Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Court precedent and healthcare law

To the editor:

I would like to share a few quotes from the majority opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down two pieces of "New Deal" legislation in 1935. These quotes could have a direct bearing on the upcoming decisions on national healthcare.

The first comes from Schechter Poultry Corp. vs. United States (295 U.S. 495; 1935) striking down the "National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA):

"Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the President to exercise an unfettered discretion to make whatever laws he thinks may needed or advisable."

The second set of quotes comes from the invalidation of the "Agricultural Adjustment Act" which taxed cotton processors to subsidize cotton producers (297 U.S.; 1935):

"A tax, in the general understanding of the term, and as used in the Constitution, signifies an exaction for the support of the Government. The word has never been thought to connote the expropriation of money from one group for the benefit of another."

"The law, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan. They are but means to an unconstitutional end."

"From the accepted doctrine that the government of delegated powers, it follows that those not expressly granted or reasonably to be implied from such as are conferred are reserved to the States or to the people. To forestall any suggestion to the contrary, the Tenth Amendment was adopted. The same proposition, otherwise stated, is that powers not granted are prohibited."

"It is an established principle that the attainment of a prohibited end may not be accomplished under the prextext of the exertion of powers which are granted... these principles are as applicable to the power to lay taxes as to any other federal power..."

"If the plan were one for purely voluntary cooperation it would stand no better so far as federal power is concerned, at best, it is a scheme for purchasing with federal funds submission to federal regulation of a subject reserved to the States."

"The congress cannot invade State jurisdiction to compel individual action; nor can it purchase such action."

Al Aschenbrenner

Baker City

On forest use, show 'quiet solidarity'

To the editor:

There is a public meeting tonight in La Grande regarding the W-W Forest TMP and many folks are hot under the collar, each one of us having our own opinions on these local lands that we love.

I received an email warning from a friend in Mount Vernon that attended a similar meeting in John Day. She mentions "the F.S. supervisor said he would answer questions after he was done speaking, but after he gave his spiel, he walked off the mic and refused to answer any question, instead referring them to the F.S. people scattered around the room."

Here is my idea: Instead of protesting loudly or behaving rudely, everyone can practice what I'll name as "quiet solidarity."

If all the folks in attendance at the meeting that is biting his/her tongue listening to untruths and fidgeting in their seat, wanting to blurt out, instead just raise your hand. Look around the room at your family and neighbors, they'll be looking back at you and raising their hand too, but everyone will still be biting their tongue. It still gives everyone an opportunity to speak at the same time.

This quiet solidarity protest will not go unnoticed and no one will get thrown out for unruly behavior. And hopefully, at some point, the Forest Service speakers will realize how many American citizens really have something to say about all this, all in peaceful moments of quiet solidarity. And when they see this many quiet protests to their words and decisions, maybe they'll speak less and listen more. They sure won't have the excuse to close the meeting due to unruly behavior and a mad crowd.

Example: If they mention elk and deer don't go within one mile of a road, everyone who knows different, just quietly raises their hand, notices the other supporters of their idea raising their hand as well and get some peace of knowing you've just voiced your heartfelt opinion with our speaking a word. When the meeting leaders begin to see this quiet protest, they might be flabbergasted and get a different view, one could only hope.

James Wood