I know there is already a topic about the constitutional validity of the bailout bill, but they all address the issue of Article 1, Section 7. I’m
going for a different angle on this one, so bear with me. However before I move onto my main argument I do want to revisit that section briefly.
Just for the record, here is the article in question
U.S. Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 7: All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may
propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.
A further explanation of the reasoning behind this bill can be found here on
Article I, Section 7 states that all revenue bills shall originate in the House of Representatives but the Senate may propose or concur with
Amendments as on any other bills. The reason for this is that at the time the Constitution was written, it was felt that Senators would be more
wealthy than Representatives and might be willing to spend more government money than the Representatives would. Also, the House with its greater
numbers was seen as being the better gauge of the wishes of the people for spending measures.
Now as we all know, this law was side-stepped by taking an old bill (H.R. 1424. the 'Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008) and
completely rewriting it to include the financial bailout package, therefore eliminating the need for it to pass through Congress first
Clearly, this was not what the founding fathers had in mind when writing Article 1, Section 7 of the constitution. In fact, the provisions in the
above constitutional clause are clearly there to stop exactly this sort of thing from happening. Going back to the wiki answer briefly:
the House with its greater numbers was seen as being the better gauge of the wishes of the people for spending measures
Well, we clearly saw that was the case when the bill was initially rejected. Representatives received scores of phone calls from their constituents
that were by all accounts, in complete opposition to the proposal on the table. And some might say as a direct result of that, the bill was rejected.
Surely that in itself made a perfect case for why Article 1, Section 7 of the constitution was written into law. The founding fathers once again
showing great insight into the future predicaments the legislative branch might find themselves in.
In regards to the tabling of the bill, Rep. Ron Paul stated
"That in itself was unconstitutional but it's been done before and it will be done again,"
But getting back on topic here, it is clear from the standpoint of Article 1, Section 7 of the constitution, the bill was indeed legal, as by
rewriting a pre-existing bill, the Senate completely circumvented the need to originate the bill from Congress.
However, in my opinion, the bill was still illegal
Senate’s interpretation of the bill completely goes against the obvious intention of the words and meaning of the constitution. Isn't that a crime
James Madison, the ‘father’ of the constitution, who was extremely vocal on the subject of constitutional interpretation, clearly thought so. He
believed the constitution was not a living document, and any ‘evolution’ of the constitution would lead to tyranny.
With that in mind how can this bill be allowed to stand. The constitution is black and white, it can not evolve. This leads to the stripping of the
freedoms the constitution was put in place to protect.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
I would love to hear from anyone with experience or knowledge of legal precedent when it comes to the interpretation of an article in the US
Edit: Title change to reflect contents of post
[edit on 14/10/08 by liketoknow]