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Resources - National Level

We the People script in the Constitution

Preamble:  "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."  

At the top of the nation's organization chart is the Constitution, which lays out the structure and operation of our the Federal Government along with peoples' rights.  Below the constitution are the three branches of government:  legislative, executive, judicial.  There are checks and balances among them.  This remarkable document is always worth a read again, especially these days as it is being severely tested. 

A story goes that, upon his exit from the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin was asked what sort of government they had created.  His reply:  A Republic, if you can keep it!

Coda:  "We" have the power to discard the republic.  That includes electing a self-interested demagogue like Trump to do it for us.  He has undermined too many of our institutions.

A Seismic Shift in Power of the President - July 1, 2024

Early in 2024, the Supreme Court agreed to take the question raised by Special Counsel Jack Smith relative to the January 6.  Supreme Court acceptance of a case requires support of 5 justices;  expediting the case requires 6.  They did not expedite this of importance to the 2024 voters.  So, it was no suprise that they ruled 6-3 in support of Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity.  

Excerpts from the Majority Opinion

"Held: Under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of Presidential power entitles a former President to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority. And he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts. There is no immunity for unofficial acts. Pp. 5–43."

"It follows that an Act of Congress—either a specific one targeted at the President or a generally applicable one—may not criminalize the President’s actions within his exclusive constitutional power. Neither may the courts adjudicate a criminal prosecution that examines such Presidential actions."

"As for a President’s unofficial acts, there is no immunity. Although Presidential immunity is required for official actions to ensure that the President’s decisionmaking is not distorted by the threat of future litigation stemming from those actions, that concern does not support immunity for unofficial conduct ... The separation of powers does not bar a prosecution predicated on the President’s unofficial acts."

Much is made of the distinction between "core constitutional duties" which carry immunity, and private actions which do not.  The Court leaves the distinction in a particular case to the lower court except that they have invited appeals of lower court decisions.   They have put lower courts in the position of playing 20 Questions with the Supreme Court, thus drawing out all legal action relating in any way to the Presidency.  Already, in the first 24 hours many questions and diverse legal opinions have emerged..  For instance, a Trump attorney has stated that Trump's Twitter account is/was an official communications channel and therefore can't be used in a prosecution.  On the other hand, Ellie Honig, CNN legal expert, has opined that the infamous hypothetical of the President ordering Seal Team 6 to assassinate a person would be regarded by any "reasonable" prosecutor and judge as a prosecutable crime, a risky conclusion at present.  

The Future?

As has been obvious for many months, the responsibility for keeping Trump out of the White House will fall to the voters.  It appears that none of the cases against Trump will come to fruition before the election.

The case name, Trump v United States says it all....

Legislature:  US Congress

The US House and Senate represent districts in the states.  A link to the full MA delegation can be used to look up contact information for Representatives outside our town.

Constituents can contact their Reps or Senators about legislation or work their committees are doing (or not doing!)  Below are lists of the leaders and contact information.  

Women Reps of US House, 2019

A Record:  Women of the US House, 2019

Below are also links to Congressional leaders, as well as voting records and ideology rankings (updated 2020)  Rankings and voting records are useful in two ways:  1) evaluating candidates who are current members of Congress and 2) looking for Republicans who work across the aisle and may be receptive to our communications on issues.

Checks and Balances - A Few Examples

We are in a banner decade for witnessing checks and balances at work.  Unfortunately, many have fallen prey to the intense polarization and, the "evolution" of the Republican party.

Congress has lost some power to the executive branch with the latest Supreme Court decision, namely it cannot legislate core responsibilities of Executive Branch.  Nothing seems to have changed however wrt Congress' ability to investigate, or impeach and convict.  Impeachment is a Constitutional option granted to Congress.  In fact, Congress can impeach Supreme Court Justices, their recent "beholden to no one" attitude.

 

The Judicial Branch has a role to play investigating the Executive branch.  We praise lower courts for upholding the 2020 election, and assisting the Biden DOJ in its investigations of Trump and his violent extremists.   On the negative side, we support President Bidens scathing assessment of the 6-3 Supreme Court majority in granting extensive immunity to the President, while also curtailing Congress' right to legislate guardrails.  We also oppose actions since John Roberts joined the Court wrt voter rights, gun control, repeal of Roe, the power of government agencies to guard our environment,  to move climate change action, etc.

Two Congressional impeachments narrowly failed due to cowardice among GOP legislators.   Ironically, Senator Mitch McConnell, the co-architect of the new repressive Supreme Court, supported  his decision to oppose conviction of Donald Trump for his Jan 6 activities, stating:  "We have a legal system in this country."  He could not have been more wrong.  

The Democratic Party

The Democratic National Committee sets the national platform and it has all our favorite issues that you can read about.  Also the party leaders may be contacted, especially if you would like to make suggestions about improving our national message.  The website is liberally laced with opportunities for donating, and indeed, those high-impact messages we would like to see on TV and everywhere do cost money.  It is useful to get acquainted with both the platform and party leadership. 

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