On Slaughtering The Constitution

Much has been written with reference to the Slaughter solution for the current health care legislation impasse. However, I’ve not seen a clearer argument against this solution than the following from Michael W. McConnell. I’m linking you to the write up in PowerLine because the article is behind the paywall at the WSJ.

Here is the key piece:

[]The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form. As the Supreme Court wrote in Clinton v. City of New York (1998), a bill containing the “exact text” must be approved by one house; the other house must approve “precisely the same text.”

These constitutional rules set forth in Article I are not mere exercises in formalism. They ensure the democratic accountability of our representatives. Under Section 7, no bill can become law unless it is put up for public vote by both houses of Congress, and under Section 5 “the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question . . . shall be entered on the Journal.” These requirements enable the people to evaluate whether their representatives are promoting their interests and the public good. Democratic leaders have not announced whether they will pursue the Slaughter solution. But the very purpose of it is to enable members of the House to vote for something without appearing to do so. The Constitution was drafted to prevent that.[]

Imagine that. The Constitution was drafted to prevent trickery from occurring at the very highest levels of government. Here is hoping and praying that a sufficient number of legislators will understand that what they are attempting via the Slaughter solution is patently un-Constitutional.