Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is The "Buffett Tax" Unconstitutional?

Article 1, Section 9 of that "hundred year old document" that continues to stand in the way of Hope and Change:

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Just so we are clear -A Bill of Attainder, defined: A legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial

The classes on Article 1 seem to be the ones that Obama must have skipped while in law school, as it contains the feared and dreaded "commerce clause" that may in fact doom his signature achievement.  But Ed Morrissey wonders if Section 9 basically outlaws Obama's beloved "Buffet Tax" as well:

The real revenue opportunity comes with the wealthiest of Americans, where a surtax would confiscate much larger amounts of capital. Bloomberg’s Hans Nichaols reported this week that the Buffett Rule actually hopes to target just 400 earners in the nation. That makes this look a lot less like a normal tax policy and a lot more like an attack on specific Americans as a lever to seize their property in service to a President who has openly waged class warfare for the last eight months.

"Who cares about the nuances of Article 1, anyway? It's not something I would ever need to know in the real world..."

Morrissey channels the Founders:

 In 1788 James Madison, one of the framers of our government, warned about Congressional attempts to issue political and legal punishments. He said, "Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation...

 The ranting of a dead white man? Maybe. But as recently as 1965, this principle was re-asserted by the Supreme Court: "

"The Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function or more simply - trial by legislature." ~U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 440 (1965).

Guess Barack skipped that chapter in the textbook - probably spent the day occupying the dean's office or something.  But with Obamacare's fate in the hands of the Supreme Court - who appear quite likely to let the guillotine fall upon it - would he really go out on the campaign trail with a new initiative that might very well be equally unconstitutional?

Chutzpah? Sheer ignorance?  Or a drive so strong to remake the nation in his image that nothing else even matters?

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