Media Lies About Deem & Pass

Today, we correct a major deception by the Establishment Media.

Nancy Pelosi has scheduled the final ObamaCare vote in the House for tomorrow.  She intends to sidestep the Constitutional requirement that the same bill must pass both the House and Senate before becoming law. Pelosi intends to use a legislative strategy being called “Deem and pass” or “The Slaughter Solution,” named for Louise Slaughter, Chair of the House Rules Committee.

The House will first pass a “rule,” and then vote on a bill of amendments to the version of ObamaCare passed by the Senate last Christmas Eve.  Under the rule, the Senate version will be “DEEMED” to have also passed by the House, but without a vote, if the bill of amendments passes.

“Deem and pass” clearly violates the plain language of Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution requiring a bill to pass both houses of Congress to become law. Why would Pelosi contrive such a deception?  Because:

  1. they don’t have enough votes to pass the Senate bill as written, and
  2. some members who want to vote for the Senate bill know their constituents are against it and don’t want their votes to be on the record.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Deem and Pass isn’t a brand new idea.  It has been used several times in recent years by both Republican and Democrat majorities, so nobody’s hands are clean, and Republicans who rise up in Righteous indignation, denouncing this corrupt strategy are hypocrites.

However A major lie has been reported by the Establishment media, that Deem and Pass has already been reviewed by the courts and found to be permitted by the Constitution.

Here’s an example of this erroneous reporting from the Washington Post:

The conservative case against  “Deem and Pass” is getting very complex, very fast. Yesterday, the argument was that it was flatly unconstitutional.  But it turns out that Republicans used Deem and Pass dozens of times while they were in power. So today’s furor is that Nancy Pelosi and Louise Slaughter joined Public Citizen in a [2007] lawsuit arguing that a bill that George W. Bush signed was invalid because Deem and Pass is unconstitutional. But the court ruled against Public Citizen, Pelosi and Slaughter. Deem and Pass, well, passed. And now Democrats are using it, too.

It turns out that this is yet another media manufactured myth. The Public Citizen-Pelosi-Slaughter lawsuit was not about Deem and Pass.

Both the House and the Senate had held normal, up-and-down votes on the law in question.  Public Citizen, Pelosi and Slaughter petitioned the court to nullify the law on the grounds that, due to a clerical error, the version passed by House was not identical to the version passed by the Senate, as required by the Constitution.  The Clerk of the Senate had mistakenly changed one number in several hundred pages of legislation.

The court agreed the error had occurred, but, for various reasons upheld the law anyway.  The full text of the decision is here.

Deem and Pass has not been found Constitutional by any court.  It has never been brought to a court for consideration.  Media claims that it has, are false.

The sad fact that both Republicans and Democrats have already violated the Constitution with Deem and Pass does not justify continuing to violate the Constitution, especially to enact unprecedented federal government intervention into the private life of every American.

2 Comments so far

  1. shiznaw on March 20th, 2010

    So, now the question put forth to you is whether Deem and Pass is, indeed, Constitutional.

    What do former constitutional lawyers like Obama and federal judges say about this procedure?

  2. BoomerJeff on March 20th, 2010

    As it happens there’s a piece about the Constitutionality of deem and pass in Today’s Wall Street Journal by Mike McConnell, a former federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Mr. McConnell is now a professor of Constitutional Law at Stanford University and is director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center.

    Here is the link: