Congressman Steve Stockman Says Senate Amnesty Bill Is Unconstitutional

Not that many elected officials actually care about that pesky Constitution thingy

(Washington Times) Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, said Friday that the Senate immigration bill is a revenue measure, which makes it unconstitutional because all revenue bills must start in the House.

“Not only is the Senate amnesty bill an abuse of taxpayers and immigrants, it’s utterly unconstitutional,” Mr. Stockman said. “The Senate cannot invent its own amnesty taxes.”

He called on House Speaker John A. Boehner to officially reject the Senate bill as unconstitutional using what’s known in Congress as the “blue slip” process, which is when the House informs the Senate that one of its bills contains taxes or spending and therefore must come from the House.

Blue slip procedures are considered privileged motions and can be brought quickly to the chamber floor for debate and a final vote.

I’d mention that Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1, but Democrats and some Republicans have amnesty on their minds and won’t be dissuaded by the ultimate legal document of our Republic.

Meanwhile, here’s Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on voting for the amnesty bill with its pesky border security portions

“It was painful to me, and not only in the sense that I believe that it’s a bad policy, as chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, I believe that it’s a bad policy regarding neighboring countries,” said Menendez in an interview with Univision, according to a transcript.

Yet, he still voted for it, since he knows that, at worst (for his side), the federal government will take some token steps to show that they are Doing Something to secure the border.

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  • Senate Amnesty Bill is Unconstitutional? | The Daley Gator (June 29, 2013)
    [...] Teach asks the question that should be asked of every bill, does it meet constitutional guidelines? Texas Congressman Steve Stockman says it does not (Washington Times) Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, said Friday that the Senate immigration [...]

4 Comments

Comment by Rob
2013-06-29 15:41:20

I just sent my Rep ( Barton ) an email encouraging him to stand with Stockman on this. This “blue slip” is an excellent way to stand on principle and not get sucked into the argument the media and Dem’s have laid out on reform.

Blue Slip it… then slow walk any initiative in the House till after the election in 2014. No reason to act on this AT ALL.

 
Comment by William Teach
2013-06-29 22:28:58

Good idea, Rob. Wish I could do that, mine’s a Dem

 
Comment by Andy
2013-06-30 23:50:07

Steve Stockman is correct that the amnesty bill is unconstitutional, but he failed to mention other ways it is unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional because the amnesty bill purports to forgive criminal acts or pardon them of there crimes. The power to pardon crimes is a power congress does not possess and cannot exercise.

In addition it is unconstitutional because it retroactively changes the consequences of illegal aliens actions that occurred before the enactment of the law. This is what is known as an ex post facto law which congress is prohibited from passing by clause 3 of article 1, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2013-07-01 01:17:11

It is unconstitutional because the amnesty bill purports to forgive criminal acts or pardon them of there crimes.

I don’t think it does. Entering the country or being here illegally is a civil issue – not criminal. Civil penalties may be reduced at the changing of the law which is within the purview of Congress.

This is what is known as an ex post facto law

Sorry, but this is incorrect. By definition, an “ex post facto” law is one that changes an action that was legal at the time to an illegal act. For example, if one seen walking on a lawn and later Congress or any legislative body changed the law so that walking on the lawn was now illegal, the person could not be arrested and charged for walking on the long previously.

Any legislative body can reduce the penalty for an act, but they cannot increase the penalty.

A good example of this is Charles Manson. Manson was originally sentenced to death. When the California legislature deemed the death penalty too harsh (supported by California Supreme Court ruling) Manson’s sentence was commuted to life in prison. When the California legislature revisited the death penalty and re-instated it, Manson’s sentence could not be increased to the death penalty. A sentence can be decreased, but never increased.

However, that really doesn’t matter in what you are saying because the Bill did not purport to make a legal act illegal at some later time. That is the definition of “ex post facto” law, not what you believe it to be.

 

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