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  • Rep. Conyers Discovers New Clause In Constitution, More Than 200 Years Later

    One of the more controversial – and unconstitutional – components of health care reform President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday is Congress’ mandate that individuals purchase health insurance or face a fine.

    The Heritage Foundation has documented that there is no provision in the Constitution empowering Congress to force Americans to buy a good or service. What’s more, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees the mandate is entirely unprecedented.

    So where does Congress get the authority to justify that provision? On Friday, CNSNews.com went to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) for answers:

    CNSNEWS: “What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance?”

    Rep. Conyers: “Under several clauses. The good and welfare clause, and a couple others.”

    The “Good and Welfare” clause simply doesn’t exist. It’s nowhere to be found in the Constitution. CNSNews.com reports:

    The word “good” only appears once in the Constitution, in Article 3, Section 1, which deals with the Judicial Branch, not the powers of Congress. Article 3, Section 1 says in part: “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

    As an aside, Rep. Conyers has a law degree, and his committee is responsible for overseeing the federal court system, which in turn interprets and applies the law of the land.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    32 Responses to Rep. Conyers Discovers New Clause In Constitution, More Than 200 Years Later

    1. Trey, Texas says:

      Mmmm…good to know. I didn't know that about the Constitution. Rep. Conyers is soooo smart. We should elect him President. No wait, let's just give him all the power of all three branches and make him King.

      (reader warning: caution too much sarcasm in this comment!)

    2. JackMick Ohio says:

      I feel nauseous

    3. Kim Priestap says:

      It should not be a surprise that Rep. Conyers is ignorant of what the Constitution says. He and his fellow leftists have been legislating in that manner for decades.

    4. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      He's winging it as did his fellow democrats on their federal HCR overreach. Calling their actions shameful is more than a simple understatement. It's one thing to have lay people muck-up constitutional principles. It's entirely another to have elected representatives or licensed attorneys do it. I believe for the latter it's called malpractice. And congress has fully demonstrated such malfeasance and/or careless indifference to our founders' federalist design.

    5. DANIEL CABRERA, MERR says:

      Hello, I sent this to many,many, bogs and sites in the net; IT IS CIRCULATING RIGHT NOW COAST-TO-COAST, AND NATION-WIDE

      ————————-

      THE REPEAL ISSUE;____

      It is said that repeal is …difficult,… almost impossible,… Oabama would cast a VETO if reach White House, …that and more,… not to mention that Mr Reid said; -"…they won't be able to repeal this…".

      A full gamma of tricks and fear has been spreaded around in order to disencourage for a repeal.

      Now I do think that this is a DEMOCRACY…it is not? and so BY CONSTITUTION, WE THE PEOPLE IS THE LAST WORD AND FUNDAMENTAL AUTHORITY ABOUT TO DECIDE ON ANYTHING PERTINENT TO OUR COUNTRY …is it not?..it is not suppose to be that way?

      Now , we have in government a BAND OF IN DIVIDUALS COUNTER-CONSTITUTION FOR THE VOICE AND WILL OF THE PEOPLE DOES NOT COUNT FOR THEM…isn't that the situation?

      So,that group now in Washington,..(THE OBAMA GANG) HAS NO BUSSINESS TO BE THERE MAKING ANY KIND OF DECISSSION OR MOVES FOR THEY DO NOT REPRESENT THE PEOPLE …THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE OVER IN A DICTATORIAL-TYRANIC WAY AS THE KGB WAS IN RUSIA ONCE.

      In others words THE OBAMA ADMININSTRATION IS OUT OF ORDER CONSTITUTIONALLY…does it sound about right?

      So there still a lot of debate about the recently 'passed' (actually PUSHED) HEALTH CARE REFORM PROJECT regarding its CONSTITUTIONALITY.

      And quite frankly,… IT IS NOT, for the ones behind it DID NOT PASSED BUT IMPOSSED AGAINST THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE…AND THAT IS ANTI-DEMOCRACY….is it not?

      So, 'REPEAL' is the issue?

      Very well;'

      WE THE PEOPLE SHOULD, CAN, WOULD AND MUST CALL FOR A NATION-WIDE,COAST-TO-COAST GENERAL REFERNDUM IN REGARD OF THIS HEALTH CARE REFORM PROJECT.

      THIS DEFINITELLY WILL SOLVED ALL THE PROBLEM FOR BASICALLY, WE THE PEOPLE – ALTHOUGH UNDERSTAND AND WANT A MUCH BETTER ARRANGEMENT ON HEALTH SERVICES – , WE THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT THE FORMULA RECENTLY IMPOSSED TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC AGAINST ITS WILL BY THE CURRENT ADMININSTRATION WHICH DOES NOT EMBRACE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,…AND SO THEY ARE OUT OF ORDER.

      So here is the thing;

      Send this idea to your GOVERNOR, SENATOR, AND CONGRESS REPRESENTATIVE.Since I am in Indana, Mr Pence will hear from me.

      However do not stop there, you can send this idea and conceptual aproach to EVERYONE THERE IN WASHINGTON DC….you see….EVERY SINGLE SOUL THERE IS GETTING THIS FROM ME VIA EMAIL.

      Does this works for anyone out there?

      Yes,yes, THE PELOSI-REID-PRESIDENTIAL CONSORTIOUM (with Obama as the front-face, posing and playing presedency) ARE NOT GOING TO BE VERY HAPPY TO SEE THIS DEMANDED NATION-WIDE IN ALL 50 STATES…well ,…they have to live with it, for ultimately, WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE BOSSES,, NOT THEM…as they belive they are.

      Opinions welcome.

      Daniel Cabrera

      Merrillville,Indiana

    6. John, Atlanta says:

      If you call a liberal out for their stupidity – screams of racism will follow. What a gaggle of jackasses.

    7. kjlintner FL says:

      Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution:

      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

      According to the Constitutional Dictionary located at: http://www.usconstitution.net/glossary.html#WELFA… this is the definition of "welfare:" welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being. [<ME wel faren, to fare well]

      It seems cut & dry to me, and I'm a registered Republican. :)

    8. Dwylin Miller says:

      Its clearly visible in the video that as Mr Conyers was being asked the question, he was very uncomfortable with it (see video…nervously looking around), because he was asked an up front and honest question, siting the constition word for word. Liberals cannot handle the truth when it is presented to them., It's like trying to mix water and oil. It's simply not going to happen. They live in their own fanticy world. This shameful dinasour must be delt with in november.

    9. Kent - - Contra Cost says:

      I can remember the term "Good and Welfare" being used only within a labor union as a normal item of discussion on the agenda of a a regular membership meeting and referring to information and actions that would affect the union and its members. Must the mind of Congressmember Conyers be that muddled that he cannot distinguish the Constitution from activities of a union local? Rest assured that if Conyers weren't a Democrat/progressivist the fawning lapdog media would be all over his case on this one–especially were he an African-American Republican.

    10. Kort, Dallas says:

      How many pocket Constitutions should we flood his office with?

    11. Andrew, Portland, OR says:

      Article I, section 8 of the US Constitution:

      "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

      You searched for "good," but not "welfare"?

    12. MJF, CT says:

      It is Article I, Section 8 (also known as The Powers of Congress) in the US Constitution that the Congress is going to use against us. Section 8 is very long but the preamble to it reads:

      "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;……."

      The word "welfare" means for the good of and not "let's redistribute wealth".

      If you want to read Article I Section 8, follow this link:
      http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A1Sec8

    13. Brian, DC says:

      What is awesome is watching people like kj and Andrew trying to call people out without knowing how past courts have interpreted the meaning of the welfare clause and the difference between a direct and indirect tax and that requiring the purchase of insurance is not the same as past decisions on Congress and the commerce clause

    14. Andrew, Portland, OR says:

      @Brian, DC

      I certainly wasn't claiming that I have greater Constitutional interpretation than past courts, and defining what exactly Congress is empowered to do under those provisions is what the legal challenge will be waged on.

      …but if pressing Ctrl-F on the US Constitution on looking for all instances of "good welfare" is the argument that someone's going to make as to why it's unconstitutional, I'd look elsewhere for legal knowledge. It's sloppy journalism.

    15. Danny Ward says:

      And somehow he'll get re-elected.

    16. Billie says:

      The American Constitution is FOR THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE. The MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAS NO RIGHT TO INTERPRET ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      It is THE PEOPLES CONSTITUTION THAT GOVERNMENT MEMBERS CONTINUE TO SHRED! THE ONLY AREA GOVERNMENT HAS TO DO WITH IT, IS TO STAY OUT OF OUR FREEDOM AND ABIDE BY IT!!!

      THEY'RE (GOV) ABIDING BY THEIR INTENTIONAL MISINTERPRETATION.

    17. Mike, New York says:

      No real surprise is it? The Congress is full of lawyers and the President is supposedly a Constitutional Law Professor, yet they don't seem to use the Constitution as a filter for the laws they propose, vote for, and sign.

      You would think that their oath of office (uphold & defend the Constitution) would require an understanding of it and a proper sense of its role. There is a process for amending the Constitution and I don't think that ignoring it or extrapolation is part of that process. Of course, this is the same President & Congress that criticized the Supreme Court in front of the world. Weren't they the ones upset when a Congressman yelled, "You Lie" during a joint address by the President? I guess respect doesn't go around the full circle.

      The oath includes the defense of the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic for a reason. We can see many domestic enemies if we open our eyes, or we can choose to be P/C and nice and just look the other way.

    18. Aaron, Ohio says:

      @kjlintner

      "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated."

      – Thomas Jefferson

      "[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

      –James Madison

      "[W]ith respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

      –James Madison

    19. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      kjlintner, Instead of pulling one word from a dictionary, you'll need a constitutional history lesson to fully understand and appreciate the meaning of the general welfare clause. As Brain DC states, it has to do with authorized taxation as is appropriate to the limitations placed upon respective government powers. In other words, federal government may tax for external items such as national security and foreign affairs. All other taxing powers are reserved to the individual states for ordinary domestic matters such as … yep! you guessed it, HEALTH CARE.

    20. Craig, Toronto says:

      I'm not sure, but I think Conyers is reffering to the preamble of the Constitution (which I'm sure you're all aware of) which states that The People:

      "…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare…"

    21. Ben, Texas says:

      He was clearly talking about the "general welfare" clause, which allows Congress to tax and spend in the interest of the general welfare. The argument goes that the penalization for not buying healthcare is a tax, and thus gets judged based on whether or not it promotes the general welfare. Courts have consistently given considerable deference to the legislative branch as to what constitutes "general welfare," even during the Rehnquist era. We'll see if it passes muster with the current Supreme Court.

    22. Dave, Ozark MO says:

      The lunatics ARE running the asylum..

    23. fear candy says:

      If you know you're F'ed, then you're Not!

    24. Kenneth Close Christ says:

      Does not mean he ever read the thing, how many people can say they have read the document? We can start with me #1

    25. Aaron, Ohio says:

      "You searched for “good,” but not “welfare”?"

      The key is it is the "general Welfare of the United States"

      Since kjlintner is so keen on definitions, let's look at "general":

      -of or pertaining to all persons or things belonging to a group or category-

      Thus it is *the Welfare of or pertaining to all persons belonging to the United States*

      The law in question benefits some (at best) while ignoring and even injuring others. It is therefore limited welfare, not general.

      It seems cut & dry to me, and I'm a registered Democrat.

    26. Steve FL says:

      It simply amazes me how people can continue to defend the assault of the founding documents. This is not a game and your side must win at any cost. Consider please the 3.3 trillion dollar budget used to write and enforce trade between states. I say any one who defends the right of any government to force a person to purchase health care does not deserve to be free. Shame on you.

    27. Tim, Washington, PA says:

      The entire definition (and exlanation) of welfare from http://www.usconstitution.net/glossary.html#WELFA

      Welfare

      welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being. [<ME wel faren, to fare well] Source: AHD

      Welfare in today's context also means organized efforts on the part of public or private organizations to benefit the poor, or simply public assistance. This is not the meaning of the word as used in the Constitution.

      Welfare in the Constitution is NOT public assistance for the poor. Increasing taxes on some to give to others is contrary to the health, happiness, and prosperity of the nation as a whole. This is best left to private citizens to help out their neighbors at their own discretion.

      Even if welfare was meant in this context, it does not include the authority to mandate that citizens purchase a good or service. This is not included in any of the powers of Congress in Article 1, Section 8. All powers not delegated specifically to the federal government (and not strictly prohibited) in the Constitution are reserved for the individual states or the people, so only a state or the people can Constitutionally pass such a law.

    28. David, Las Vegas says:

      More proof that the current, leftist, rubber-stamp Congress and Senate is totally incompetent to do the job to which they were elected by the people. We must vote out the Congresspeople who voted to approve the monstrosity health insurance industry takeover that masqueraded as “reform”. Likewise, those of us who can must vote out the Senators who approved the same monstrosity. I know that I am voting against “Dirty” Harry Reid come November!

    29. Jeremy, UT says:

      Congress cannot legally tax some people for not buying health insurance and exempt others. Income tax is the only tax that can apportioned unequally (the Constitution explicitly says this). Direct taxes, which a health insurance penalty would be, must be applied based on state census data, which doesn't exempt anyone. State censuses even count illegal aliens, who are unconstitutionally exempted (among others) from buying health insurance according to the bill.

      Which means that the mandate itself is unconstitutional, and the penalty for not following the mandate is also unconstitutional.

      I wonder how much support a mandateless bill will get in Congress after the bill is sent back by the Supreme Court. This should get interesting! Get the popcorn popping and enjoy the show!

    30. Grant, Alabama says:

      An even greater scandal is that the mainstream media (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc.) are just crickets chirping on this. Do a google news search on it and you get a small handful of conservative news sites carrying it. If a republican said something like this, it would be GIANT FONT FRONT PAGE for month after month. But since a dem said it, the MSM is utterly silent across the board. Welcome to 1950's Russia, folks, were Pravda is our main source of information.

    31. Anna, Chicago says:

      Oh, no! Conyers mis-spoke when referring to the General Welfare Clause! That's worthy of writing an article about! This is ridiculous.

      Grant, the MSM is silent because this isn't news, it's stupid.

    32. Amelia- pennsylvania says:

      How in the world does a person like this keep getting put back in power? There must be a lot of his kind out there. How sad.

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