A New Way To Foster Bipartisanship

As you may have heard, two federal judges have taken it upon themselves to confuse violation of the right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution with affirmation of the right of American citizens to rationally decide that, no, they don’t want to have to deal with umpteen phone calls from telemarketers selling God knows what crap while they’re trying to relax at home after a hard day. Congress has reacted rather quickly and overwhelmingly to pass another law that accomplishes the same purpose; however, judges with agendas have a way of ignoring the written letter of the law in trying to follow those agendas. I have a modest proposal, based on the almost unanimous votes in both the House and Senate in reaction to the decisions:
1) The House of Representatives should meet on Monday and vote to impeach Judges Doofus and Dumbass (actually, their names are Nottingham and West, but my names are better) for the “high crime” of refusing to do their f****** jobs–good enough for me;
2) The Senate meets on Tuesday and votes to convict Doofus and Dumbass of refusing to do their f****** jobs, which removes them from office and deprives them of their cushy federal pensions;
3) President Bush agrees to appoint replacements with approximately the same political views as the now-removed Doofus and Dumbass, and does, after which they are swiftly confirmed by the Senate.
The voters would be happy, Congress would be happy, and the President would be happy; presumably, everyone is happy but D & D, who would (one hopes) be reduced to selling their blood to pay their bills, a living object lesson to those who might wish to refuse to think while holding positions of power over others. Who says that bipartisanship can’t be fun? ]:-)

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3 comments

  1. Al Maviva

    Nottingham’s decision is probably correct. He found that the Telecom Act of ’92(?) granted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the power to do things like creating a do-not-call list. The no-call list was put together, however, by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), pursuant to a funding earmark from Congress.
    This wasn’t really a question of divining congressional intent, as it has been portrayed in the press. In a government of enumerated powers, the sources of government authority, and separation of powers are quite important. For example, if Congress delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate Sport Utility Vehicle emissions, and the Department of Justice’ Environment and Natural Resources Division shouldn’t be permitted to regulate such emissions – even if some Congressman slips in a rider to an appropriations bill authorizing funds for such an endeavor.
    The other judge ruling on First Amendment grounds is probably wrong. The restriction on speech isn’t content based, and it doesn’t go to core free speech, such as political or religious or artistic expression. Moreover, I think your rights to free speech generally end at the start of my private property – and a phone in my house is on my private property. There are some exceptions to this – protestors making noise that travels onto one’s land are probably okay. Demonstrations on private land where federally protected rights are involved – as in labor disputes at a privately owned shopping mall or factory – are probably protected. But it’s hard to see what important public interest is vindicated by Verizon calling at 7:10 just as you are passing the potatoes.

  2. M. Scott Eiland

    “This wasn’t really a question of divining congressional intent, as it has been portrayed in the press. In a government of enumerated powers, the sources of government authority, and separation of powers are quite important. For example, if Congress delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate Sport Utility Vehicle emissions, and the Department of Justice’ Environment and Natural Resources Division shouldn’t be permitted to regulate such emissions – even if some Congressman slips in a rider to an appropriations bill authorizing funds for such an endeavor.”
    I’m aware of the argument (and you explain it well). However, the ultimate source of the regulatory power is Congress, and they IMO have the power to delegate in this way, even if it seems a tad untidy. At most, since the power would clearly be constitutionally exercised if it were in the hands of the “right” regulatory agency, a court should issue an order giving Congress a certain amount of time to amend the law and place the authority with the “proper” agency, rather than upsetting the whole applecart and pissing off millions of people.
    I’m not completely thrilled with all the power that regulatory agencies have over the lives of Americans–I believe that the Supreme Court decision that ruled the legislative veto unconstitutional back in the eighties was a horrible mistake that removed an important safeguard against the abuse of power by those agencies (and by the President). I’ll make a post here sometime in the next couple of weeks that talks about how I’d fix the problem–if nothing else, it should make a good insomnia cure for a lot of people here who may need it. 🙂

  3. Alan K. Henderson

    I have spam filtering on my phone – I use my answering machine for call screening.
    One legal problem is that the Do Not Call lists block telemarketers but not pollsters or charities. Looks like a Fourteenth Amendment breach to me.