the New 'Super Congress' Constitutional?
A number of
constitutionalists have warned that the new "Super Congress"
technically a joint committee of Congress may be unconstitutional.
The new entity will be created out of the Obama-Boehner
debt limit deal. "It smells," Representative Ron Paul
Fox News August 1. "I just don't understand why Congress is
so willing to give up its responsibilities to 12 people.... It's
a reflection that they don't have answers."
Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano told
Fox News August 1 that he thinks the
law may be unconstitutional:
of the Senate and members of the House have the opportunity under
the Constitution to debate items that are sent to them and to
modify items that are sent to them. To force them to vote just
yes or know with no debate, not to follow the rules of the House,
which permits amendments, not to follow the rules of the Senate,
which permits a filibuster, is such a substantial removal of the
authority the Constitution gave them that this legislation is
treading in waters that might not be constitutional."
One might agree
with Napolitano that these points make the Super Congress unwise
without agreeing that these particular points may make the Super
Congress unconstitutional as well. After all, the U.S. Constitution
provides that "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules
of its Proceedings" (Art.
I, Sec. 5) and choose its own officers (Art.
I, Sec. 2 and 3). These powers of Congress in the U.S. Constitution
are plenary; there are no limitations on them. And Congress has
long chosen to fast-track (allow no amendments) most treaties and
trade agreements that have been negotiated over many months, in
order to avoid sending negotiators abroad again to renegotiate the
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him mail] is a high school history teacher in
Southeastern Massachusetts and a freelance writer who contributes
to The New American,
AntiWar.com and – of
course – LewRockwell.com.
© 2011 The New American
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