Comments about ‘My view: Understanding the Constitution is different than knowing it’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

Mr. Howell seems intent on packing as many falsehoods into one page as it will hold.

Mike Lee supported full funding of the government (including debt payment), but withholding funding for one program, Obamacare. Barack Obama and Harry Reid chose to shut down the government rather than work out a compromise. The president's position was "I will not negotiate."

Mike Lee proved remarkably prescient, in light of the website disaster, and the hundreds of thousands of insurance cancelations being received by people who had been told, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." Obamacare is a slow-wrecking train, with millions more cancelations to come.

Orrin Hatch had told everyone he would fight Obamacare, but did nothing except undermine those who tried. Mr. Howell now stands with the weasel caucus.

Here, UT

Here, here.


Bad is good. Good is bad. Light is dark. Dark is light. This editorial is standing on its head and has the roles reversed.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT


What a well thought out, well explained and well articulated letter.

Salt Lake City, UT

Thank you, Mr. Howell, for saying what needs to be said about our state's disastrous junior senator.

Mike Lee is the perfect example of how badly dysfunctional the Utah's GOP nominations process has become.

salt lake city, utah

Here's one of the prime problems with this and most constitutional debates. "The inspired Constitution". Once that phrase passes someone's lips you know a reasonable discussion is out the window. It doesn't matter whether you agree with the argument or not. With a document like the constitution and a changing world like ours there's always something new to consider.

Bringing God into the discussion just calcifies opinions. You can argue about what a group of men, as brilliant as they were meant and how compromises they made look in the light of modern society but when you truly believe that God was whispering in their ears..after all how could a group of men in the 1780's know what 2013 would bring..but God? Hey God knows all, therefor I'm right.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

What a bunch of nonsense! The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. A Senator takes an oath to defend that Supreme Law. Hatch ran from the battle. He hid from anyone who demanded that he stand for something. Lee was at the head of that battle. He can read. He can count. There are seventeen duties that we have authorized Congress to tax us to provide. Health care is not on that list. It is not an authorized duty of Congress; therefore, it is to be left to the States or to the People. Mr. Howell should know that if he wants to run for office again.

No one gave Congress the right to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution they are required to defend. Their job is to defend ALL of the Constitution ALL of the time. Over 90 Senators went AWOL in the heat of battle. Mr. Howell further misstated when he told us that Congress shut down the government. That shutdown was the fault of Obama and Reid and no one else. Obama and Reid drew the red line in the sand. In two months the battle recommences.

Ogden, UT

Sen. Howell, Who said:

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. ... I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

March 2006 Then Sen and always the truthful one Brack Obama.

Was he saying the U.S, should not pay its debt?

"The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for Obamacare.
The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for Obamacare. If Sen. Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run Obamacare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.
You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want".(Thomas Sowell)

Sen. Howell are you really saying we can keep our Doctor if we like him. Period

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah
What a bunch of nonsense! The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.


What a bunch of nonsense!

The ACA passed the House
The ACA passed the Senate
The ACA was signed by the President
The ACA was upheld by the Supreme Court

It IS the Law.

Mike Lee did not have the votes,
so he threatened a "shutdown if need be", and got it.
How is that "defending" the Constituion?

He TRAMPLED it, plain and simple.

I wish you'd get as wound around the axle over real Constituional rights being trampled --
such as;
shutting down the Government when you don't have the votes,
right to privacy,
Bush's Patiort Act and NSA spying on Citizens,
Bush's Offensive wars for oil based on lies,
the Citizen's United ruling,
right to assemble [Union busting],

Ironies of the day --
1. I applaud Orrin Hatch, and I didn't even vote for him. But YOU did.
2. When Mike Lee refuses to compromise, you call it standing on principle.
When Pres. Obama refuses to compromise, you call it tyranny.

Having a double standard like that is being a hypocrite.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Mike Ricahrds: Did Mr. Lee threaten to send the country into default to get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP too? If he had done so, you might have a valid point. But by only going after the one part of government provided healthcare that is directly tied to President Obama, he proved that he is only interested in being a partisan hack, not a defender of your version of the constitution..

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

I'm really tired of Tea Party propagandists spouting off on what the Constitution does or doesn't mean, as though there's a single, objective, absolute way or interpreting and applying a document meant to outline broad principles of liberty and governance.

If the Only True Patriots in this country are the ones who share your narrow interpretation of the Constitution, you're reading it wrong.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

“And, surely, the founders did not believe the budget-making power of Congress would ever be used to threaten the lawmaking power of that same Congress simply because Congress passed a law that a few lawmakers find disagreeable.”

THE key sentence in this article and the one most of the Lee supporters in this forum fail to understand. The annual appropriations process has nothing to do with the law making process and the two have never been conflated in our entire history… until 2013.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Who closed the parks and the monuments, Senator Lee or Obama? Who said that he would not sign any legislation, even when EVERYTHING was funded except the ACA that he refused to fully implement, Senator Lee or Obama? Who ignored the Constitution and decided that he would LEGISLATE by only implementing those parts of Obama that he wanted to implement, Senator Lee or Obama?

If liberals would stop defending their "hero" long enough to realize what he is doing, would Obama still be their "hero"? What other President in history has lied to us as much as Obama? He knew full well that HE and Senator Reid shut down the government, but he lied to us about his involvement. He blamed the Republicans for something that he did. He lied to us about ObamaCare. No wonder he refuses to implement that "law".

The Legislature has the authority to change the law. The President does not. His authority is to enforce the laws passed by Congress. Obama refused and still refuses to implement ObamaCare. That is both nonfeasance and malfeasance, both are misdemeanors under the Constitution. If he is so dead-set against implementing ObamaCare, why should Congress fund it?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are seventeen duties that we have authorized Congress to tax us to provide. Health care is not on that list.


Neither is the United States Air Force or Marine Corps Mike,
Only the Army and Navy is "spelled out" verbatium in Article 8:11, 12 of the Constitution YOU read,
therefore the USAF and USMC are not "Contitutional" per you.

Why don't you get on your soap box and decry those as well?
[hint: because you'd be wrong, that's why.]

Steve C. Warren

Excellent article, Mr. Howell.

I do, however, think the headline ("Understanding the Constitution is different than knowing it") is terrible. In the print edition, it's even worse: "Understanding different than knowing" Way too vague. How about: "Hatch displays statesmanship, Lee shows ignorance" Or: "Hatch acts like statesman, Lee doesn't"

By the way, it's different "from" not different "than." Check the AP Stylebook.

J Thompson

Some posters have forgotten what the Constitution contains. Congress is the only branch of government that is allowed to tax us. Only the House has the authority to initiate revenue bills. Congress is the only branch of government that is allowed to legislate. The Executive Branch is the only branch that is allowed to enforce the laws passed by Congress.

The House initiated and passed a revenue bill, as required by law. The Senate tried to initiate a different bill by removing major provisions from the House passed bill. That is not allowed under the Constitution. The Senate can amend and can confer. Removing provisions is not amending and it is not conferring.

The President cannot force Congress to raise taxes, no matter how much he is in love with his "signature legislation".

All parts of the government that were shut down had been fully funded. Obama refused to allow people to work at their assigned duties when all funds were available for their work. He shut down the government because Congress would not fund a law that he has refused to implement.

Mike Lee understands his duty. Obama does not understand his.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

In the future --

If the Republicans EVER pass a law that Democrats don't like or approve of,
It is their sworn "Constitutional duty" to withhold Federal Funding and not pass ANY budget unless they get their way ---

Am I hearing you right Mike Lee and Mike Richards?

Because IMHO --
that is treason and trampling the Constitution and harming the United States of America.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

LDS Liberal,

The DOD is not authorized by the Constitution, which is the part of government that you have told us that you work for. Do you think that the Constitution applies to all of us, or to just those who don't get a paycheck from the DOD?

I have no qualms about requiring that the Air Force once again becoming part of the Army, as it once was, nor do I have any qualms about the Marines once again becoming part of the Navy. If that happens, then the DOD must also become the "War Department" as it once was and it must be disbanded whenever we are not in a declared war.

I'm willing require that the government obey the Supreme Law. Are you? Senator Lee would support those changes. Obama would support those changes; he would support any change that reduced defense spending.

J Thompson

Can you believe that a poster used the word "treason" to describe those who uphold the Constitution and said that it is they who "trample" the Constitution. No wonder things are so upside down. A "traitor" is someone who perverts the Supreme Law of the land. Mike Lee stood for the Constitution. He knows his duty. He performed his duty. He did everything that he could do to protect this nation against enemies foreign and domestic. Harry Reid did the opposite. He assumed authority not given him. He refused to allow bills to be voted on. He supported the shutdown of the government. Obama also did the opposite. He refused to implement ObamaCare. He shut down parts of the government, claiming a lack of funding when those parts had been fully funded. He lied about who was responsible.

It there was "treason" committed, it was not by Mike Lee and it is not by those who support and uphold the Constitution, as it is written, not as the liberals wish that it had been written.

Ogden, UT

■Congress routinely enacts changes to mandatory spending programs as part of its annual appropriations process. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recognizes these changes when analyzing spending bills and scores them as CHiMPS—changes in mandatory program spending

■Congress has already defunded mandatory programs within Obamacare—and done so through appropriations measures. Section 1857 of the continuing resolution Congress enacted in April 2011 (P.L. 112-10) “permanently cancelled” $2.2 billion in mandatory funding to Obamacare’s co-op health insurance program.

■Congress has also defunded elements of health care entitlements for decades. Every year since 1976, Congress has enacted the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion. This provision, enacted as part of discretionary appropriations legislation, prohibits abortion coverage in the Medicaid entitlement program.

So never say never

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