Paying to Vote

Augustus Johnson argued in his telegram to Congress that the poll tax—a fee required to vote—was intended to prevent African Americans from voting rather than to collect revenue. The 24th Amendment prohibiting poll taxes for Federal elections was ratified in 1964. Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that state poll taxes were also unconstitutional. Here’s a 1962 telegram in favor of abolishing the poll tax from Augustus C. Johnson.

Telegram from Augustus C. Johnson in favor of abolition of the poll tax

Learn more about the “Amending America” exhibit           

With the controversy over President Trump’s immigration ban, I’ve noticed that a lot of people are arguing over whether undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights. Tomi Lahren tweeted the other day that the “hard left” lives in “a lala land where illegals have constitutional rights.” Glenn Beck has gone a little bit more extreme, saying that undocumented immigrants “do not have legal rights.” And the same point is all over Twitter.

It sounds like it makes sense. Why would the Constitution protect people who aren’t even part of the country or respecting its laws? That’d be wacky, like trusting the people to govern themselves or guaranteeing the right to say whatever you want! The problem, as you probably guessed from the sarcasm, is that undocumented immigrants do have constitutional rights. Lots of them! And this isn’t a controversial opinion, or something “the hard left” invented recently. The Supreme Court of the United States has made this point over and over again in cases like Yick Wo v. Hopkins, Wong Wing v. U.S., Plyer v. Doe and most recently in Zadvydas v. Davis. In Wong Wing, Justice Field even wrote this in his decision:

The term “person,” used in the Fifth Amendment, is broad enough to include any and every human being within the jurisdiction of the republic … This has been decided so often that the point does not require argument. [Emphasis mine]

That was in 1896. This argument was boring people 130 freaking years ago.

The Most Quoted B.S. Myth Inside The Right’s Media Bubble

The Framers [of the Constitution] were cynical about the future of democracy. They studied failed democracies like Greece and Rome. They read Demosthenes. They designed a Constitution on the assumption that democracy might well deteriorate into demagoguery, and they created these complicated systems in order to filter the will of the people from being directly expressed. So all of these new media technologies – the idea of presidents tweeting directly to the people would’ve appalled [James] Madison, who thought direct communication between representatives and the people was the main potential source of tyranny, to be avoided. All of these filtering mechanisms are being undermined by technology, by reforms over the years, by the growing populist forces that are sweeping the world, and maintaining these Madisonian values in the face of these populist forces is something that liberals and conservatives increasingly should converge around.
—  Jeffrey Rosen, President of the National Constitution Center, with Terry Gross

anonymous asked:

What part of the US constitution allows Bernie Sander's programs? Why should we have a single payer system when the VA is a single payer system and lets down our veterans?

This is the age-old argument about the limits of the Constitution.Does the Constitution grant power to government or grant rights to people? 

In this case, I would argue that it does not matter, In the preamble of the constitution it reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (x)

We establish this Constitution to promote the general Welfare, it is explicit in the text. People may argue what general Welfare means. to better understand the framing of those words at the time, let’s look at Dictionary of the English language by Samuel Johnson (1768). To place some context of timing, The constitution was written in 1787 and would be ratified by 1788 and would be put into effect by 1789, making this the dictionary closest in time-period to the Constitution.

General: the whole, in totality

Welfare: happiness, prosperity

At the time the Constitution was written, those words would have been perceived to mean to promote happiness and prosperity of the whole of the People of the United States of America. 

Do those two things not promote the prosperity of the whole, if they are given to all equally?

On the VA, Republicans have consistently cut funding to Veterans programs, including the VA.

So it seems disingenuous to call into question why the VA is failing while there is a history of lack of support. It is also interesting how you do not bring up the largest single payer healthcare system in the US, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS).

This is likely because it is difficult to find a compelling argument for your side here:

It seems to me that a single payer system is still superior, especially since the Kaiser Family foundation concluded:
  • In most local markets, providers have monopoly power. Consequently, private insurers lack the bargaining power to contain prices.
  • In most areas, two or three dominant insurers dominate the regional market, limit competition and make it extremely difficult if not impossible for new insurers to enter the marketplace and stimulate price competition.
  • Medicare Advantage, which enrolls seniors in private health plans, has failed to deliver care more efficiently than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Both the CBO and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the commission which advises congress on Medicare’s finances, have calculated that Medicare Advantage plans covering the same care as traditional Medicare cost 12 percent more
  • Karen Ignagni, who heads America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurance industry’s trade association, has admitted that private plans cannot bargain down provider costs and has asked Washington to intervene.

Even private insurers are looking for the government to step in and help them on their pricing, why not just cut the profit centers out of the deal and save that money?

- @theliberaltony


Can someone in Washington D.C. actually read the Constitution, so we can impeach President Trump already? Maybe focus on the emoluments clause…

We Can Impeach Donald Trump At Any Time

According to some people...

Responsible for the Cleveland Shooting:

-Donald Trump
-Video games
-2nd Amendment
-White people

Not Responsible:

-The Cleveland shooter

ERA for Gender Equality

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)!

ERA has been introduced in congress more times than any other proposed amendment.  If passed the ERA would have provided for legal gender equality if it had been ratified by the states.

The ERA passed Congress in 1972 by the required two-thirds vote. But amendments must also be ratified by three-quarters of the states. The ERA was quickly ratified by 35 of the 38 states needed.

As the seven-year time limit for ratification approached in 1979, Congress and President Jimmy Carter controversially extended the deadline three years. However, no additional states ratified. The ERA had been presented to Congress every year from 1923-1972, but never passed.

Fortunately, ERA inspired laws have passed to provide women with more rights and equality, but there is still some work to be done.

Photograph of President Jimmy Carter signing the resolution for extension of the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Learn more about the “Amending America” exhibit.

We know, we know – three branches of government seems like an almost comical waste of resources, but an arcane publication called the Constitution (bookmark that, it may come up again later) says that’s how many we’re supposed to have. Believe us, we checked.

Trump was understandably shocked when his travel-ban-primarily-of-Muslims-that-is-not-a-Muslim-ban was halted by a “so-called judge,” who it turns out was “so-called” because he was in fact a judge. And as a judge, he was doing his job by limiting the executive branch when he thought it was overreaching its authority.

The Trump team might have avoided this if they’d done a more thorough check than a questionnaire, but apparently the order was written basically without consulting other agencies or departments, possibly even without consulting their own Office of Legal Counsel. A helpful mnemonic we use for remembering the number of branches in our government is:

Branches of three,
Democracies are we.
Branches of one,
Are typically fucking dictatorships.

9 Hard Truths Trump Wishes He Knew Before Becoming President

See, this is why I love the ManChildTrump Kool-Aid drinkers:

Trump violated the Constitution. Hillary’s e-mails!

 Trump and his henchmen are using their own private e-mail server (exactly what they complained about Hillary doing). Hillary’s e-mails!

 Trump signed an Executive Order without knowing what provisions it contained. Hillary’s e-mails!

 Trump appointed a president from Goldman Sachs (the very company he complained about Hillary delivering speeches to) to be Secretary of the Treasury. Hillary’s e-mails!

Trump wants to make it legal for investment brokers to NOT work in the best interests of their clients. Hillary’s e-mails!

Trump’s EPA head wants to remove things that destroy our atmosphere from the list of things that destroy our atmosphere. Hillary’s e-mails!

 Yep, you Trump voters sure showed everybody else.