The most pathetic episode in the recent fad of pretending the Constitution is a gossamer wisp that can be altered by a prayer was probably 97-year-old retired SCOTUS justice John Paul Stevens writing an op-ed re-litigating his minority dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller. That case held that the Second Amendment was an individual right (you know, like all the others in the Bill of Rights). In the process of making a wish for some future Leftist genie to grant, presumably along with banning “hate speech” and the Republican Party (you get three wishes, remember) Stevens misrepresented the previous 1939 Supreme Court Second Amendment ruling, and appeared not to remember, or just be willing to leave his readers uninformed, that repealing the Second Amendment wouldn’t change any gun laws by itself.
It was kind of sad to watch anti-gun zealots on social media jump up and down with glee as old John Paul engaged in his nostalgia-fest. I had to wonder if the Times would have been similarly eager to publish a similar op-ed from one of the dissenters in Roe v. Wade or Obergefell v. Hodges. Okay, no I didn’t. I understand and am used to the double standard: conservatives are expected to accept the Supreme Court’s rulings as the law of the land when it goes against their beliefs, but rulings that offend liberal agendas are to be considered temporary. Thus I look forward to Justice Ginsberg’s upcoming op-ed on why the 2000 Florida recount should be started up again, and to my left-leaning Facebook friends sharing it with the breathless exhortation, “Read this!”
Insisting that the Constitution doesn’t say what the Court has ruled it says is oodles of fun, so we also had the nauseating spectacle of President Trump and his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin lobbying for that failed nostrum from the Clinton years, the line-item veto. When Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending package on March 23, thus moving the United States one step closer to fiscal calamity, he said that it was the last time he would approve such bloated spending, “Trust me, I’ll never do it again” being such a reliable promise in the world of politics.
“To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I’m calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for all government spending bills.”
Okay, I don’t expect the current President to be up to speed on Constitutional law, but somebody in the administration has to know that this horse has not only left the barn, it’s run in the Triple Crown, been put out to stud, and ended up in a can of Alpo. Yet here is the Secretary of the Treasury on Fox News Sunday:
Mnuchin: I think they should give the president a line-item veto.
Chris Wallace: But that’s been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, sir.
Mnuchin: Well, again, Congress could pass a rule, okay, that allows them to do it.
Wallace: No, no, sir, it would be a constitutional amendment.
Mnuchin: Chris, we don’t — we don’t need to get into a debate in terms of — there’s different ways of doing this.
That’s right, we don’t, and no, there are not different ways of doing it. The issue was settled in 1998 when the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 to strike down the Line Item Veto Act, signed by President Bill Clinton, in Clinton v. City of New York.
The majority opinion said,
“The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may ‘become a law’…If the Line Item Veto Act were valid, it would authorize the President to create a different law — one whose text was not voted on by either house of Congress or presented to the president for signature….If there is to be a new procedure in which the president will play a different role in determining the final text of what may ‘become a law,’ such change must come not by legislation but through the amendment procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution.”
Guess who wrote that?
Why, Justice John Paul Stevens!
Source: Washington Post