Thursday, June 18, 2015

Magna Constitution

As I prepare to leave the US for a ten-day international business trip, I have been thinking about my own Ugly Americanisms. I only speak one language and while I appreciate other cultures and other ways of doing this, I do know what I like and how I like it. Writing this blog allows me to exercise one of my most passionate interests – freedom of expression. The right to say what I think, no matter how whacked out some may think it is, generally without fear or concern of consequence. That freedom is thanks to the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that is a direct descendent of the Magna Carta – which happened to have a birthday this week.

On Monday, June 15, 2015 the Magna Carta turned 800. She doesn’t look a day over 700. According to CNN: “The catalyst for Magna Carta was the tyrannical rule of King John and, in particular, his imposition of arbitrary taxes upon the barons. The sealing of Magna Carta marked the first time that the notion that an unelected sovereign should be restrained under law was officially recognized. From then on, the idea that citizens should not be subjected to the arbitrary rule of a tyrannical monarch but instead be ruled and governed upon foundations of accepted legal process and law had a legal foundation.”

Throughout history, according to Wikipedia: “It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1787, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.”

In a timely analysis, The Fiscal Times wrote: “Mr. Obama has pursued an ambitious agenda since he entered the White House, increasingly acting alone.” The article goes on to detail a long list of examples that the President has acted unilaterally, in conflict with the Constitution.

Adapting their list to include my own points:
  • Maintaining a “kill” list where he alone decides who lives and dies based on information only he has.
  • The defunct PATRIOT act reborn as the FREEDOM act that encourages and allows the Government to look into people’s personal lives and activities in the guise of security
  • Using the Executive Order to bypass legislative processes
  • Military action without consultation with the Congress or authorization

The list can go on and on. There are political realities for the workarounds. On the anniversary of the document that was created to restrain unilateral action its worth remembering the President Obama was elected and the law applies to him. As a former professor of Constitutional law, it’s an appropriate time to refresh his memory on the source of the document that frames the country he was elected to serve.

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