MARCH 19, 2010
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement today in response to plans by the House of Representatives to use the so-called Slaughter Rule to “deem” the Senate health care bill passed without an actual up-or-down vote:
A constitutional crisis is upon us. The Democratic leadership’s plan to use the “Slaughter Rule” to pass the Senate health care bill without an explicit “yea or nay” vote by the House is an absolute violation of the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 7).
Indeed, the Supreme Court has held that “(1) a bill containing its exact text was approved by a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate approved precisely the same text; and (3) that text was signed into law by the President. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may ‘become a law.’” Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 448 (1998)
Simply put, the House can’t pretend to vote on a bill and expect that the result will pass constitutional muster. No House member can keep true to his oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution” and approve the use of the Slaughter Rule to avoid a direct vote on the Senate health care bill.
And the U.S. Constitution would also seem to require that President Obama veto any resulting “bill” sent to him for signature, as the document that results from any House action under the Slaughter Rule is a constitutional nullity.
But concerned Americans should not assume that the courts will uphold the Constitution and throw out any government health care takeover because of the Slaughter Rule. The best defense against the Slaughter Rule’s usurpation of the Constitution is to stop it legislatively this weekend.