The worst 1st Amendment violation ever? You tell me.
While I’ve been wanting to post items at a state and local level, it’s getting quite difficult in some respects to do so. Because when the Constitution is under assault, particularly from a member of Congress, we are under assault. And we must do everything lawfully in our power to ensure the Constitution is indeed held as the Bible and supreme law of our land.
As reported on Tuesday by a number of news sources (here and here are a couple notable ones), Humana Health Care, a major health insurer in America, reportedly sent out a letter to its senior customers about pending Medicare cuts in the Senate version of the federal health care legislation. Word of this somehow got out to Sen. Max Baucus (Madd Maxx in my book), the primary writer and sponsor of the Senate bill who subsequently ordered an investigation into Humana by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMMS), courtesy of course, the Obama Administration.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the normally very mild mannered Republican from Kentucky, reacted in an unusually terse response, not only saying that it was a natural (and right) progression to come to Humana’s conclusion but that it was a bullet into the 1st Amendment rights of Humana.
You can read (and I highly recommend you do) two press releases from the senator (here and here). It is the only site I know where it is noted that Sen. McConnell and his office have contacted CMMS as to what legal reasons permitted its actions.
I also urge you to watch the You Tube video below of the speech (roughly 7 minutes) and draw your own conclusions. As the senator acknowledged, Humana is a constituent of his so he does have an obligation to consider their views in this legislation. But that aside, Sen. McConnell has stated he would defend any individual’s or company’s right to support or oppose any piece of legislation. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will agree with them at the time he casts his vote. But he absolutely defends their right to speak out, for or against. And he has said so in this video.
And isn’t that what our elected officials are supposed to do?
I can’t help but believe the citizens of Montana, a largely liberty and libertarian state with strong support for the 2nd Amendment, have to be shaking their heads that they elected a senator who wants to deny anyone’s 1st Amendment rights.
The citizens of Montana should initiate and circulate a petition to recall Sen. Baucus. It doesn’t matter that he’s not up for reelection next year. If anyone reading this is from Montana, it’s up to you to start the process. If you know someone from Montana, please forward this to them. Any Congressman or senator who seeks to subvert the Bill of Rights is one that does not need to be representing the people. It doesn’t matter what political party they are from and it doesn’t even matter whether the truth is being spoken.
Yes, the 1st Amendment does NOT have a clause to prevent lying. If the truth is being misrepresented somewhere, it is up to the affected individual(s) or group(s)to find and use all the avenues at their disposal to get out their message. It is NOT the job of the federal government to silence those who are speaking out by launching criminal investigations. . Asking one’s members to oppose legislation because it is potentially detrimental to them (regardless of whether it actually is) fully falls within the 1st Amendment.
And for the record, it appears that Sen. McConnell and Humana were not only in their rights to speak out as they did, but they were on solid ground as well. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has allegedly affirmed their concerns.
So what’s a company supposed to do when a branch of government in DC validates a major insurer’s fears but another arm (the Obama Administration).
Go back to July 1st, 1987 on the floor of the U.S. Senate when Sen. Ted Kennedy made this absolutely bizarre and unbelievable claim in a speech about President Reagan’s nominee to the federal bench, Judge Robert Bork.
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”
Funny, as recklessly ludicrous of a statement as that was, I don’t recall anyone in Congress challenging the 1st Amendment rights of the now late senator from Massachusetts. In retrospect, perhaps Republicans should have called for an investigation into the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne in exchange for his right to condemn Judge Bork as he did.
Also funny how Chappaquiddick Ted didn’t seem to mind the rogue police in Washington traveling to Florida to break down the doors of the home young Elian Gonzalez stayed at, an egregious violation of the 4th Amendment.
Oh, by the way, where are the so-called defenders of the Bill of Rights, the ACLU, in this matter? Probably AWOL, looking for another plaque of the 10 Commandments to remove.
Let’s read the 1st Amendment together, folks:
Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Let’s get something straight here. The 1st Amendment applies to every American, period! It does not exclude public officials who may want to pray in Jesus’ name before a city council meeting or a government worker wishing to read his or her Bible at lunchtime. The ACLU’s concept of the 1st Amendment is that government officials must check their faith at the door once they enter. This is utterly and totally BASELESS but it has been perpetuated for decades by these lefties and bought into by sincere but misguided folks.
Government officials, like anyone else, should be free to speak out on any matter they wish to without fear of repercussions (libel, defamation matters and death threats, of course, excluded). Unfortunately, Resident Obama finds the Constitution an obstacle to his agenda, having once termed it as “flawed”.
If there is something in our Constitution that is flawed, which I do not accept (well, maybe the Founders couldn’t have envisioned a failing post office system as we have today – I’ll concede this one point), there is a remedy for it. And that is either a constitutional convention or an amendment that gets 2/3rds vote in both Houses and ratification in 3/4ths of the states.
I would invite the Resident, upon proving his constitutional credentials for citizenship, to address those flaws and have Congress alter them, doing so the right way.
Sorry, I don’t see that occurring any time soon.
But what I do see is that a U.S. senator, duly elected by the voters of the state of Montana, has committed a flagrant civil rights violation by attempting to punish a private entity (acknowledging that entity’s participation in the Medicare program) with sanctions (I assume monetary and perhaps even criminal) for simply opposing a bill that will likely permanently alter our social infrastructure as never seen in our 233 year history.
As a former co-host of an Internet radio show, I had the privilege last year to spend with Sen. McConnell for a few minutes on a number of issues. Although the responses to my questions and that of the other host were not necessarily what we hoped for and weren’t directly answered, the gentleman from the Bluegrass State was typical of southern legislators – friendly and courteous. So I did get to know the senator just a little bit better.
Sen. McConnell did not state Sen. Baucus by name but he left no doubt in his speech as to who he was referring to, addressing him as a colleague who introduced the Senate health care bill. Everyone following the health care debate knows this is Sen. Baucus. And Sen. Baucus must be held accountable for his actions.
That is why I will be making a few contacts in that part of the country to see if some group out that way will launch a recall petition of Sen. Baucus. It MUST be done. I will also be sending this post to Sen. McConnell’s office. It’s bad enough when America gets bad legislation, especially when lies are used to make laws. We can revert most bad laws. But it is infinitely worse when a member of Congress seeks to stifle a company’s right 1st Amendment right to legitimately express their views on a matter that will seriously affect them as well as the entire nation. Sen. Baucus, if what was stated by Sen. McConnell to be factual – and there appears to be no lie, must be educated on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that as a senator he was and is sworn to uphold.
It’s entirely possible that a recall petition will have little or no legal weight to it. Legal experts can have at it on that one. But it sends the message that violating the 1st Amendment rights of any American citizen is blatantly unconstitutional and a stiff penalty must be put in place to anyone, particularly a public official, who takes action to silence them. Sen. Baucus is such an official and even if the recall petition ends up being legally meaningless, the public attention brought to his actions and a heavy no confidence vote from the citizens of Montana potentially have at least four effects:
- It diminishes Sen. Baucus’s public standing, knowing how poorly his constituents view him.
- It handicaps his power as committee chairman to shepherd his health care bill thru the U.S. Senate, knowing that he has little respect for the U.S. Constitution, be it for either his 1st Amendment violations or the knowledge that the Constitution gives Congress NO AUTHORITY to regulate the health of our lives.
- It warrants his personal resignation because he no longer has the backing of the citizens of Montana to adequately represent them.
- It sends a message to voters across America to take measures (even symbolic ones) to recall their own legislators (state or federal) when their officials attempt to subvert the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
If violations such as these continue to occur without remedy, then our Constitution becomes nothing but words and our country ends up being lost forever because America’s foundational guiding light has crumbled.
It’s time to recall Madd Maxx. Montanans, it’s time to begin the process.