two centuries ago.

[…]

The authority to make recess appointments, and controversies surrounding it, are nearly as old as the United States itself. During the debates over constitutional ratification, anti-federalists argued that it gave the president monarchical powers. George Washington made several recess appointments without major uproar during the very first Senate recess in 1789, but even the esteemed first president soon ran into trouble.

[…]

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No longer the land of opportunity – The Washington Post

No longer the land of opportunity – The Washington Post.

Harold Meyerson

Opinion Writer

By , Published: January 3

“Over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an Entitlement Society,” Mitt Romney wrote in USA Today last month. The coming election, Romney told Wall Street Journal editors last month, will be “a very simple choice” between Obama’s “European social democratic” vision and “a merit-based opportunity society — an American-style society — where people earn their rewards based on their education, their work, their willingness to take risks and their dreams.”

Romney’s assertions are the centerpiece of his, and his party’s, critique not just of Obama but of American liberalism generally. But they fail to explain how and why the American economy has declined the past few decades — in good part because they betray no awareness that Europe’s social democracies now fit the description of “merit-based opportunity societies” much more than ours does.

[…]

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Ironic Perry can’t get on Va. ballot – Houston Chronicle

Ironic Perry can’t get on Va. ballot – Houston Chronicle.

Ironic Perry can’t get on Va. ballot

Updated 08:14 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry has another “oops” on his hands, having failed to get on the ballot for the March 6 Virginia primary. His campaign submitted more than enough names to meet the 10,000-signature requirement, but it did not ensure that the people who collected the autographs were all registered voters or eligible to vote in the state, which is a requirement for the Virginia Republican primary.

Perry does not deny that he failed to meet the state statutory requirements, but that does not mean he is simply going to take it. Rather, Perry is suing in federal court to overturn this state decision. And for a 10th Amendment advocate like Perry, that’s like rain on his wedding day.

[…]

To win this case, Perry is going to need a judge willing to overturn state law. Dare we say, Perry will need an activist judge.

We think Perry should take this opportunity to reflect upon his antagonistic rhetoric toward federal courts.

[…]

The governor might also use this experience to contemplate the consequences of the overreaching voter ID law that he supported in the Texas Legislature. After all, that law threatens to place severe burden on voters’ freedoms of speech and risks prohibiting otherwise qualified voters from taking part in the democratic process.

We agree that Virginia’s ballot requirements are overly burdensome, and as a major candidate Perry does belong on the ballot. But Perry suing in federal court over strict state voter ID rules is exquisitely ironic.

Read the full article here: The Houston Chronicle

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Filed under 1st Amendment, ballots, Constitution, election laws, elections, federal courts, judicial activism, Judicial System, politics, USA, Virginia, voter ID

The Insidious Fine Print in the Spending Bill – NYTimes.com

The Insidious Fine Print in the Spending Bill – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

The Insidious Fine Print

It looks like a small throwaway line in a 2012 spending bill: no federal funds may be used to carry out chapters 95 or 96 of the Internal Revenue Code. A little digging shows that those chapters happen to authorize the presidential election public financing system. A few House Republicans, who have long hated the system, thought they could get rid of it by inserting the line in a bill to keep the government from shutting down this weekend.

The provision will eventually be deleted, but it is only one of scores of policy riders that Republicans have tried to insert in the spending bill. Most have nothing to do with Congress’s basic job of financing the government, but nongermane provisions have become standard procedure for conservative lawmakers to pursue ideological goals with a few words in must-pass bills. Like pieces of shrapnel, they have to be extracted one at a time, but a few always seem to remain, doing a great deal of damage.

[…]

Read the full stroy here: The New York Times

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Stopping the Free-for-All in Immigration Laws – NYTimes.com

Stopping the Free-for-All in Immigration Laws – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Stopping the Free-for-All

The Supreme Court’s decision to review a federal court ruling blocking parts of Arizona’s notorious immigration law is troubling. It is arguably premature to take this case because there is no split among the federal appellate courts over states’ powers to enact such laws.

The court should use this opportunity to clarify the need for uniform laws in this area of vital national interest and stop the march of states taking immigration policy into their own hands. The Obama administration sued to stop Arizona — and later Utah, Alabama and South Carolina — because immigration is a federal responsibility that states cannot usurp.

[…]

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No Labels: Is this the first centrist group ever to have good ideas? – Slate Magazine

No Labels: Is this the first centrist group ever to have good ideas? – Slate Magazine.

Stop the Filibuster, Fix Presidential Appointments

Is “No Labels” the first centrist group ever to have good ideas?

Have we been too hard on the centrists? I just spent most of a day with these creatures, learning their language of applause and mutual congratulation. By the end, I was shocked: They were on to something.

One year ago, when the group No Labels announced itself with an all-day congratulation-fest in New York, Politico’s Ben Smith asked whether it was basically a Democratic front group. The only Republicans onstage, he wrote, “had recently lost primary races.” Its too-cute logo, a Noah’s Ark of animals to compete with the donkey and the elephant, was ripped off from an independent designer. Its slogan—“Not Left. Not Right. Forward”— was ripped off from MSNBC, said Rush Limbaugh.

In 2011, political reporters knew No Labels as the guys who sent out “action” emails with no actual policy demands. This was odd. While FreedomWorks or MoveOn would call for a phone-melting campaign to pass a bill or block a nominee, No Labels cried only for people to get along. A July 14 email asked supporters to “call your representative and urge them to continue their work in Washington to find a bipartisan solution.” An Oct. 5 blast about the supercommittee called for politicians to “put their labels aside and work together for the good of the country.” Repeat, repeat, every few days.

But this was before Dec. 13, and the smoothly choreographed launch of an actual No Labels plan. “Make Congress Work!” (the exclamation point is theirs) is a list of 12 ideas, crowdsourced over a couple of months and debuted by a panel that included two actual elected Republicans, Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. There are a few nonclunkers among those 12 ideas. Presidential appointments: Give them up-or-down votes within 90 days. Filibusters: If people are going to do it, make them stand up and empty their lungs out, Jimmy Stewart-style.

[…]

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Will Congress Ban Corruption in Its Midst? – NYTimes.com

Will Congress Ban Corruption in Its Midst? – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Will Congress Ban Corruption in Its Midst?

In a rare instance of Congressional bipartisanship, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees have quietly approved badly needed measures to tighten the anticorruption laws applicable to members of Congress. These laws have eroded across a decade of court decisions, and it remains to be seen whether the full Congress will tighten bans on fraud and bribe-taking by those in its ranks.

With public approval of Congress in the single digits, the two houses would be wise to pass the Clean Up Government Act of 2011. The measure would strengthen the federal anti-bribery law that was considerably narrowed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision saying the statute covers only cases of outright kickback schemes, requiring proof of quid pro quo corruption. That lets conniving officials off the hook if they engage in undisclosed self-dealing — like quietly steering a valuable road plan through land they secretly acquired

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Filed under Congress, Congress, corruptopn, ethics (in politics), government, politics, politics & business

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts – NYTimes.com

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts

In any campaign season, voters are bound to hear Republican candidates talk about “activist judges” — jurists who rule in ways that the right wing does not like. But Newt Gingrich, who is leading in polls in Iowa, is taking the normal attack on the justice system to a deep new low.

He is using McCarthyist tactics to smear judges. His most outrageous scheme, a plan to challenge “judicial supremacy,” has disturbing racial undertones. If he is serious about his plan, a President Gingrich would break the balance of power that is fundamental to our democracy.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Are We a Democracy? – NYTimes.com

Are We a Democracy? – NYTimes.com.

November 9, 2011, 8:35 pm

Are We a Democracy?

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The American Spectator : Going North

The American Spectator : Going North.

Feature

Going North

In a parliamentary system, we would easily solve our debt crisis.

AFTER THE STANDARD & POOR‘S downgrade in early August, it didn’t take long for the blame game to begin. Predictably, the mainstream media blamed the Republicans. The problem began with the November 2010 election, when a group of Tea Party “terrorists” were elected to Congress. Those who take a longer view blamed it on George W. Bush (who else?).

I go back even earlier. To September 6, 1787, to be precise. That’s when the Founders in Philadelphia abandoned their plans for parliamentary governance in favor of a presidential system.

The presidential system, with its separation of powers between the different branches of government, is at the core of the Constitution, and questioning its worth seems almost unpatriotic. And yet we very nearly adopted a system not unlike the parliamentary regimes of Great Britain and Canada, which lack a separation of powers.

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Read the full story here: The American Spectator

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