August 11, 2012

Is Ryan Good Choice for Constitutionalists?

Statement of Committee for Justice President Curt Levey on the selection of Paul Ryan:

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.”


August 06, 2012

CFJ Video: Obama’s Super PAC Hypocrisy

From today:
“As part of its campaign to defend free speech against increasing attacks from the Left, the Committee for Justice (CFJ) released a video today which holds Obama to account for his hypocrisy on the issues of Super PACs and donor disclosure.  Said CFJ President Curt Levey, 'Whatever one’s position on disclosure is, the position should at least be consistent. On that count, Obama has failed the American people badly by contradicting himself and breaking his own promise about Super PAC disclosure.'”

When it comes to the regulation of political expression euphemistically called “campaign finance reform,” the Committee for Justice has consistently sided with free speech and the First Amendment.  We have defended the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, opposed disclosure requirements on independent campaign expenditures by non-profit advocacy groups and private citizens, and explained how disclosure requirements facilitate the Left’s escalating attempts to silence conservative voices.

While we sharply disagree with the common view among progressives that unregulated political expression is a threat to democracy, we presume their support of increased regulation of speech is largely motivated by a good faith, if misguided, reaction to the role of money in politics.

The same cannot be said, however, of the progressive occupying the White House.  President Obama’s hypocrisy on the issue of campaign finance makes it impossible to presume good faith, as explained in the video we released today.

Among the examples of Obama’s hypocrisy …

1) Two years ago, President Obama denounced “special interest groups that are spending unlimited amounts of money on attack ads,” calling them “a threat to our democracy.” Earlier this year, when the Obama campaign realized it could not reach its goal of raising a billion dollars on its own, the President changed his tune and gave his blessing to pro-Obama super PACs – even promising that “senior campaign officials as well as some White House and Cabinet officials will attend and speak at [super PAC] fundraising events.”

2) Two years, President Obama denounced the groups buying attacks ads as “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names.”  This spring, in an attempt to raise more money for attack ads, Obama’s “official” super PAC – harmless-sounding name: Priorities USA Action – teamed up with another super PAC – harmless-sounding name: American Bridge 21st Century – run by the notorious David Brock of Media Matters. Politico explained that “the [combined] entity may raise funds on behalf of both super PACs and distribute the money to one or both at its discretion.”

If Obama reads the papers, he knows about Brock’s volatile, erratic and sometimes paranoid behavior, and about his organization’s anti-Semitic rants and anti-Christian mission statement, which have offended both Jewish and Christian leaders alike.  Sounds pretty shadowy to us.

3) President Obama complained that “We don’t know who’s behind these [attack] ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them.”  He demanded donor disclosure by conservative groups running ads and – after reversing himself to sanction pro-Obama super PACs – Obama promised all the donations to those super PACs would be fully disclosed.  However, Obama’s support for disclosure was quickly revealed to be just rhetoric. Both Priorities USA and American Bridge each funneled over $200,000 to themselves from the disclosure-free advocacy groups they are paired with, thus hiding the identity of the money’s donors.


August 02, 2012

Rubio’s Bill would Halt Taxes on Olympic Winnings

With everyone's eyes on the Olympic Games in London, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced a bill to waive taxes for the Olympians who take home the gold, silver or bronze medals. Besides going home with a medal Olympic athletes are given an honorarium, which before taxes is: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. NBC News points to an Americans for Tax Reform study that gives context to the taxes currently in place:
“So for the Fab Five gymnasts who won Tuesday in London -- McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber -- that's a total honorarium of $125,000. 
“Americans for Tax Reform… has calculated that an athlete's tax bill for winning a gold medal totals $8,936, including $8,750 based on a 35 percent tax on the honorarium, and $236 for the value of the medal. Based on that, the Fab Five would owe Uncle Sam $44,680 collectively.”

Ted Cruz Bound for Texas Senate Seat

Ted Cruz defeated Gov. Rick Perry's favored candidate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, on Tuesday in a runoff election for the Republican Senate nomination in Texas. Now that Cruz has defeated Dewhurst, he is favored to win the senate seat that will soon be vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. The New York Times has more on the story:
“Mr. Cruz, who is Cuban-American, has drawn comparisons to Mr. Rubio, another youthful Cuban-American who quickly became an icon of fiscal and religious conservatives around the country… 
“A Harvard-trained lawyer, a former Washington official under President George W. Bush and the former solicitor general of Texas, Mr. Cruz had argued cases before the Supreme Court but never before run for office. He turned out to be a natural campaigner, and with his implacable opposition to big government, he won the enthusiastic support of Tea Party activists in Texas and around the country.”

August 01, 2012

Connect with us on Facebook!

The Committee for Justice has joined Facebook and we would like to invite you to visit our new page. You will notice that we have taken the time to backlog a number of our press releases and articles authored by Curt Levey. Be one of the first to tour and “like” our page!