According the Maine Wire, in an article written by Governor Paul LePage, he states: “As Governor, I am sworn to uphold the Constitutions of Maine and the United States of America. I take this responsibility very seriously. In fact, I carry a copy of the Constitution in my suit pocket every day.
In Maine, I believe three of the questions on the November ballot are unconstitutional. If they pass it will be impossible to uphold my oath of office.”<<<Read More>>>
To claim something to be “unconstitutional,” isn’t it a bit of an over-used excuse? One might even argue it a cliche. I am no constitutional scholar, and even though I did stay at a Holiday Inn once, I can’t say that qualifies me to be an expert. I am, however, perhaps a bit more versed in constitutional history than your average Joe – no offense intended to Joes everywhere.
I would assume that to declare that a law or proposed law to be “unconstitutional” it must be directly in opposition to the constitution of the state being referenced – in this case Maine, or the Federal Government. The author also says that he believes some of the ballot questions, if passed, would violate the U.S. Constitution as well. Would it?
First, a fundamental error often made by lay people, like myself, is lack of understanding between what might be considered “unconstitutional” and what could be “without precedence.”
In the case of the Maine Governor’s claim of the unconstitutionality of three ballot questions, I suppose we must take a look at the Maine Constitution first. Article IV, Third Part, Section 1, in part reads: “The Legislature, with the exceptions hereinafter stated, shall have full power to make and establish all reasonable laws and regulations for the defense and benefit of the people of this State, not repugnant to this Constitution, nor to that of the United States.” Reads like a lawyer’s dream come true doesn’t it?
In this day and age of immorality, where wrong is now right, where bad is good, the end justifies the means, etc. what and who determines what is “reasonable” and “not repugnant?” Surely you understand that the Maine Constitution gives the Legislature the power and authority to “make and establish” any and all laws they deem in the best interest of the Maine (P)?people.
But such a delegation of power is not just found in the Maine Constitution. The U.S. Constitution states the same. In Article I, Section 8, we read: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Read that one a few times.
Is it not appropriate to question whether such constitutional statements give the Congress of the United States, and in this case, the state of Maine, authority to create and establish any law(s) they deem within the “reasonable,” “necessary,” and “proper” within the limiting (or not limiting) terms of the sections of the constitution?
If, in Maine, Question 3 is in violation of the Maine Constitution, Article I, Section 16, “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.”, then perhaps the petition for citizen referral process is faulty by allowing “unconstitutional” proposals to find their way to a public vote. Cannot the Maine Legislature, upon acknowledgement that Question 3 violates Article I, Section 16, veto the law should it pass? Or does Article IV, Third Part, Section 1, of the Maine Constitution and U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, have legislative power over any and all other laws if deemed necessary by a partisan legislature?
But constitutional proclamations are not the only law of the land. Precedence and Policy, especially in this day and age of corrupt politics, certainly disregards any constitutional guidelines or regulations. We regularly are witness to the establishment of “Policy” with each successive administration voted into office.
Many of us recall when Speaker of the U.S. House was asked if the newly passed “Obamacare” was constitutional, her reply was “you’re kidding right?” Not that I think Nancy Pelosi is actually intelligent enough to understand what she was saying beyond her own ignorance, can there really be any questioning a passage of a law, that many of us do think is “unconstitutional” when the Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government can operate under Article I, Section 8. With such authority, Congress can enact any law they well please, with perhaps some push back from the people to deal with. This push back only matters when it vote gathering time.
If there is any hope of fighting against those proposed laws, it is through the battle against Precedence and Policy and the creation of your own precedence and policy, if there is such a thing.
In Maine’s case, and the argument offered by the governor, it is my opinion that, via the referendum process, for what it’s worth, Question 3 goes beyond whether it’s constitutional or not and as such presents a poor argument against the proposal. While in this country Precedence and Policy have altered the Second Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and in this case the State of Maine’s Right to Bear Arms, argument should be made about, not only the absolute destruction of an inalienable right, but that in Maine, there is no precedence or policy that dismantles the “never shall be questioned” aspect of Article I, Section 16. In addition, it should be vehemently pointed out that in the most recent Second Amendment voting in Maine, voters opted to begin tearing down the obstacles that destroy the liberty of self protection and the right to keep and bear arms, by passing a, so-called, Constitutional Carry law, in which Maine people, a plurality, wanted to be able to carry a concealed weapon without having to subject themselves to the strong arm of the Federal and State governments.
Now that’s precedence! Unconstitutional is a dead argument.