Friday, December 31, 2010


This is Lynn Jenkins, she does not represent us

Common Sense, and nearly every person you meet, will tell you to stop digging once you find yourself in a hole. Either no one told Lynn Jenkins about common sense or that she's dug herself into a hole. Instead of dropping the shovel and hollering for a ladder or a rope Jenkins decided to blame "liberals" for her confused idea about a statute to outlaw Lame Duck sessions of the Congress - any Congress.

Seriously, when I Googled the Unrepresentative from Kansas' Second Congressional District this is what I saw:

End the Lame Duck Session
Liberals are fighting my attempt to ban the lame duck session.

That of course took me to a page where Lynn had the audacity to ask for more money. She gets tens of thousands of dollars from her connections with the  Koch's brothers, QC Holdings, and other FAT CAT BANKERS, ACCOUNTANTS, INSURANCE COMPANIES, AND WALL STREET INTERESTS. She'll neither get a vote nor a single cent from me.

Am I supposed to be this "liberal" of which her website speak?  On some things I am. I support equal pay for equal work, SCHIP, Health Care Reform, and a woman's right to choose. Then again I never saw a free trade agreement that didn't free up our markets to buy more cheap stuff, made by foreigners and putting Americans out of work that I liked. Nor do I think much of tax credits to big business for sending American jobs overseas. Jenkins keeps voting for those offshoring tax breaks.  When it comes to the Second Amendment I find myself strangely in the company of Sam Alito. I think owning a gun is a personal right guaranteed by the Second Amendment and that right can be made applicable to the States via the Incorporation Doctrine of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Lynn Jenkins just gets it wrong. It is not liberals who oppose her idea, it is reasonable persons who have taken the time to study the institution of the Congress and the Constitution. Jenkins will be opposed by those who know the distinctions between rules, statutes, and the Constitution.

The Constitution

Article I Section 4.

The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
20th Amendment - Amendment XX

Section 2.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
The Twentieth Amendment struck out the language I underlined above from  Article I § 4 and replaced it with the language of § 2.

If the 72nd Congress, which proposed the Twentieth Amendment, and the States ratifying the Twentieth Amendment intended to terminate, rather than truncate, Lame Duck sessions then the language they presented would have been different.

Consider the original language of Article I § 3, which was redacted upon adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment. Here the framers told the first Senators to get themselves to Philadelphia to begin the first session of the First Congress and to do so immediately. If the powerhouse behind the Twentieth Amendment, Nebraska's Senator George Norris, wanted to kick the former Representatives and Senators out of office and let the new Congress begin, there was an example set by the Founding Fathers.

The Twentieth Amendment would then say that as soon as a quorum of both houses of the newly elected Congress has assembled, the former Congress will adjourn Sine Die. Immediately thereafter the next session of Congress will begin.

The problem is that isn't anything close to what the Twentieth Amendment says.

Lynn Jenkins is having this amazingly public brain fart saying that she can get done by statute what every other semi-educated person in America knows can only be accomplished by amending the Constitution.

This is not new stuff. The Supreme Court spoke to the issue in 1996. The case was United States v. Winstar Corp. 518 U.S. 839 where the history of this principle was discussed. The Court said:
In his Commentaries, Blackstone stated the centuries old concept that one legislature may not bind the legislative authority of its successors:

"Acts of parliament derogatory from the power of subsequent parliaments bind not. . . . Because the legislature, being in truth the sovereign power, is always of equal, always of absolute authority: it acknowledges no superior upon earth, which the prior legislature must have been, if it's [sic] ordinances could bind the present parliament." 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 90 (1765)." (Emphasis added).
Did you get that? Lynn Jenkins cannot pass a law that binds future Congresses because the 112th Congress will be equal in sovereign power and absolute authority with the 113th Congress and each successive Congress to follow.

Make no bones about it the 112th Congress can adjourn Sine Die after the elections are over. The 112th Congress can move to make in order a new vote for Speaker of the House for the balance of the term of the first session of the 112th Congress. That way when the Democrats win Lynn Jenkins can make sure that the Democrats will rule in the waning hours of the 112th Congress and respect the will of the electorate. Lynn Jenkins' crazy idea that she can pass a law binding on future Congresses regarding Lame Duck sessions is just nonsense.

It is the kind of nonsense that has her asking for money from those who believe that liberals are attacking Jenkins. Well, Jenkins may not know much about Congress as an institution or the Constitution but she's a true disciple of P.T. Barnum. Yes Sir, there's a sucker born every minute! And Lynn is going after their cash!

And now Jenkins supports the new Tea Party notion of putting in a Constitutional jurisdictional statement for each new bill proposed in the 112th Congress.  Gosh, I can hardly wait.

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