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View Diary: ALERT: GOP Bill to Suspend Laws IS MOVING! (211 comments)

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  •  My letter to my rep and senators (none)
    Greetings. I'm writing to alert you to an outrageously unconstitutional section of the "Real ID Act" (H.R. 418), and to ask you to speak out against it in the media and upon the [House/Senate] floor. I'm referring to Sec. 102 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c109:1:./temp/~c109a3eEfu:e8964: ), which purports to give the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to "waive...* all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion *, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section," (emphasis added), and to deprive all courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to his exercise of this authority.

    Basically, sec. 102 grants the power of a king to the Secretary of Homeland Security: the authority to ignore any law that he, in his "sole discretion", deems necessary to ignore, and the authority to do so without any judicial review.

    Whatever the merits of the "barriers at borders" that sec. 102 purports to be herding to completion, neither they, nor any other purpose under the sun, are worth compromising the constitutional principles upon which America is founded. And high among those principles is the concept that the concentration of more than one of the legislative, executive, or judicial powers in any single person or department is hazardous to Liberty. As Jefferson wrote about the Virginia legislature in Notes on the State of Virginia:

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    All the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judiciary, result to the legislative body. * The concentrating these in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. * It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. 173 despots would surely be as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on the republic of Venice. As little will it avail us that they are chosen by ourselves. An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. For this reason that convention, which passed the ordinance of government, laid its foundation on this basis, * that the legislative, executive and judiciary departments should be separate and distinct, so that no person should exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time *.
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    http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JefVirg.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/t exts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all (emphasis added).

    I ask you, therefore, to obstruct this immoderate and unconstitutional concentration of power in the hands of the Secretary of Homeland Security, and thus to preserve Liberty against this latest assault.

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