A Return to the Republic: A Game Plan for Donald Trump

A Return to the Republic: A Game Plan for Donald Trump
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The following statement was solicited and then aired, along with the thoughts of others, via the nationwide “Connecting the Dots” radio program on November 22, 2016. We were asked what advice would we give to incoming President of the United States Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump, I suggest that you add to your goal of making America great again the following statement: “America became great, not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the U.S. Constitution.”

Image from Wikipedia.

You should consider that, were the Constitution fully adhered to, the federal government would shrink to 20 percent its size and 20 percent its cost.

To questions asking what you intend to do after your inauguration, you should say, “I am not going to do as much as people might expect. Instead I shall use all the proper powers of the presidency to undo much of what government now does. And what I intend to undo, to abolish, are all agencies, departments, and bureaucratic monstrosities that are not authorized by the Constitution.”

Among the federal agencies that should be abolished are the Departments of Education, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and many of those issuing handouts of various kinds. You should arrange to have the U.S. military and the U.S. Border Patrol take on whatever responsibilities have been assumed by the Department of Homeland Security.

One by one, all agencies of the federal government that have been created and empowered by presidential Executive Orders should be abolished. The most egregious of these is the federal Environmental Protection Agency, a monster created via an Executive Order written by President Nixon in 1970. The EPA was never voted into existence by Congress.

America has not won a war since 1945 when victory was achieved in World War II. No victory in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Why? Because our nation submits to rules and regulations mandated by the United Nations and its controlled stepchild NATO. For this reason and many more, the United States should withdraw from the United Nations at the earliest possible time. A measure to accomplish this goal, H.R. 1205, has been introduced in the House of Representatives and it should receive presidential support.

Proper attention should be given to the very first sentence in the Constitution that states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” That means no law making is proper if made by presidential Executive Order or by a Supreme Court decision. Any law enacted outside of the legislative branch must be declared null. One good example needing termination is the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that has legalized the taking of 60 million lives since 1973.

Presidential power must be employed to have a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve, something that hasn’t been done in the Fed’s more than 100 years of existence. Congress would welcome the help of the President to get this done. Once audited honestly and thoroughly, moves should be undertaken toward abolishing this unconstitutional engine of inflation. The path toward creating precious metal backed currency should be laid out and followed.

Various job-destroying entanglements in which our government has placed the nation should be terminated. This means exiting NAFTA, CAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and others.

Let me say again: “America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.”

Mr. Trump, I will continue to pray that you accomplish all your legitimate goals, only some of which I have listed in this brief statement.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Executive Orders, Subject to the People

Executive Orders, Subject to the People 
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In a nation where people enjoy freedom, laws are made by a parliament, a congress, or some similar assemblage of elected officials. These lawmakers owe their posts to voters and are, in the main, subject to the people. But, as history has repeatedly shown, the laws in many nations are made by the decrees of a king or dictator who relies on virtually almighty power to rule.

The signing of an executive order on the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government.

The signing of an executive order on the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government.

America’s Founders knew well the excesses of that kind of power. So they declared themselves independent, fought a war to get out from under a king’s dictates, and won the struggle to be free. The very first clause in the 1787 Constitution they created left all law-making power in the hands of Congress. Under the rules established by the U.S. Constitution, the president is charged with the responsibility, not to make law, but to see that all laws properly enacted would be faithfully executed.

In the performance of his duties, a president can issue executive orders that have the force of law – but only among those who serve under him. A presidential executive order is proper when directed at government employees. While he serves, a president is much like the CEO of a company who certainly has a right to issue orders binding his employees.

In 1793, during his first term in office, George Washington issued an executive order declaring America’s neutrality in the war between France and England. Our first president soon realized that the protests of Madison and Jefferson against his executive mandate were correct. He then asked Congress to issue a law declaring the sought-after neutrality and Congress complied. There were no more presidential misuses of the executive order power for approximately 70 years.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln overstepped his authority and issued executive orders that suspended habeas corpus, blockaded southern ports, and emancipated southern slaves. He cited his role as “commander in chief” of the military to do so. Later, following the pattern set by Washington, he asked Congress to amend the Constitution to prohibit all slavery. Which was done. A measure of respect for the limitations on presidential power still existed during that period of history. Then in 1866, the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan explained those limitations as follows:

The power to make necessary laws is in Congress; the power to execute in the President…. But neither can the President, in war more than in peace, intrude upon the proper authority of Congress, nor Congress upon the proper authority of the President.

Fast forward to today. In its first seven years, the Obama administration issued 560 major regulations via executive orders. Each had significant economic or social consequences for the entire nation. His wrongful reliance on the power to issue improper executive orders followed President George W. Bush’s issuance of half the number created by President Obama. As reported by Binyamin Applebaum and Michael D. Shear in the August 28, 2016 issue of the New York Times, the Obama orders aimed, among other targets, to “restructure the nation’s health care and financial industries, limit pollution, bolster workplace protections, and extend equal rights to minorities.” The Times reporters added that Obama’s reliance on executive orders “has imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.”

Barack Obama has even stated his intention to use “my pen” if Congress doesn’t enact laws he wants. Too often, Congress has caved in and tolerated such completely illicit contempt for the Constitution. This docility of the legislative branch has to stop. No king or all-powerful ruler should be making laws for our nation.

Congress should declare any executive order aimed at the entire population completely null. All presidents should follow the lesson George Washington learned while he served as President. All Americans should become familiar with Article I, Section 1, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution where Congress is named as the sole possessor of “All legislative powers.”

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Which Way Goes the Supreme Court?

Which Way Goes the Supreme Court?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Perhaps the most important issue for America’s voters in 2016 is the future staffing of the United States Supreme Court. There are long lists of other matters to be considered by whoever becomes the next President and which party dominates both houses of Congress. But whoever gets tapped for the Court and survives the Senate confirmation hearings will, because a place on the Court is a lifetime appointment, be in a position to shape much of what happens for decades.

Would the Constitution survive more leftist Supreme Court appointments like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? She appears above at Northwestern Law. Image from a video from their Vimeo page.

Currently, the Court is divided 4 to 4. Half of the eight justices are solid liberals and the other half lean toward conservative values. Since the death of Antonin Scalia, there have already been 4 to 4 rulings, a standoff that temporarily leaves the matter in favor of the previous ruling rendered by a lower court. If there is no previous ruling, the matter at hand will likely be brought before the Court after the vacancy is filled.

The current liberal-leaning justices include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Those of a more conservative bent are Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

The age of several justices makes it virtually certain that filling the seat formerly held by Justice Scalia will not be the only vacancy to be filled.

Among the liberals, Justice Ginsburg has lasted much longer on the court than most expected – possibly even herself. At 83 and with a history of pancreatic cancer which she seems to have survived quite well, she almost surely will opt to retire soon. Stephen Breyer is 77 years old and might also retire. Sonia Sotomayor (57 years old) and Elena Kagan (51 years old) can be expected to hold their places for many more years.

On the conservative side, 79-year-old Anthony Kennedy leads in age and it would surprise few if he soon decides to step away. When there were nine justices, Antonin Scalia could regularly be found in the conservative camp and Anthony Kennedy frequently held what has been called the swing vote. The other conservative-leaning justices, each more solid than Kennedy, are John Roberts (age 61), Clarence Thomas (age 68) and Samuel Alito (age 61). None of these three are expected to retire anytime soon.

There is little doubt about the choices Hillary Clinton would make if she becomes the nation’s 45th President. She would choose liberals. Should Donald Trump become the nation’s chief executive, his choices for places on the Supreme Court would likely lean conservative though that lean would not be not as pronounced as would be the liberals Clinton would nominate.

In mid-May, Trump took the unusual step of naming 11 men he would consider for places on the high Court. His list drew sharp criticism from Nan Aron, the president of the liberal Alliance for Justice Action Council, who was particularly upset that Trump’s list contained the names of many she insisted to be “hostile” to “reproductive justice, and environmental, consumer and worker protections.” On the conservative side, Ed Whelan, a former clerk to Justice Scalia, called the Trump choices “a good list of some outstanding judges who give ample sign of being faithful to the Constitution.”

America’s Founders expected the Supreme Court to be the least powerful of the three branches of government. But their attitude has largely been cast aside because the Court now makes law. Because such great power resides in the judgments of the nine seated at the Court, America’s voters should hardly overlook what the future makeup of the Supreme Court will be when they pull a lever or ink a ballot in November.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Restrooms By Choice?

Restrooms By Choice?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

As the assault on our nation’s cultural underpinnings continues, the latest attack against morality and sanity involves a choice of restrooms. If you’re a man, you can claim to be a woman and use the one where such use would in the past likely lead to your arrest. The same holds true for a woman who claims to be a man and prefers to use the men’s room. Many individuals who claim to have discovered that they have been wrongly assigned their gender identity have even submitted to medical procedures. They can deny who they are but they can’t deny nature.

The JBS action project supporting morality is a must if America is to return to its freedom-loving roots.

It will surely upset advocates of the so-called transgender craze to hear an opposing view – one that says each person’s gender results from action completely outside of any human being’s decision. Gender arrives at conception and it marks an individual for life. No tinkering, medical procedure, personal desire, or government edict can legitimately change that.

In the first chapter of Genesis verse 17, one can learn of the Almighty’s launching of the human race. The holy book tells us in clear terms, “… male and female He created them.” From then until now and beyond, a new human being is either male or female from conception. Even before birth, the newly conceived human’s chromosomes have determined its gender. In our country, as in most others, a newborn infant’s gender will also be recorded on a birth certificate that will forever indicate that person as either male or female.

The culture destroyers in the Obama administration decided that federal action was needed to protect the so-called rights of the transgender minority. The president sent a letter to every public school district in America telling the nation’s educators to allow students claiming a change in their gender to use whichever bathroom and locker room they choose.

The letter admitted that it “does not have the force of law.” It even employs the word “guidance” in place of the usual “must” or “shall.” Hence, it carries no obvious threat of federal punishments for those who don’t comply. But the possibility of withholding federal aid for balky school districts is real. And social pressures generated by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender minority (LGBT is their acronym) and their culture destroying allies can be, and have already been, employed to force reluctant officials in various states and communities to change or simply ignore their local laws and standards.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex. So the culture-destroying commandoes referred not to sex but to “gender identity.” And the individuals who desire to alter their gender identification are taking advantage of loopholes in the laws in some states where changes can be made in one’s birth certificate. They are, in effect, rewriting a legal document.

What would have been termed “madness” only several decades ago is now sweeping the country. It follows a Supreme Court ruling elevating same-sex marriage to legitimacy. Other attacks on our national culture include assigning women to combat roles in the military, killing an unborn child in the womb, and condoning entertainment that subverts morality. All of these assaults on our nation’s culture harm the collective sense of what has always been identifiably “American.” Our nation continues a descent into a new form of barbarism.

Regaining our cultural underpinnings can be accomplished. After all, slavery was once considered legal, even proper. But it was abolished. Allowing and even encouraging individuals to change their undeniable sex to their own choice of “gender identity” is dangerously absurd. It even amounts to shaking a fist at the heavens and saying, “Not Thy will but mine be done.”

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Obama Versus Obama on the Use of Executive Orders

Obama Versus Obama on the Use of Executive Orders
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The fate of approximately five million illegal immigrants rides on a matter now in the hands of the Supreme Court. On April 18, the court entertained hearings on whether these immigrants will be deported or allowed to remain in the United States. A decision is expected in a few months.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration, at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

More than a year ago, President Obama sought to use an executive order to cancel congressional action calling for deportation of these illegal entrants. In effect, he wanted to grant them amnesty. Federal Judge Andrew Hanen blocked implementation of the Obama order and a federal district court later upheld his ruling. The Obama administration appealed that court’s ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.

Led by Texas, a total of 26 state governments have sought relief from the costs incurred by the flood of immigrants, including the five million in question. Their issue dwells on expenses incurred by the immigrants such as the issuance of drivers licenses. But the greater issue here is the use of executive orders by a president in order to circumvent existing law, or even to establish law without it having first been created by Congress.

Interestingly, President Obama has provided totally conflicting views on the topic of executive orders. In January 2014, he threatened to make law via his executive order by declaring:

We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward….

As recounted by David Remnick in New Yorker magazine, Mr. Obama had earlier provided a completely opposite view during a fund-raising appearance at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in California. Urged by some in his audience to rely on the executive order route, the president objected and stated:

If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so, but we’re also a nation of laws. I’m actually going to pause on this issue, because a lot of people have been saying this lately on every problem, which is just, “Sign an executive order and we can pretty much do anything and basically nullify Congress.” [But] that’s not how it works. We’ve got this Constitution; we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers. So there is no shortcut to politics, and there’s no shortcut to democracy.

Not the first president who has employed executive orders to circumvent the sole power of Congress to make law, Obama might be the first to explain very clearly how wrong such a practice truly is. This nation does indeed have a Constitution that should be obeyed.

Currently, because of the death of Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court has only eight justices. Should there be a 4 to 4 split, the district court’s previous ruling against the president’s use of an executive order will stand. President Obama’s action would, in effect, be deemed an illegal act and deportation action could proceed.

Which Obama position regarding executive orders will prevail? The odds seem to favor rejection of their use. For a change, the president’s grasp for power may be thwarted. Now, do your part and tell Congress to oppose all Executive and Congressional amnesties.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Don’t “Interpret” the Constitution; Obey It

Don’t “Interpret” the Constitution; Obey It
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Hardly anyone knows the true assignment given the Supreme Court by the Constitution. Accordingly, it comes as little surprise to find many Americans claiming that job of the justices is to “interpret the Constitution.” But when a committed conservative makes the same claim, one realizes how thoroughly a distorted view of the American system of government has been spread.

Simply stated, the job of the Supreme Court is not to interpret the Constitution, or interpret any law properly enacted. It is to see to it that the Constitution is obeyed and that all laws passed by the federal government can honestly trace their legitimacy to what appears in the its text. There has to be a positive grant of power in the document for any federal law to claim legitimacy. No law can be properly enacted under the spurious claim that it’s not prohibited and, therefore, it’s legitimate to enact it. Interpreting the Constitution or any law to have it say beyond what its text contains is completely wrong.

How did the dangerous notion of “interpreting” get started? It began soon after our nation started. It is the legacy of highly revered Chief Justice John Marshall. Appointed by President John Adams during our second President’s last day in office, Marshall served on the high court from 1801 until death claimed him in 1835. In his 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision, he declared, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is….” In other words, we at the Supreme Court will decide what a law says; we shall not rely on its text. We shall “interpret” both the Constitution and any law that comes before us.

Obviously sensing where Marshall would take the nation, President Thomas Jefferson stated early in his term of office (1801-1809): “On every question of construction, [let us] carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

Jefferson repeated his stand when he stated, “The Constitution on which our Union rests shall be administered by me according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption.” His is the correct attitude.

Simply stated, it was never the intent of the Founders of this nation to have the Supreme Court “interpret” the Constitution. If such a power is allowed, there is really no need to have a Constitution. Reliance on the purported wisdom of nine judges is all that would be needed.

Any thinking American should never accept the dangerous notion that the Supreme Court has been awarded power to “interpret” either the Constitution or any properly enacted law.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


A New Abortion Case Reaches Supreme Court

A New Abortion Case Reaches Supreme Court
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Only recently, the Texas legislature succeeded in imposing a brake on the practice of abortion within its boundaries. Pro-abortion partisans sued to overturn the law, but the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it. Unsurprisingly, the Appeals Court ruling has been challenged and will be decided by the Supreme Court where only eight members remain as a result of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing. Both sides have already presented their arguments to the high court and a verdict on Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstadt will be handed down before the summer recess begins.

prolife

As ProLife Wisconsin asks, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Looking at the current makeup of the Supreme Court, it is safe to assume that four justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor) will favor reversing the Fifth Circuit’s support for the Texas law. It also seems safe to conclude that three justices (Thomas, Alito, and Roberts) will uphold it. That leaves the eighth member, Justice Anthony Kennedy, with the deciding vote. If he sides with the three presumed upholders, the Court will have registered a non-decision and the Fifth Circuit decision will remain in force. If he joins the four and favors reversal of the Texas law, the abortion industry will have been given a new green light to continue its widespread taking of life in the womb.

The Texas law under scrutiny imposes regulations on abortion clinics and the purveyors of the practice. It says that abortionists must have hospital medical staff credentials and admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinic. And it insists that the abortion providers must be equipped to provide the same medical treatments available as the many hospitals and surgery centers throughout the state.

Almost all of the Texas abortion clinics cannot meet those two requirements. Consequently, more than half of the 40 abortion clinics in the state have already closed their doors. More are expected to shut down because they are either not close enough to a hospital that has awarded their people admitting privileges, or they don’t have medical staff on hand to deal with complications arising from taking a fetus from a woman’s womb.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), an anti-abortion association of doctors frequently at odds with the American Medical Association (AMA), claimed in its amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court that more than 75 percent of abortions throughout the nation lead to a need for a surgical procedure that most abortion clinics are unable to perform. What these facilities aren’t equipped to provide are the ambulatory surgical procedures routinely performed by hospitals. Women seeking abortions at most of the clinics in Texas have heretofore placed themselves in jeopardy of untreatable complications such as uterine perforation, infection, bleeding, and more.

Speaking for the Obama administration, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli told the high court’s justices on March 2nd that the Texas law “closes most abortion facilities in the state, puts extreme pressure on the few facilities that remain open, and exponentially increases the obstacles confronting women who seek abortion.” He has thereby correctly yet ruefully summarized the effect of the law. He added that the few remaining Texas clinics still open for abortion were already overloaded and could not meet the demands of women who seek to terminate the life in their wombs.

So the Supreme Court, where laws against abortion were abolished nationwide in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, is facing a severe test. If the court rules 4 to 4, the Texas law will remain in effect and it will apply in all 50 states. Those who believe, as does this writer, that abortion is terribly wrong because it snuffs out an already created life, will be watching for the court’s decision, a ruling that seems to be Justice Anthony Kennedy’s to decide.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.