“The Supreme Court Is Up for Grabs”
by Bill Bonner
“Is the stock market dead? Nothing is happening there. It is the first of November. The countdown to the elections has begun; the nation seems to hold its breath. Driving up to the state of New York yesterday, we passed through gorgeous fall foliage, counting 11 dead deer beside the road, nine signs for Trump, and zero for Clinton. It was only once we reached Rhinebeck — a retreat for wealthy New Yorkers — that we saw our first Clinton sign. Based on what we saw, admittedly not scientific, we can guess the election’s outcome: The dead deer will win. That works for us!
A confession: But dear readers cling to vain hope that the election is important. ‘The Supreme Court is up for grabs,’ they say. So this is probably a good time for a confession: Yes, we spent three years at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, training to be a lawyer. But no…we never practiced.
At the time, we worked during the day as director of the grassroots organisation the National Taxpayers Union. At night, we got out the law books and NoDoz caffeine caplets. In our second year, we took a course on constitutional law, which included an assignment: Write a paper on what the Constitution is all about. ‘It can only have one purpose and one meaning,’ we recall concluding. ‘That is to protect people from their government.’ We explained that a government claims a monopoly on the use of force. It no more needs a charter from ‘the people’ than a farmer needs permission from the turnips. It can do what it wants.
It was to try to control government that the turnips wrote the Constitution and set up a government with balanced powers and a limited scope…putting institutional impediments to prevent the feds from putting their noses where they don’t belong. Only the people’s representatives can do the important things, says the Constitution. Only they can tax. Only they can declare war. And everything that wasn’t permitted to the government in the Constitution was left to the states and the people; this is the clear and unvarnished meaning of the 10th Amendment. And the Commerce Clause, which gives the feds the right to regulate ‘interstate commerce,’ referred to commerce between states — like interstate tariffs and trade restrictions — not private businesses.
Legal theft: But right from the beginning, it started to go bad. The feds imposed a tax on whiskey distillers…and sent an army marching across Pennsylvania to enforce it. ‘Where in the Constitution does it give you the right to tax us?’ asked the distillers, tarring and feathering a federal tax collector just to add emphasis. But the Supreme Court backed the feds. Supreme Court Justice James Wilson declared western Pennsylvania ‘in a state of rebellion,’ authorizing the use of force to put down the insurgents. From then on, it was downhill.
The feds used the commerce clause like a thief uses a crowbar — to pry their way into our homes and businesses while the Supreme Court stood on the lookout. In the beginning, the people could do a lot…and the government could do little. Now, it’s the feds who can do practically anything…and the people must ask permission for everything. Even setting up a lemonade stand can involve a dozen agencies and potentates.
Attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that almost everything is either illegal or compulsory. The average citizen commits ‘three felonies a day,’ he says, without realizing it. And more than six million Americans cannot vote in this election because of felony convictions.
In the beginning, the US was a modest republic, its government tightly bound by law and custom. Now, it is a great empire run by an elite who can get away with almost anything they damn well choose. Why hasn’t the Supreme Court protected our rights? Where is it when we need it? ‘Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ it promises in the Constitution.
The idea of the Fifth Amendment is that the feds can’t take away anyone’s liberty or property without ‘due process of law.’ And yet, they stole $8 trillion of income from savers over the last seven years. Where does it say in the Constitution that the feds can decide the rate of interest savers should receive? Where was the due process? Where was the Supreme Court? Nowhere to be seen.
Inventing ‘rights’: Anyone who follows the news knows, too, that local police in many areas are running wild, using ‘civil forfeitures’ to take money, cars, houses, businesses — often for no apparent reason. Where’s the due process there?
One of the most important acts a nation can undertake is war. Money is spent. People die. So the Constitution limits the ability of the administration to start wars. ‘Only Congress shall have the power to declare war,’ it says. The idea was to make sure the people’s representatives had a chance to consider it carefully…including the matter of how they were going to pay for it. And yet, since the end of the Second World War, the US has suffered 390,000 casualties — with no declaration of war from Congress. Why didn’t the Supreme Court put a stop to it?
Instead of protecting our rights, the Supreme Court has gone along with the fad of inventing new ‘rights’…a whole different kind of rights. We no longer have the right to be free from government interference…or to be secure in our own property. But we have a ‘right’ to someone else’s property. No kidding.
The Federal Communications Commission has classified cell phones with unlimited talk and text as a positive right. Getting one is as easy as going to freegovernmentcellphones.net.
Fast food is a positive right under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. KFC and Taco Bell accept food stamps. The list goes on to include $5-a-month high-speed internet, health care, school lunches, four years of beer and fornication at a state college, low-income housing in luxury buildings with doormen, cheap energy, unions, factory jobs, high-speed rail, and, of course, money itself.
Where was the Supreme Court while this nonsense was going on? Nowhere to be seen. Instead of being a bulwark against the feds, the Supreme Court has stood shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the Deep State nomenklatura.
Our law school thesis was received coldly. ‘If we accept your conclusion,’ said the professor with a dismissive laugh, gesturing with a wide sweep of his hand, ‘half this town would have to disappear.’ ‘Yeah,’ we replied. ‘Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus.’