Friday, April 3, 2009

Government Bailouts Unconstitutional?

Well, some pundits are finally coming around to the conclusion that the government bailout legislation and executive dispersment of the funds may be unconstitutional. This is the kind of spirited debate I like to see, and indicates that our constitutional republic may not be fading as fast as it appears.

George Will was the first to catch my attention with his argument that the Emergency Economic Stablization Act of 2008, which created TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), is unconstitutional because it violates Article I of the Constitution, in which all legislative powers are vested in congress. Interesting.

Terrence Jeffrey took a more focused view, declaring that the money allocated to GM and Chrysler from TARP funds by Bushwhacker is unconstitutional because the loans did not purchase troubled assets and do not help financial institutions.

I like Will's approach because, if such a challenge was successful, it could impose limitations on the expansion of government. However, Will and Jeffrey both seem to overlook the idea that someone has to have standing in order to sue on the issue of constitutionality.

Ken Klukowski opines that if the Supreme Court were to reverse existing precedent to allow taxpayers to sue, that this would open a Pandora's box of judicial activism where the courts would have free reign to rewrite social and economic policy. Hmmm... To get constitutional government we would be subject to unconstitutional judicial activism. Not a good trade off.

My thoughts: Just remove politicians' immunity from suit. Sure, it might result in them getting sued for every little thing they do, but it would result in a lot less government.

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