Michael McConnell, a well-respected former federal appeals court judge, wrote a column a couple days ago in the Wall Street Journal contending that the “Slaughter Rule” for enacting the health care bill is unconstitutional. Tomorrow (March 20), he will have a follow-up column on the same subject in the same newspaper. Check it out. I think it’s 100% spot-on.
According to Allahpundit, “The left reacted to his [first] piece by noting that ‘deem and pass’ has been used before — which is true. But it’s not ‘deem and pass’ that’s the big problem, says MM. It’s deem, pass, and split.” Exactly! Go read McConnell’s March 20 column for details.
There’s really no question that “deem, pass, and split” is unconstitutional. The only thing that might be doubtful is whether the courts would get involved. And on this point, McConnell is very persuasive:
It is one thing for the Supreme Court to defer to Congress on questions of what Congress did, and quite another to defer to Congress on the meaning of the Constitution. Indeed, in United States v. Ballin, decided the same year as Field, the Court ruled, “The Constitution empowers each House to determine its own rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints . . . .”
So, if the House of Representatives rashly adopts this weird procedure of “deem, pass, and split” on Sunday, do not despair. Just wait a little while for the courts to send the whole thing back to the House for a second try, with instructions to follow Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution.