Is Ryan Good Choice for Constitutionalists?
The prospects for restoring fiscal discipline to the federal government received a big boost this morning with the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. But what about boosting the prospects for restoring constitutionalism and the rule of law, particularly the Constitution’s limits on federal power? That’s the primary concern of the Committee for Justice and millions of constitutional conservatives nationwide, ranging from grassroots Tea Party members to conservative and libertarian members of the Supreme Court bar.
The Committee for Justice believes that Rep. Ryan’s selection is great news for constitutional conservatives as much as for fiscal conservatives, as Ryan reminded us recently with his observation on ABC’s This Week that “the chief justice had to contort logic and reason to come up with [the ObamaCare] ruling.” In fact, Paul Ryan clearly understands that the issues of budgetary discipline and economic health cannot be separated from the issue of constitutional fidelity.
We could point you to various votes and statements by Rep. Ryan to back up our confidence in him. But the best single place to point you is Ryan’s September 2011 speech at Hillsdale College in commemoration of Constitution Day. Here are some excerpts from his speech:
On the inseparability of budgetary / economic and constitutional issues:
“Restoring the rule of law — reducing the influence of bureaucrats in the lives of Americans and empowering them to take more control over their own lives — is central to the budget we passed earlier this year.”
“What makes our Constitution such an extraordinary document is that, in making the United States the freest civilization in history, the Founders guaranteed that it would become the most prosperous as well.”
“I believe our defense [of the Constitution] falls short when we fail to connect our timeless principles and values to the urgent economic issues facing the factory worker … or … the recent college graduate.”
On combatting judicial activism:
“Congress holds the power of the pen as well as the purse. It has the power necessary to address attacks on the rule of law in our executive bureaucracies and even in the courts. The Constitution provides us with the power to solve these problems; what we need, is the will to do it.”
On damage to the rule of law:
“So far, over 1,400 businesses and organizations have been granted temporary waivers from [ObamaCare's] onerous mandates. … The powerful discretion assumed by the Department of Health and Human Services to play judge in determining these stays of execution does tremendous damage to the rule of law.”
On the separation of powers:
“In 2007, a wrongheaded Supreme Court decision cleared the way for the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, to unilaterally regulate greenhouse gases ... raising the question: Why does the Constitution establish a lawmaking body at all?”
“[J]ust like cap-and-trade, card-check failed in Congress — so [Obama’s] NLRB simply issued new union-election rules that would, in the words of one former board member, ‘achieve the primary objectives of [card check] by administrative rule.’ … An agency that is free to broadly interpret its statutory authority is one that can unilaterally broaden its size and scope.”
On the unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority:
“The president’s health-care overhaul … empowers a panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington to cut Medicare in ways that will deny benefits for current seniors. The new board’s recommendations would become law unless a supermajority voted affirmatively to replace these recommendations — a high hurdle that raises constitutional questions about whether Congress can legitimately grant this much lawmaking power to an unelected agency.”
On the erosion of liberty:
“Freedom is lost by degrees, and the deepest erosions usually take place during times of economic hardship, when those who favor expanding the sphere of government abuse a crisis to persuade free citizens that they should trade in a little of their liberty for empty promises of greater economic security.”
On the incompatibility between big government and individual rights:
“Rather than increasing the size and scope of central administration, let us champion an agenda guided by the American Idea of equal rights under law. Let’s begin to remove the hurdles that government has erected. Legislative reform should empower people, families, and communities, not bureaucrats and their cronies.”
On restoring constitutional government in America:
“America can win back the promise of individual liberty … the time has come to honor our Constitution’s limits on arbitrary bureaucracy and return the rule of law.”