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Does the "Nebraska Compromise" violate the US cons





deanhills
What do you think? Does the "Nebraska Compromise" that was brokered by the Democrats in order to win Sen. Ben Nelson's vote for the Federal health care reform bill violate the Constitution of the United States? The Nebraska compromise permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that all other 49 states must pay. Top Republican prosecutors in seven states (South Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, Texas and Washington state) are probing the constitutionality of the political deal.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_health_care_deal_states
jwellsy
Is it treasonous to not even answer the question before pushing it through?
liljp617
Has any major piece of legislation in the last 200 years really been constitutional?
Nick2008
What part of the constitution does it violate? Does the constitution say that all states are supposed to be treated equally? As far as my concern goes, never have all the states been treated equally to each other.

But I do find myself scratching my head of why Nebraska is exempt from this bill, with no reason/evidence for their exemption.

jwellsy wrote:

Is it treasonous to not even answer the question before pushing it through?


That's the way government works.
wombatrpgs
Is this supposed to make any sense...? At least provide any reason why this thing would be unconstitutional. There's a difference between unconstitutional and unfair. (And I'm not sure if it was unintentional, but the way you posted it makes it seem you've already made up your mind)
ocalhoun
Nick2008 wrote:

But I do find myself scratching my head of why Nebraska is exempt from this bill, with no reason/evidence for their exemption.

Because their politician had the crucial 60th vote... And realized he could use it to demand anything he wanted from the rest, who were desperate to push through something labeled 'health care reform'.

The surprising thing is that we don't have 60 such deals, as each one realized that he could demand whatever ransom he wanted...
deanhills
If not unconstitutional I would say it in the very least has a whiff of corruption to me in the form of bribery. Daylight bribery at that. Is bribery constitutional?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
If not unconstitutional I would say it in the very least has a whiff of corruption to me in the form of bribery. Daylight bribery at that. Is bribery constitutional?

Illegal, yes, but I don't think the constitution was thoughtful enough to ban it.

If you're looking for a way for the legislation to be rejected by the courts, you have a better chance in the limitation of federal powers written in the constitution. (Though there's a thousand other laws the courts should probably repeal if they decide to start paying attention to that little clause in the constitution!)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
If you're looking for a way for the legislation to be rejected by the courts, you have a better chance in the limitation of federal powers written in the constitution. (Though there's a thousand other laws the courts should probably repeal if they decide to start paying attention to that little clause in the constitution!)
I sincerely hope this case will go to the courts. Just sounds horribly wrong to me. It would have been OK if Nebraska had got the deal in a different setting and circumstances, but this is obviously a bribe in that the vote is so crucial to push something through that has not got the majority of support of the people. If it should succeed without interference of legislation or at least clear evidence of showing it as wrongful, it would be very disappointing.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
If you're looking for a way for the legislation to be rejected by the courts, you have a better chance in the limitation of federal powers written in the constitution. (Though there's a thousand other laws the courts should probably repeal if they decide to start paying attention to that little clause in the constitution!)
I sincerely hope this case will go to the courts. Just sounds horribly wrong to me. It would have been OK if Nebraska had got the deal in a different setting and circumstances, but this is obviously a bribe in that the vote is so crucial to push something through that has not got the majority of support of the people. If it should succeed without interference of legislation or at least clear evidence of showing it as wrongful, it would be very disappointing.

At best, you could prosecute the people involved, but it wouldn't repeal the legislation, just punish the wrongdoers.
Alaskacameradude
ocalhoun wrote:
Nick2008 wrote:

But I do find myself scratching my head of why Nebraska is exempt from this bill, with no reason/evidence for their exemption.

Because their politician had the crucial 60th vote... And realized he could use it to demand anything he wanted from the rest, who were desperate to push through something labeled 'health care reform'.

The surprising thing is that we don't have 60 such deals, as each one realized that he could demand whatever ransom he wanted...


Ya, isn't that the truth.....I am surprised there weren't MORE deals like this too, it's the way
politics works. It's a dirty game, and I have seen much of it firsthand when I used to cover politics
for a TV station here....(google Alaska political corruption or FBI investigates Alaska lawmakers
for more on that....) It happens all over, and it freaking stinks to high heaven. And for the
record, this is NOT a partisan attack on Dems or Repubs.....they both do it and it stinks equally bad.
deanhills
Alaskacameradude wrote:
Ya, isn't that the truth.....I am surprised there weren't MORE deals like this too, it's the way
politics works. It's a dirty game, and I have seen much of it firsthand when I used to cover politics
for a TV station here....(google Alaska political corruption or FBI investigates Alaska lawmakers
for more on that....) It happens all over, and it freaking stinks to high heaven. And for the
record, this is NOT a partisan attack on Dems or Repubs.....they both do it and it stinks equally bad.
But isn't that daylight bribery and corruption though? Do you think someone can make a legal case out of it?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
But isn't that daylight bribery and corruption though? Do you think someone can make a legal case out of it?

Sure a legal case could be made about it... but in practice, politicians tend to be 'above the law'.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Sure a legal case could be made about it... but in practice, politicians tend to be 'above the law'.
Well, even if it is just to capitalize on it politically, I hope the seven Republican States will stick with their resolve to make it into a legal case. But perhaps that is negotiable too, you're right, not only are they "above the law", but one can never trust what they are doing anyway, especially when they say they are going to do something.
Alaskacameradude
Quote:
But isn't that daylight bribery and corruption though? Do you think someone can make a legal case out of it?




One can only hope so. There is going to actually be a case before the US Supreme Court involving
one of the Alaska politicians. Basically, what it boils down to is this. Prosecution lawyers
could NOT prove an Alaskan lawmaker accepted money, but do know he was hoping for a
job with an oil services company. They contend, that means that he probably voted in
favor of lower taxes on 'big oil' and thus deprived the citizens of Alaska of his 'honest
services'.

The 'honest services fraud' statute dates back to 1988 when it was adopted by the US congress
The law governing such fraud is often used in the cases of public officials where federal prosecutors can't prove they accepted bribes -- but where they have enough evidence to show that those officials took freebies such as tickets or jobs.

The statute is based on the idea that people are entitled to the honest services of elected officials and executives in charge of big companies. But it often has very liberal applications, said Shana Regon, director of white collar crime policy at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which filed a friend of the court brief in the case.

"The statute is 28 words, and no one knows what it means," Regon said.

This is taken from this story:

http://www.adn.com/2589/story/1043595.html

Anyways, this 'honest services fraud' statute, is apparently used by the prosecution of public
officials when there is not as much evidence. In this particular case of Bruce Weyhrauch,
he never actually TOOK a job with the company, it was that he was LOOKING INTO
trying to get work with the company that triggered the use of the 'honest services fraud'
statute.
AftershockVibe
deanhills wrote:
But isn't that daylight bribery and corruption though? Do you think someone can make a legal case out of it?


In this case there is no technical difference between diplomacy and so-called "bribery". In fact, there's no real difference between those and trade either... it's all just bartering.

Bribery would be if the Senator gained personally and apparently that is not the case. Arguably, he is a better senator than the others, having gotten the best deal for his state and the people he represents.

You can call it immoral or say that it's bad for the USA as a whole, but it is not bribery in a legal sense or a bad deal for Nebraska.
deanhills
AftershockVibe wrote:
Bribery would be if the Senator gained personally and apparently that is not the case. Arguably, he is a better senator than the others, having gotten the best deal for his state and the people he represents.
My focus was much more on the Government being the briber and corruptor than the Senator who got the good deal. In order to get the Senator's vote Government bribed and corrupted with a settlement that is probably valued in billions that have to be carried by the other States. I would have thought something like that would have to be voted on before it is approved as a deal or does the Nation have no say in that? Shouldn't the legislation be sent back to Congress to approve that deal first?
Moonspider
Nick2008 wrote:
What part of the constitution does it violate? Does the constitution say that all states are supposed to be treated equally? As far as my concern goes, never have all the states been treated equally to each other.

But I do find myself scratching my head of why Nebraska is exempt from this bill, with no reason/evidence for their exemption.


It may violate the 14th Amendment, which in general guarantees equal treatment for all citizens. (It's one of three "Reconstruction" amendments passed after the War Between the States, the other two being the 13th and 15th.) The argument is that Nebraskans are being treated differently under the law (not having to pay their Medicare costs) than the other states, if this part of the Senate bill becomes law.

I'm well versed in the U.S. constitution but I'm no legal expert. I think the argument that it violates the 14th Amendment is a stretch. At best it violates the spirit of the law, but it does not violate the letter of the law IMO. The amendment doesn't even address federal laws, just state laws.

Federal law routinely treats states differently. If the Supreme Court decides this "Nebraska Compromise" is unconstitutional, the ramifications will go far beyond the health care debate.

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
I'm well versed in the U.S. constitution but I'm no legal expert.
What about the fact that once Congress had approved the reform legislation and it was sent to the Senate, that so much of the legislation that had been sent to the Senate got amended in the Senate? Including the deal with Nebraska? Shouldn't the deal be sent back to Congress to be approved by Congress first, as in essence the deal was not approved by Congress?
Moonspider
deanhills wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
I'm well versed in the U.S. constitution but I'm no legal expert.
What about the fact that once Congress had approved the reform legislation and it was sent to the Senate, that so much of the legislation that had been sent to the Senate got amended in the Senate? Including the deal with Nebraska? Shouldn't the deal be sent back to Congress to be approved by Congress first, as in essence the deal was not approved by Congress?


Yes. The Senate bill and the House bill now have to go to a conference committee where they will try to reconcile the differences between the two. The House and Senate then have to approve the report the committee produces detailing the compromise.

The House and the Senate have to approve identical bills before it goes to the President for signature into law.

I predict that the Democrats will succeed and pass some form of "health reform" bill before March.

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
I predict that the Democrats will succeed and pass some form of "health reform" bill before March.
If one considers all the energy and effort in terms of marketing, Websites, blogs, press conferences, speeches, lobbying etc that have been expended for the Health Care Bill, not only on the part of Obama, but members of Congress and the Senate, politicians, media, and how much all of that effort represents in dollars, not only in its own right, but the time that was taken away from other burning issues in the United States such as the economy, I wonder how many billions of dollars have been spent on this effort, and whether it has been worth it, as well as who the real beneficiaries would be in ranking order if it should come to be passed by March.
jwellsy
This should be raising red flags about unfunded mandates. If a low population state is being excused a $100 million every year in unfunded mandates what is the unfunded mandate total for the whole bill? How are the large states like California supposed to pay it without federal aid. The whole thing is a house of cards based on lies.
deanhills
jwellsy wrote:
This should be raising red flags about unfunded mandates. If a low population state is being excused a $100 million every year in unfunded mandates what is the unfunded mandate total for the whole bill? How are the large states like California supposed to pay it without federal aid. The whole thing is a house of cards based on lies.
Right! Daylight corruption hidden by reams of paper. I still can't get over it that something like that can be added to legislation without having been debated and voted on the Congress level, in advance of it being offered as a deal. Another example of a plutarchy instead of a democracy?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
jwellsy wrote:
This should be raising red flags about unfunded mandates. If a low population state is being excused a $100 million every year in unfunded mandates what is the unfunded mandate total for the whole bill? How are the large states like California supposed to pay it without federal aid. The whole thing is a house of cards based on lies.
Right! Daylight corruption hidden by reams of paper. I still can't get over it that something like that can be added to legislation without having been debated and voted on the Congress level, in advance of it being offered as a deal. Another example of a plutarchy instead of a democracy?

Oh, I'm sure it was 'debated'... Only it didn't take long.
The Democrats wanted it, because they needed that 60th vote. The Republicans were surely against it, but nobody cared, because they were against the whole bill anyway.
jwellsy
Debated? The thing hasn't even been written. They have only batted conceptual language around. The devil will be in the details, and there's going to be hell to pay.
deanhills
jwellsy wrote:
Debated? The thing hasn't even been written.
Exactly. Surely there should be Legislation in its own right that allows special privileges like Nebraska received, and it should not be granted as part of a deal that gets other legislation to be voted in, especially when it is "touch and go". It should be dealt with on its own merit. Being part of another deal is very much bribery.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Being part of another deal is very much bribery.

Better known in Washington circles as 'pork'... (Though usually it comes in the form of special spending projects, not exemptions.)

It is a very old tradition, and while it is wasteful, it isn't the biggest problem we face.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
It is a very old tradition, and while it is wasteful, it isn't the biggest problem we face.
You mean billions are pretty much relative to trillions? Yet if one looks at it, the moral of it is the same? If people can look sideways when something like this happens, then pretty much anything should be game?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
It is a very old tradition, and while it is wasteful, it isn't the biggest problem we face.
You mean billions are pretty much relative to trillions? Yet if one looks at it, the moral of it is the same? If people can look sideways when something like this happens, then pretty much anything should be game?

Well, this was an unusually big piece of pork, put in to pass an unusually desperate bill...
Normally pork costs run into the millions... and rare is the bill that passes without some in it.

Popular bills get it added in for a different reason... because nobody will vote against it just because of the pork. Whoever votes against a popular, though pork-filled, bill can be demonized by the opposition... especially those who put the pork in to begin with.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
It is a very old tradition, and while it is wasteful, it isn't the biggest problem we face.
You mean billions are pretty much relative to trillions? Yet if one looks at it, the moral of it is the same? If people can look sideways when something like this happens, then pretty much anything should be game?

Well, this was an unusually big piece of pork, put in to pass an unusually desperate bill...
Normally pork costs run into the millions... and rare is the bill that passes without some in it.

Popular bills get it added in for a different reason... because nobody will vote against it just because of the pork. Whoever votes against a popular, though pork-filled, bill can be demonized by the opposition... especially those who put the pork in to begin with.
I thought most of the Republicans were against it? And that those who voted against it are thinking of putting a case for the deal having been unconstitutional? Or do you think that was just posturing?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I thought most of the Republicans were against it? And that those who voted against it are thinking of putting a case for the deal having been unconstitutional? Or do you think that was just posturing?

At some level, everything -- absolutely everything -- in Washington is just posturing.

They might actually believe (and care) that it is unconstitutional, they might not. Either way, they'll bring up that objection in the interest of posturing.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I thought most of the Republicans were against it? And that those who voted against it are thinking of putting a case for the deal having been unconstitutional? Or do you think that was just posturing?

At some level, everything -- absolutely everything -- in Washington is just posturing.

They might actually believe (and care) that it is unconstitutional, they might not. Either way, they'll bring up that objection in the interest of posturing.
I would be totally impressed if it should be made into a court case. I think it is high time that there should be a few court cases on the constitution of the United States. So much of what is going on with the Federal Government is the equivalent of interference in the affairs of the States. At least a few of them should stand up and argue about aspects such as making deals like these.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
So much of what is going on with the Federal Government is the equivalent of interference in the affairs of the States. At least a few of them should stand up and argue about aspects such as making deals like these.

Some states are taking matters into their own hands, and demanding states' rights. Montana (I think) is the one that made all firearms transactions within the state exempt from federal laws... There are a few others practicing 'civil disobedience' on other issues. Hopefully, one of those will come to a court case, where it might finally work out to the supreme court ruling that the federal laws unconstitutionally trample states' rights.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
So much of what is going on with the Federal Government is the equivalent of interference in the affairs of the States. At least a few of them should stand up and argue about aspects such as making deals like these.

Some states are taking matters into their own hands, and demanding states' rights. Montana (I think) is the one that made all firearms transactions within the state exempt from federal laws... There are a few others practicing 'civil disobedience' on other issues. Hopefully, one of those will come to a court case, where it might finally work out to the supreme court ruling that the federal laws unconstitutionally trample states' rights.
That is really good news. Looks as though Nebraska has also managed something for themselves too, in a rather unorthodox deal with the Federal Government, just to get their vote! Smile
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