Michele Bachmann calls on followers to ignore the law – again
Speaking at a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol, Michele ‘Mama Che’ Bachmann complained about the route the House might take in the drive to pass health care. Once again, the Minnesota Member of Congress called upon her followers to ignore the law. Why? Because she doesn’t like it. Bachmann’s problem is the House procedure called the ’self-executing rule’ – now nicknamed “the Slaughter Rule”. It is a procedure that has been in existence in the House since the 1970’s and allows the House to ‘bury’ an unpopular bill inside a new bill. In the matter of the health care reform package, using the rule would allow the House to ‘package’ the Senate passed bill into a new bill that also includes the fixes set to go to the Senate for a reconciliation vote. Passage of this all-in-one bill would result in the House passing the Senate bill while sparing House Democrats having to actually vote for the Senate package which they do not really like. I don’t like this. While the procedure has been used for years, I don’t know that it has ever been used for a piece of legislation of such importance. Further, the only reason for using the rule is to allow House Democrats to hide from having to vote for something they think can hurt them politically. But you should not be fooled by the outrage coming from conservative politicians and commentators. Not only have House Republicans accepted the self-executing rule in the past, Don Wolfensberger, former chief of staff for the House Rules Committee under the Republicans, notes:
When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules. Via Media Matters
While I may not like the use of “The Slaughter Rule” to pass health care reform, one would be hard pressed to make an out-of- hand argument that the rule is unconstitutional. Indeed, such a conclusion is unlikely given that Congress has the right to make their own rules. Nevertheless, even if it were to turn out to be otherwise, it is a matter for the Courts to decide – not Michele Bachmann. But Michele Bachmann has never let the law get in the way of her never ending B.S. In declaring the use of the self-executing rule to be ‘taxation without representation‘, Bachmann told her followers –
If they pass the bill legitimately, then yes, we have to follow the law — until we repeal it. But if they pass it illegitimately, then the bill is illegitimate, and we don’t have to lay down for this. It’s not difficult to figure out. So if for some reason they’re able to get their votes this week and pass this 2,700-page Senate bill — if they get it, trillions of dollars is what it’s gonna cost, when we didn’t vote on it, we need to tell them a message: That if they get away with this, they will be able to get away with anything — with anything. And you can’t say you voted on a bill when you didn’t, because it’s fraud. But we are not helpless here. We are not helpless, there are things that we can do. Via Talking Points Memo
This is not the first time Bachmann has called for Americans to disobey the law – or worse. You may recall her appearance on a Minnesota radio station where she implored her listeners to get “armed and dangerous” . Bachmann followed that up with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio program where she inciting listeners to revoltion. You can read all about this in my earlier piece entitled “Michele Mama Che Bachmann Officially Insane”. At that time, I suggested that Bachmann had violated 5 USC Sec. 7313 and deserved to be investigated by the Department of Justice. I have little doubt that Bachmann’s insistence that her followers disobey yet another law, should it become one, will result in yet another violation of federal law. Bachmann continues –
We aren’t gonna play their game, we’re not gonna pay their taxes. They want us to pay for this? Because we don’t have to. We don’t have to. We don’t have to follow a bill that isn’t law. That’s not the American way, and that’s not what we’re going to do.
Apparently, if Bachmann says it’s not a law – that should be good enough for the rest of us. I mean, who has time for the Supreme Court to register an opinion and why should they bother? Bachmann has spoken! There’s more.
Because it’s one-party rule now in Washington, D.C. Their Chicago tactics, their Chicago friends, twisting Democrats’ arms, threatening their own team members with ethics charges and a submission. This handful of people thinks they can enforce their will on 300 million Americans? They’re not gonna do that. This is dictatorial, what they are doing. We are not compelled to follow a non-law just because Obama and Pelosi tells us we have to.
Is it just me or is this precisely the kind of behavior the Founders had in mind when they defined “high crimes and misdemeanors” as the standard for bouncing a Member of Congress out of their job? As much as I enjoy chronicling the follies of Michele Bachmann, the woman has repeatedly violated her oath of office and shown complete disrespect for the laws she is sworn to uphold and defend – which includes the laws she doesn’t like. When is someone going to show the courage to stand up to Rep. Bachmann and defend the sanctity of law and the legitimacy of the United States? I don’t care what party she belongs to, what she believes and who she thinks she is pleasing. We do not elect people to Congress as a platform to incite Americans to revolution and to disobey the laws of the land. If a revolution is what Michele Bachmann wants she should put her money -and her ample Congressional perks and benefits – where her large and obnoxious mouth currently reside. You say you want a revolution Michele? Fine. Go for it. But stop requiring me to cover your paycheck and pay for your perks, including your health insurance coverage, while you incite your all too ready group of fanboys to start shooting at me. If you want to be an enemy of the U.S. government, the least you can do is do it on your own dime.
UPDATE: It turns out that the Slaughter Rule has been tested in court. In 2007, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen organization brought the matter before the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, challenging the lower court’s holding that the rule was, indeed, Constitutional. Nader lost again in the Court of Appeals. Guess who filed a brief in support of Nader’s action to have the rule deemed unconstitutional? Nancy Pelosi.
While the hypocrisy is obvious, what must be noted is (a) Pelosi went to court – not to the streets encouraging her supporters to ignore the law, and (b) the court did, in fact, rule that the Slaughter Rule was constitutional, making Bachmann’s behavior all the more offensive.