Impeachment as the Only Way to Stop Federal Hypocrisy and Politicization of Our Laws
Laws are rules designed to govern interaction among individuals, groups or organizations and their respective members. A law is a body of law that governs a specific conduct. A law is enunciated by a body of qualified and ordinary legal reasoning, including cases and review of previous decisions by other bodies. It is an authoritative instrument that governs conduct of all people acting subject to the law.
Laws are generally framed or established by the members of a legislative body, namely the United States Congress, or by the state legislature. The U.S. constitution also delegates the power to establish national laws, including those governing representative government, judicial proceedings, taxation and interstate commerce. A law is referred to as ‘law’ when it is made by a body of laws and not by general legislation. A common distinction between legislation and law is that legislation may deal with public welfare while a law addresses private rights.
The U.S. system is based on the system of representative government established by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. In a representative government, laws are passed by the legislature, which are then accepted by the American people for execution. This system works well for regulating free speech, political speech and other matters of societal interest under the U.S. Constitution. Federal laws are known as “constitutional law” since they are incorporated into the fundamental principles of the U.S. Constitution and are sanctioned by the courts. Although some U.S. states delegate the power to their legislative assemblies to enact laws, these powers are not considered inherent in the U.S. constitution and are thus not protected by the courts.
Every law enacted by the legislature must pass two tests, the first test being “esthetic appeal.” The second test used by the courts is whether the law constitutes an exercise of the supremacy of the state over the United States or an attempt to preserve state interests at the expense of the federal government. Each of these tests must be carefully examined before the law is adopted. Only after the constitutionality of a law is determined can the courts review its validity.
In addition to state governments, the U.S. Congress also decides when, how, and under what conditions certain types of laws can be enacted. For example, during the Civil War Congress passed what is referred to as the Compromise Clause, which prohibited the execution of certain federal laws against slave ownership. Two years later the Supreme Court reaffirmed the ruling in the 1820 decision Pomeraner. Since the passage of the Compromise Clause, Congress has never again attempted to interfere with the decisions of state courts regarding slavery. This history reveals the true meaning of our Constitution and the limits that it places on the legislative power of the states.
As it appears today, the federal impeachments power is very limited. If ever there was a time when Congress should seek to expand the power of the federal courts, that time has passed. Hopefully the courts will continue to recognize the value of our constitutional system and remain true to the freedoms once guaranteed by our nation’s founders.