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Old 02-27-2002, 11:33 AM   #16
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
(Also, as an aside, in your post where you so non-partisanly decreed that a "good Republican is a defeated Republican", you mention that the bill should be defeated because it helps the GOP. Shouldn't its encroachment on freedoms protected by the Constitution factor into your reasoning just a *little*?)
I respect your opinions before this, FYI.

I do support campaign finance reform, but I disagree with the bill as created. I think that hard money should be restricted more. There is nothing to stop an interest group from funneling its money to an individual within the group. If a known CEO of a major corporation gives money, it is just the same as the corporation giving the money: he will still expect favors in return.

This bill has too many loopholes for me to support it.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-27-2002, 12:09 PM   #17
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Originally posted by melon:
Posting the Ten Commandments on government property means that the government is "establishing" a preferred religion. I would give the same opposition if non-Christian religions tried to erect monuments of religious documents on government property. Thomas Jefferson supported this model and wrote "separation of church and state" with the same meaning we interpret today. Our Founding Fathers were not devout Christians. A revival in the 1830s, I believe, made us a devoutly Christian nation.

However, going back to the idea of campaign reform, the "unconstitutionality" is on the basis of court-ruled common law. The Constitution, nor any of the amendments, guarantee a right to campaign funds specifically. Likewise, court-ruled common law has been very negative to Ten Commandments postings generally, usually the exceptions being a personally biased judge. Of course, like the Ten Commandments issue, the campaign funds common law could easily be overturned, so I would not be so hasty as to say that campaign finance reform to this degree will automatically be declared unconstitutional.

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Where to start?

In the first case, you seem to be referring to the Alabama judge (Moore, I believe) who's posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.

(I'm still not aware of ANY case where the federal government actually erected some monument to Moses and the two tablets; you know, "all those Ten Commandments monuments on government property". If you know of such monuments, I AGAIN ask you for details.)

But, assuming that we're both talking about JUST the Judge Moore situation, it's still a stretch to say it's "even more atrociously unconstitutional" than this bill, for two reasons.


1) That the Ten Commandments "monument" is still very debatable.

To make the case, you have to first establish that Amendment I fully applies to state and local governments (which can be done with the Fourteenth Amendment, but that's unclear). You THEN have to show that Judge Moore posting the Ten Commandments is equivalent to making a law that establishes a religion - and you have to overcome the fact that the Creator is mentioned in our Declaration of Independence AND on our money ("In God We Trust").

It can be done; the case can be made that Moore's actions are unconstitutional. But, as I said before, the bill going through Congress now is "far more clearly and directly unconstitutional."


2) The "reform" bill is much more clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

As you've said, its status as an unconstitutional law may have to do with its restrictions on actually campaign finance - but that's not the KEY reason for its BLATANT violation of the Constitution.

(As I believe I've said in an older thread, campaigns must be privately funded to keep the government and the media from having complete control over who gets noticed. And those private funds must come from the willing donations of individuals. I believe then that citizens have the right to fund candidates they believe in; it may fall under Amendment I as a form of free speech, but it may just as easily be an unenumerated right covered by Amendment X. But I digress.)

I quote from NR's "A Betrayal":

The current bill is suspiciously full of such provisions helpful to incumbents. One of the most notorious would prevent citizens' groups funded with unlimited soft-money donations from running ads mentioning an officeholder by name 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. This would force smaller advocacy organizations either to go silent during these periods, or go to the expense and trouble of registering as PACs funded only by limited hard-money donations.

The bill SEVERELY limits one's ability to buy an political advertisement 30-60 days before an election. In many cases, an organization won't be able to say even the CANDIDATE'S NAME in an ad preceding an election. THAT is a clear violation of free speech - political speech in particular, clearly the speech that should be MOST preserved from Congressional interference.

Your next post is more amusing, but I'll tackle that momentarily.

(By the way, I now realize I didn't explicitly mention WHY the bill is unconstitutional in my earlier posts. That is, I didn't mention the restrictions on political advertising. Sorry about that. )

[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 02-27-2002).]
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Old 02-27-2002, 01:10 PM   #18
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Well, in Toledo, OH, for instance, there is a statue of the tablets featured prominently on government property. It has eluded media attention, because no one has formally filed a complaint. A lot of other cities have tried the same stunt. That is what I meant by "monument."

Others, of course, have tried just posting a copy of them, and pass them off as "legal documents." If that was really the motivation, perhaps I would agree. However, anyone with half a brain will realize it is just religious groups trying to prove a point. I'm sure they wouldn't be happy if we posted excerpts of L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics" on government property. Of course, law is 25% fact and 75% semantics.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 02-27-2002, 01:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
Well, in Toledo, OH, for instance, there is a statue of the tablets featured prominently on government property. It has eluded media attention, because no one has formally filed a complaint. A lot of other cities have tried the same stunt. That is what I meant by "monument."
Is it a federal monument, or one erected by the state or local government? And, either way, is putting up a statue the same thing as making a law?

The monument may be wrong either way, but questions like this must be answered before one can say that the monument is unconstitutional. Again, my complaint about the recent bill is that it is CLEARLY unconstitutional. (In fact, many pundits believe that Bush should sign it even though he may well KNOW it to violate the Constitution.)
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Old 02-27-2002, 01:58 PM   #20
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Originally posted by melon:
This article coming from the same people who probably support an anti-flag burning amendment, which would abridge the First Amendment. Their concern is not about the preservation of the First Amendment, but the ability of Republican presidential candidates to amass a ridiculous amount of campaign funds (see our current President) over the Democratic opposition.

Melon

Truly, the campaign finance "reform" bill and a proposed flag-burning amendment both change the First Amendment. But there is a KEY difference, and I'm amazed you don't see it.

The difference? ONE'S A LEGAL ATTEMPT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION AND ONE ISN'T.

By it's very nature, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution is probably unconstitutional. If the proposal was already guaranteed or restricted by the Constitution, there'd be no need to amend it.

Quick example: until 1913, the states chose U.S. Senators, so the proposed amendment (that would become the Seventeenth Amendment) that would transfer that power to the individuals within the state was, by your definition, UNCONSTITUTIONAL. My response is, so what?

The Constitution was DESIGNED to be malleable, as enumerated in Article V: two-thirds of each house (or two thirds of the state governments) call for a convention, and decide on proposed amendments. Then three-fourths of the states or their conventional representatives must approve the amendment in order for it to pass. If and when such a proposed amendment is passed, it becomes "valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution."

To propose such an amendment - and to do so according the rules set out by the Constitution - is not an objectionable thing.

Certainly, changing the Constituion is (AND SHOULD BE) difficult. Hence, only twenty-six amendments since 1787. BUT changing the Constitution IS OKAY. Hence, twenty-six amendments since 1787.

The complaint about Shays-Meehan is that it essentially changes the Constitution illegally - without two-thirds approval of both houses and CERTAINLY without three-fourths approval from the states.

So, the Republicans are essentially trying to change the First Amendment with a legally proposed amendment to restrict flag-burning.

(Actually, one could say that they're not trying to change the Constitution, but rather trying to give the PEOPLE the opportunity to decide for themselves. An important distinction, but let's move on.)

So, "their concern is not about the preservation of the First Amendment." My reply is, you're right, but I don't see the relevance.

Rather, if you mean "their concern is not about the preservation of free speech," you're making an entirely different (and more relevant) argument.

My reply is this: even speech is and should be limited to a degree. Hence, the ability to sue over slander and character defamation. And hence, the "clear and present danger" test that makes illegal the act of yelling "fire" in a theater.

Flag-burning doesn't fall under either of those categories, so prohibiting it would almost certainly require an amendment to the Constitution.

I believe flag-burning may qualify as political speech, but it's very coarse in its delivery - to the point that it's not defending or explaining any particular belief but rather childishly asserting its one message: complete hatred and contempt for the United States of America and its people. An amendment to restrict such an act would not erode the right to express such a message through newspapers, books, television, etc. and it would not make the political debate any less substantive.

The bottom line is this: Shays-Meehan is an illegal attempt to violate the constitution AND radically limit political speech. A proposed flag-burning amendment is not illegal and NOT a major infringement on free speech.

There's simply no comparison.
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Old 03-06-2002, 01:20 PM   #21
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Bubba.. Have you noticed the troubled paradise of Campaign Finance Reform lately?..... I initially thought this thing would be passed so quickly..

Daschle is now threatening all night sessions to overcome any filabuster..

Something is going wrong here.. Apparently he doesn't have those 60 votes he needs..

Interesting none the less..


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[This message has been edited by Lemonite (edited 03-06-2002).]
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Old 03-06-2002, 05:46 PM   #22
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If the House passes the bill, and the Senate does as well and the President signs it and IF it is upheld in the courts then it hardly matters whether Rush Limbaugh and Achtung Bubba think that it's un-constitutional. The courts decide what is constitutional.

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Old 03-06-2002, 07:39 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew_Page2000:
If the House passes the bill, and the Senate does as well and the President signs it and IF it is upheld in the courts then it hardly matters whether Rush Limbaugh and Achtung Bubba think that it's un-constitutional. The courts decide what is constitutional.

MAP
Thank You MAP, for enlightening us on the inner workings of the US Government.

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