Counting on the Supreme Court
By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
Our founding fathers were adamant that the United States would not be subjected to a dictatorial rule by a king or other powerful person. They also desired to live under the rule of law where every man could have his day in court.
To achieve that end, they framed the U.S. Constitution to split power between three branches of government. These were the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch. They further split the Legislative Branch between the House of Representatives and the Senate.
All spending bills originate in the House and after passing the House, the Senate may amend it; in which case a joint committee resolves the differences. But then the bill must be signed by the President.
If he refuses to sign it or vetoes it, the veto can be overridden by a two-third majority in the house that originated it. But the bill may also be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in which case the bill is dead. Our founding Fathers placed many checks and balances in government.
When a company becomes financially troubled they go to the Bankruptcy Court where a federal judge presides over the proceedings and federal laws governing bankruptcy proceedings are followed. New contracts with debt holders can be negotiated and contracts with suppliers and employees can be renegotiated.
The bankruptcy process has been in place in one form or another since 1800 and works quite well.
Many companies such as Delta Airlines have come out of bankruptcy as a stronger company. Other companies such as Enron are shut down. Recently, Congress has interjected itself into the picture and is spending taxpayer money to bailout failing companies that should be in Bankruptcy Court. And now, the Treasury Secretary, Tim Geitner, is asking Congress to give him the power to seize private companies.
What happened to the U.S. Constitution and its principal of separation of powers and the rule of law? Where in the Constitution does it say that a non-elected political appointee has that power? I have always assumed that when the administration refers to the “failed policies of the past,” they are referring to George Bush.
But what if they are really referring to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin and the other framers of the U.S. Constitution? That would put a whole new light on things and maybe explain some of the bizarre things we are seeing in this administration and in congress.
Come on Supreme Court, our nation needs you now.
Published in the April 2, 2009 Edition