Category Archives: Politics

Trump Swings and Misses

This was not a good day for American foreign policy.

After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.

Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

The two men held nearly two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to the allegations of meddling in the elections.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” he replied.

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

In a strongly-worded statement, US House Speaker Paul Ryan said Mr Trump “must appreciate that Russia is not our ally”.

Of course, we don’t know what was accomplished in private yet, but the public outcome of Trump’s meeting with Putin left a lot to be desired.

Democratic Candidates Support Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Of course they do.

The participants were former state Rep. Kelda Roys; Mahlon Mitchell, head of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin; political activist Mike McCabe and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

 […]

A question from Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights organization based in Milwaukee, asked if candidates would support a law that would allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s’ licenses “no matter what their status or income.” All four candidates said yes, and pointed to a larger need to support immigrants.

But they do not support the kids of those illegal aliens having access to better schools through School Choice. Democrats are big on keeping people staying in their assigned place in society.

 

Foxconn Will Only Benefit Southeast Wisconsin

Oh, wait

Foxconn Technology Group is buying a historic downtown Eau Claire building and space in the Haymarket Landing building as part of an expansion that will create 150 jobs.

The company announced it is expanding its Wisconn Valley Innovation Network to west-central Wisconsin as part of its initiative to spur innovation, attract talent and connect with supply chain partners, according to a statement. Foxconn plans to close on these properties later this year and open new operations in early 2019.

The new centers, to be named Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley, will create at least 150 high-tech jobs in Eau Claire. Employees will work with companies that will become part of Foxconn’s extensive supply chain and contribute to the development of the AI 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is building in Wisconsin.

“We are excited to expand our Wisconn Valley footprint to the Chippewa Valley and west-central Wisconsin. Our goal in establishing Foxconn Place here is to help inspire innovative ideas, attract talent and catalyze cutting-edge solutions in this part of the state,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives and President of FEWI Development Corporation. “Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will play a key role in building a vibrant AI 8K+5G ecosystem in the U.S., with Wisconsin at the center of this vision.”

I will remind the gentle reader that every single Democrat running for governor has spoken against the Foxconn deal. I actually think that if one of them would break with the pack and champion Foxconn, they would stand a better chance of winning the general election, but it would kill them in the primary.

Feinstein Not Liberal Enough for Californian Dems

Who thought we would see the day that Feinstein would anchor the right wing of her party.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The California Democratic Party snubbed U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Saturday by handing its official endorsement and a badly needed boost to state Sen. Kevin de Leon, her longshot Democratic challenger.

In backing de Leon, a majority of the party’s 360-member executive board ignored Feinstein’s calls to stay neutral in the race. Her allies had warned an endorsement would create an intraparty squabble that could detract from important down-ballot races.

De Leon has long been courting party activists and appealed to those seeking a fresh face and a more progressive senator to fight against President Donald Trump.

“Today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C.,” de Leon said in a statement after the vote. “We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century.”

Astroturfing the Supreme Court

This time they got sloppy. Usually they at least change a few words to make it more believable. It’s hard to blame the papers. How are they supposed to check that until the letters run elsewhere?

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors

At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.

The effort is an example of public-relations ‘astroturfing,’ a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.

The form letter is one small piece of the message minefield erupting around Kavanaugh as he prepares for a brutal confirmation process that will end with scant support from Democrats.

Strzok Should Take a Page from Page

I don’t know how much of this praise is legitimate and how much is crafted to put pressure on the FBI and Strzok, but it sure is different from the Strzok testimony. Although Strzok kept trying to hide behind advice from the FBI to keep quiet, it appears that Page did not receive, or is not adhering to, the same advice.

“Lisa Page is a very credible witness and she’s doing her best to help us find the truth,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said following Friday’s hearing. “I can tell you, in ways I think she’s been falsely accused about not being willing to cooperate. We’ve learned some evidence today that would suggest she’s been willing to help, in the spirit of transparency. … The last thing anyone wants is to be falsely accused. Her willingness to cooperate today speaks well for her.

“I think there’s significant information that is new, that she has provided,” he added. “Obviously you know I am in favor of getting transcripts out for the American people, so that they can judge for themselves, but certainly I’m not going to share those today until those become public.”

Meadows tweeted following the hearing, “Remarkably, we learned new information today suggesting the DOJ had not notified Lisa Page of Congress’ outstanding interview requests for over 7 months now. The DOJ/FBI appear to be continuing their efforts to keep material facts, and perhaps even witnesses, from Congress.”

After she did not appear on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “congressional subpoenas for testimony are not optional,” warning Page that the House could move to hold her in contempt if she did not comply.

“She was a part of the mess that we’ve uncovered over at DOJ. She has an obligation to come and testify,” Ryan, R-Wis., emphasized Wednesday during a news conference at the Capitol. “If she wants to come and plead the Fifth, that’s her choice, but a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional. It’s mandatory.”

Dems Vow to Keep ICE

HAHAHAHAHAHA

A group of Democrats who introduced legislation to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said they will vote against the measure if GOP leadership follows through with their vow to bring it to the House floor.

Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Adriano Espaillat(D-N.Y.) released a statement Thursday accusing GOP leaders of exploiting the legislation for political gain after leadership confirmed it planned to hold a vote.

While the Democratic lawmakers said they plan to vote against their own measure – which would create a commission to examine ICE’s responsibilities and then recommend transferring them to other agencies – they said they welcome the opportunity for debate.

So some lefty politicians, led my Wisconsin’s own Mark Pocan, jump on the radical bandwagon and submit a bill to abolish ICE. When the leadership says, “OK, cool… let’s have a vote,” those same lefty politicians cry foul and vow to vote against their own bill, thus proving that they were just posturing.

On the bright side, I guess I’m happy that they aren’t actually stupid enough to abolish ICE.

Democrats Call for Kavanaugh to Recuse Himself

The Democrats are just insane right now.

A former boss and political ally of Brett Kavanaugh, pushing back on a mounting rallying cry of Senate Democrats, said it is “preposterous” to suggest that the Supreme Court nominee should recuse himself from cases involving Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia, because there is no evidence Kavanaugh and the president made a “deal” about the issue.

“I don’t see the basis for a recusal,” Timothy Flanigan, who served as deputy White House counsel during the early years of the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview for the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”

When it was pointed out that Trump had nominated Kavanaugh while under investigation by Mueller — and facing a potential subpoena for his testimony — Flanigan replied, “I’m not sure I see the relevance of that.” He added that “unless there was a credible suggestion that … there’s some kind of deal that Brett would vote against [upholding a subpoena to the president], I frankly find that preposterous.”

Since President Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday night, a number of Democrats have demanded that Kavanaugh commit to recusing himself from any issues involving the Mueller probe that could end up before the court. They have argued that it would be a conflict of interest for him to rule on issues such as a potential subpoena for Trump’s testimony or whether the president can be indicted — and that his vote on a divided court could be decisive, ultimately determining the fate of Trump’s presidency.

“I don’t think he should be on the court, and you can be sure that me and my colleagues on the Democratic side are going to be asking if he will recuse himself, should he be confirmed,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., told reporters.

So because Democrats fantasize that Trump made a deal with Kananaugh over an BS investigation, he should commit to recusing himself on some potential, unnamed case that might come before the Supreme Court? Nuts.

FBI Refuses to Answer

Put aside the specific issue, Trump, Gowdy, etc. and consider this in the abstract. What we have here is Congress trying to exercise its Constitutional oversight authority over a law enforcement agency in the Executive Branch, and that agency refusing to cooperate. Abolish ICE? It might be time to abolish the FBI. Which agency has abused the civil rights of more Americans during its existence?

A House Judiciary Committee hearing quickly spiraled into chaos on Thursday when FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok said he couldn’t answer a question related to the Russia investigation because the FBI’s lawyers had instructed him not to, leading the committee’s chairman, Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to threaten to hold Strzok in contempt.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., asked Strzok — whose anti-Trump text messages led to his removal from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller — how many interviews he conducted in the first week of the probe.

“Congressman, as you know, counsel for the FBI, based on the special counsel’s equities, has instructed me not to answer questions about the ongoing investigation into Russian attempts to interfere,” Strzok replied.

Gowdy repeated his question and Strzok repeated his answer, infuriating Goodlatte.

“Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question,” Goodlatte said. “Are you objecting to the question?”

Baldwin Won’t Vote for Kavanaugh

I’m shocked. SHOCKED!

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she’ll oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, citing his views on health care and abortion rights.

“The people of Wisconsin need a fair, impartial and independent Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for them, not for powerful special interests. I don’t have confidence that Judge Kavanaugh would be that justice,” Baldwin, D-Madison, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

Baldwin’s opposition is not surprising. Kavanaugh has yet to have any Democratic senators pledge support for his confirmation, though a few remain undecided — and most have come out strongly opposed.

Rogue School Board Foments Turmoil

This story is amazing, but not surprising.

DPI issued a finding late last month that the Mercer School District inappropriately spent about $175,000 from its community programs and services account — otherwise known as “Fund 80” — over the 2015-’16 and 2016-’17 school years. Most of that was used to boost wages and benefits for a small group of employees, including Torkelson, without adequate documentation, according to the letter.

DPI also admonished board members for voting on bonuses for administrators, including $11,000 for Torkelson, in closed session.

[…]

The DPI probe focused on how the tiny school district spent its Fund 80 dollars for recreation including pickleball and community programming over the two years. Torkelson said in a January interview that the district offers a broad array of programming — child care, senior meals, yoga, art and music classes — that have “transformed the culture of our district.”

Critics dismiss it as a handful of sparsely attended classes and a “walking track” through the halls of the school.

[…]

Of keen interest has been Torkelson’s compensation. Torkelson was paid about $136,000 last year, though his contract was for about $98,000, according to his critics. He said he effectively buys back some of his benefits, including insurance and unused vacation days, but Reinert and others say that should total no more than $114,000.

[…]

And things could get heated. In 2014, a local blogger, Richard Thiede, sued the district for suggesting he was tied to a supposed hacking of the district’s email system. Reinert was slapped with a restraining order over the “Fifty Shades” fracas. Late last year, the board voted to consider legal action against anyone, including Reinert, who forwarded an email letter critical of the district.

[…]

Reinert and Duley, as well as one of the deputies, tried to obtain the district’s video of the meeting, but were not successful.

Months later, then-President Deanna Pierpont told the Journal Sentinel that she had erased it, and that Mercer no longer records its meetings.

“I didn’t like what I saw. … People in the audience were yelling. Students were there. … I just felt that I didn’t want that out on the website.”

Reinert was stunned when she heard, but not entirely surprised.

“Unbelievable. I was afraid they were going to do that,” Reinert said. “It’s illegal. You can’t just get rid of documentation of a public meeting.”

We are seeing shadows of this from local governments (school boards, in particular) all over Wisconsin. Threatening detractors, stonewalling requests for information, conducting the people’s business outside of public view, destroying public records, violating board contracts and policies, an on and on. And when wrongdoing is identified, District Attorneys and the Attorney General are always reluctant to prosecute anyone in local government.

Unfortunately, our form of self-government relies on honorable people conducting the people’s business. Many times, the only real enforcement mechanism for school boards is for the public to vote them out of office. But that takes a long time and relies on the public being able to learn about their malfeasance. This is further aggravated by the collapse of local news outlets’ ability or willingness to ferret out the information. Often times, the local school district is one of the largest advertisers for the local newspaper that is supposed to be covering them. This leaves the hard task of digging out local government dirt to amateurs and angry citizens, who are often marginalized and stonewalled. They simply do not have the time or resources to aggressively investigate suspected bad behavior by local governments.

I don’t really have a good answer. Good government requires that citizens be vigilant about electing good people to office and that they remain engaged to hold their elected officials accountable. But few citizens have the time to really keep tabs on their local municipality, county, school board, and other various governments. Also, information is increasingly difficult to uncover in an era where we, as a people, are not willing to financially support the local media outlets that we need to dig out relevant and actionable information.

The inevitable result is what we are seeing… more and more local governments being run by ne’er-do-wells and buffoons with little regard or capacity for honorable stewardship of the public business.

Baldwin’s Empty Chair

Ouch

Germany’s Gas

Trump is right.

Donald Trump‘s claim that Germany imports 70 per cent of its gas from Russia at a fiery Nato summit today is correct – and the country will soon receive even more.

The EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat, says that Russia is responsible for up to 75% of Germany’s total gas imports.

And experts say that figure could dramatically increase after a new pipeline between Russia and Germany opens in two years time.

[…]

Donald Trump also questioned the role of the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who is now working for Gazprom.

Schroeder signed the deal for Nord Stream in haste after being ousted by Angela Merkel in a narrow election defeat in 2005.

Just weeks after leaving office, however, he started overseeing the implementation of the project for Gazprom.

Schroeder took up position as head of Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee and has worked for the gas behemoth ever since.

The former politician is rumoured to have been paid millions by Gazprom and is set to pocket even more with the announcement of the second phase of the Nord Stream project.

Washington County Sheriff Candidate’s Spouse Signed Walker Recall Petition

It has come to my attention that the wife of one of the two Republican candidates for Washington County Sheriff signed the petition to recall Governor Walker in 2011. Shelly Schulteis is the wife of Captain Marty Schulteis. She is a teacher in the West Bend School District and signed the recall petition. You can see it for yourself here.

One can certainly debate how relevant this fact is, but it is certainly newsworthy. The attempted recall of a sitting governor over the passage of Act 10 was a defining issue in Wisconsin that energized both sides of the debate to a white hot fury. The debate over Act 10 continues to be waged even as the evidence of years has mounted to prove that the Act has been tremendously successful in liberating local governments and taxpayers from the shackles of the entrenched public employee unions. It is precisely because the attempted recall of Governor Walker was so controversial that signing the recall petition continues to be relevant in current events.

In this case, we are not talking about the candidate signing the petition. We are talking about his wife. How relevant is it to how the candidate will perform the job should he win? That’s hard to say. We are also talking about a political office that, although partisan, is not terribly political. While a Sheriff can be politically active and has a philosophical view of how to do the job, 90+% of the job has to do with things like leadership, management, prioritization, communication, preparedness, etc.

Also, Marty Schulteis has a long history on the job in Washington County. If he were a closet lefty who uses his position to advance liberalism, one would think that someone would have noticed by now. I haven’t heard anyone make that claim.

I have met with both candidates and investigated their backgrounds. I am personally still undecided and it’s a close call for me. Both candidates have solid law enforcement bona fides and conservative philosophies, but have slightly different takes on how to be a Sheriff. You can read my column from a few weeks ago about them. This is another piece of data to throw into the decision matrix that wasn’t included in that column.

I asked Captain Schulteis if he would like to comment. He provided a very thoughtful response that I have posted in full below.

My commitment to Washington County is that I will be a Constitutional Sheriff that protects the individual rights of every person.  The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution contain individual rights including the 1st amendment freedom of expression. My core belief in individual rights does not end when I pull into my driveway.

My wife is an exceptionally talented and dedicated local elementary educator of over 20 years.  She is a strong and independent woman and I love her more than life itself. We started dating in high school long before our career paths developed.  She and I share common ground on many public policy issues, but there are other areas that we find ourselves on completely opposite spectrums politically.  One such example is the Governor’s performance.   She signed the Walker petition back in 2011 based on her convictions. She also never left the classroom during the Madison protests based on her convictions.  We have simply agreed to disagree on Act 10.  Anyone with a significant other can probably relate to not always agreeing with one another on some issue.

I was raised in a conservative household and that is simply who I am.  Although I do not agree with her, my greater conviction is that I completely protect her ability to have a difference of opinion.

If elected as Sheriff, my pledge will be to represent all with respect, dedication and fairness.  The Sheriff needs to embody everyone’s common concerns relating to local public safety policy.   It is imperative that the Sheriff can work with others that may not have the same philosophical views, even his wife.

Forum for Candidates For 59th Tomorrow

FYI. Common Sense Citizens of Washington County are hosting a forum tomorrow:

Wednesday night, July 11th will be the voter forum for the four candidates running for the open 59th Assembly seat. The forum will begin at 7:00 and is at the West Bend Moose Lodge.

This is shaping up to be a very interesting race. I’ll have more on it in the days to come.

Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh for SCOTUS

By all reports, Judge Kavanaugh is a solid, traditional, judicial conservative. In another era, he would not be controversial at all. Trump is delivering on his promise of nominating great judges.

Mr Kavanaugh has served since 2006 on the influential US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was formerly a White House aide under George W Bush.

He previously worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Democratic former president Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

[…]

He is the kind of judge a President Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney would have picked – a man with an established legal pedigree and a reputation as a reliably conservative jurist.

If the party sticks together, the president’s choice will be sitting on the Supreme Court when its new term starts in October.

President Trump campaigned with a promise to conservatives that he would fill the federal courts, from the top on down, with judges to their liking.

It’s a promise that has helped cement near-record levels of support for his presidency from Republican voters – and for good reason.

Mr Trump is securing a conservative judiciary for a generation.

Putting Crooks in Jail Reduces Crime

Who would have thought?

Keep two things in mind in assessing the consensus among Democratic gubernatorial candidates — and, apparently, former Governor Tommy Thompson — that Wisconsin incarcerates too many criminals.

  1. In 1990, there were 215,000 crimes reported in Wisconsin. Last year the total was 123,388.
  2. In 1990 Wisconsin prisons housed 7,332 inmates. At the start of this year the number was 23,200.

In other words, the expansion of Wisconsin’s inmate population coincides with a 43 percent reduction in crimes reported by the FBI. Research documents a causal link between reduced crime rates and the incarceration of serious, repeat offenders. The staggering cost of crime to victims is obviously much less, a factor almost never mentioned when discussing the higher costs of incarceration.

It is amazing how many crimes are committed by a few people. Very few people just commit one crime, but almost all crimes are committed by a very few people.

WI to Exempt Some Small Retailers from Internet Sales Tax

Not only do I not like the tax increase, I thoroughly dislike that an unelected agency is making these arbitrary decisions instead of the legislature.

The Department of Revenue’s administrative rule to allow the state to begin collecting the sales tax on some online transactions will include an exemption for smaller retailers.

The DOR’s announcement yesterday is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for states to begin collecting the sales tax from online and remote sales involving retailers with no physical presence in their states.

That means retailers must have annual sales of at least $100,000 in Wisconsin or at least 200 transactions before having to collect the sales tax.

The Walker administration told WisPolitics.com on Monday that it planned to begin collecting the tax Oct. 1 and was in the process of notifying retailers.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Monday released a memo projecting the state could collect an additional $90 million in the current fiscal year if it began collecting the tax Oct. 1. It would then bring in an estimated $120 million annually.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules for Academic Liberty

It is almost ironic that Conservatives are the ones who have to fight in court for academic freedom. That used to be a cause that liberals supported.

July 6, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI — Today the Supreme Court of Wisconsin delivered a clear, decisive victory for our client, Dr. John McAdams, a conservative political science professor who was indefinitely suspended by Marquette University for blogging on a controversial topic. The victory ends a nearly four year fight between the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Marquette University to have McAdams reinstated.

As we have argued since the beginning, the only thing Professor McAdams wants to do is to teach students with the academic freedom protections promised by Marquette University. And, because of today’s ruling, McAdams will be back in the classroom very soon.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Dan Kelly, found that Professor McAdams’ blog post in defense of an undergraduate student – and criticizing a graduate student instructor – could not possibly have shown him to be unfit as a member of Marquette’s faculty, and Marquette’s decision to fire him violated its contractual promise to protect his academic freedom.

In addition, according to the Court, a faculty member’s expression of opinion as a citizen cannot constitute grounds for dismissal unless it clearly demonstrates the faculty member’s unfitness for his or her position. The Court rejected the notion that disciplinary decisions regarding free speech by faculty members should be made by administration or faculty. The concept of academic freedom is worthless unless it protects expression which is opposed by the institution and is unpopular with most of the faculty.

Furthermore, today’s decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court relies on one of the simplest rules of fairness – you cannot punish somebody for violating a rule that did not exist when it was supposedly “broken.” Universities are free to create rules – even strict rules – about what their tenured professors can and cannot say publicly. What they cannot do is make up rules after the fact to punish a professor they want to get rid of.

Supreme Power

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. And now that I’ve ruminated and griped about how much power we have ceded to an unelected branch of government, the realities of today dictate that we must get a good, constructionist jurist in place before the election.

The Supreme Court of the Unites States completed its session with a flurry of mostly good rulings and Justice Anthony Kennedy added an exclamation point by announcing his retirement. With the prospect of President Trump’s second appointment to the court looming, every politician and special interest in America has launched into battle as if the world depended on the outcome.

I can’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness for the state of our republic. It was never supposed to be like this.

Somehow we have drifted from Judge Marshall’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison, “that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument” to a point where the Supreme Court of the United States is routinely called the “final arbiter of the Constitution” without so much as a second thought. But interpretation and enforcement of the Constitution is not the sole responsibility of the Supreme Court. Even Marshall acknowledged this fact when he includes “other departments” in the quote above. Those “other departments” are the other two branches of government.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It supersedes anything generated by any part of the government. This is what Marshall meant when he wrote: “The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.

If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law: if the latter part be true, then written constitutions are absurd attempts, on the part of the people, to limit a power in its own nature illimitable.”

In other words, a written constitution is meaningless if it is able to be quashed by a simple act of the legislature or by an arbitrary regulation from the executive. It is the responsibility of every branch of the government to maintain the integrity of the Constitution.

It is worth noting that Marshall closed his opinion by pointing out that the oath taken by judges obligates the judges to place the Constitution above other considerations. The oath taken by a judge reads, in part: “I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

This portion of a federal judge’s oath is also included in the oath taken by a soldier, a senator, a congressman and, most notably, a new United States citizen. Just as a new citizen must verbally vow to support and defend the Constitution, each natural- born American citizen implicitly adheres to the same oath as a duty of citizenship. It is every citizen’s duty to support and defend the Constitution.

It must be remembered that the Constitution is a document that restricts what the federal government can do. The federal government is specifically denied the power to do anything outside of the specific powers delegated to it in the Constitution.

Since the Constitution is a shackle for government, why would we make an institution of that government “the final arbiter” of its meaning and extent? That is like letting a child be the final arbiter on how much Halloween candy is permissible to eat in one sitting. Just as that child would end up bloated and sick, so too would a government left to decide its own boundaries.

The current apoplectic fury over the appointment of a single judge of a ninejudge panel of a single branch of our three-branch government is symptomatic of the degeneration of our adherence to our Constitution. As a people, we Americans have ceded the responsibility of binding our government to the tenets of our Constitution to an unelected branch of that same government. We have permitted the pendulum of power to be permanently stuck on the side of the government.

The result has been predictable. Our federal government routinely acts well outside its constitutional boundaries with not only the consent, but the adulation of much of the citizenry.

As the federal government’s overseers, it is the American people’s historic responsibility to fasten tight the constitutional fetters with which we bind our government and closely guard the key. Yet over the past two centuries, we have fallen asleep on our watch and left the keys dangling within easy reach of our charge.

I do not fault the political factions in our nation for waging a rhetorically bloody crusade for control of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has become the nuclear weapon of the modern American political landscape, control of which dictates supremacy. At the same time, every citizen should take to heart the words written in our Declaration of Independence: “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Supreme Court only has as much power as Americans consent to give it.