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The Republican Passed Keystone Pipeline Bill Violates The Constitution

Republicans have made myriad claims throughout the entirety of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House that he violates the Constitution, and based on lack of validity of their claims it is simply because he is an African American man. This is evident in the simple fact that they never, never ever once, claimed any Republican white president violated the founding document for doing the exact same thing they claim is unconstitutional when President Obama does it (executive actions). However, due to the Republicans’ propensity for projection, and their recent push to approve a foreign corporation’s pipeline project, one can assume it is Republicans who are violating the Constitution; and they are.

Every one of the Koch Republicans, and their oily Democratic cohorts, who voted to approve a State Department construction permit for TransCanada to build the KeystoneXL pipeline across America’s international border with Canada are guilty of violating the Constitution’s long-standing “Separation of Powers.” This is not the first time a Republican Congress violated the Separation of Powers, but it is the first time they have attempted to subjugate the State Department and Executive Branch to the will of the Koch brothers’ Legislative Branch; something not remotely Constitutional. During George W. Bush’s presidency a Republican Congress voted to subjugate the Judicial Branch’s authority; specifically to serve two Americans. Unlike President Obama who understands the Constitution, Bush signed legislation giving Republicans purview over another branch of government’s authority.

Obviously, most Americans are completely ignorant of the constitutional Separation of Powers, but the Koch Republicans certainly should be cognizant of the concept because they did just take an oath of office and swore to their god they would “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…and bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” It is a solemn oath and obligation that they “take freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” and that they would “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” However, Republicans serve a higher power than the U.S. Constitution and if the Koch brothers demanded they violate the document they swore freely to support, then they “well and faithfully discharged the duties” of solely serving the interests of Charles and David Koch and a foreign corporation.

In case members of the Koch Congress are unaware of their duties as participants in the Legislative Branch of government, the Constitution is very succinct and clear: “Congress has authority over financial and budgetary matters, through the enumerated power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

What the legislative branch absolutely does not have any authority over, regardless the issue, are any matters regarding the Executive Branch and its agency the Department of State. In the case of passing legislation approving a Canadian corporation’s construction permit crossing America’s sovereign international border, they are attempting to seize authority the Constitution says is the purview of the State Department; no matter what Charles and David Koch say or believe. It is likely why in the Koch’s vision of America, the Department of State would be abolished and replaced by a privately-held corporation; most likely Koch Industries.

A legal expert wrote a very prescient article explaining why the Koch Congress passing “special legislation written to specifically affect the fate of a particular individual, a small group of individuals, or a company, whose name (or names) is directly mentioned in the legal text itself” is inherently unconstitutional. University of Toledo College of Law professor Evan C. Zoldan rightly asserts the “Keystone Bill” is not unlike a 2005 Republican Congress legislation “for the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo.” That was the legal dispute between Schiavo’s parents and her husband over whether she should be kept in a ‘persistent vegetative state’ with a feeding tube. That decision was the purview of, and should have been resolved by, the judiciary; not religious right Republicans or George W. Bush. In fact, Professor Zoldan noted that the law specifically “wiped away all previous legal precedent of the judiciary;” particularly because it said “Nothing in this Act shall constitute a precedent with respect to future legislation.”

In the same manner that the “Schiavo” legislation did not apply to any other Americans other than Schiavo’s parents, the Koch’s Keystone bill “will not let any other pipelines crossing international borders bypass the State Department’s permitting process.” As Zoldan noted, in the Schiavo case Republicans superseded the authority and power of the judicial branch of government, and in the KeystoneXL case Republicans are attempting to supersede and take power out of the hands of the Executive Branch. In the Keystone case it is because an African American man is the President and because Republicans’ allegiance and service is to the Koch brothers; not the American people, not America, and certainly not the United States Constitution.

In either case there is the same constitutional violation; “the illegal encroachment by one branch of government into the function of one of the other branches.” Something Professor Zoldan said “represents a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers.” A violation, by the way, that no-one is screaming about or threatening to take legal action to sue, or remove from office, Republicans over for violating their oath of office and the Constitution.

The legal expert claimed that if Republicans were somehow able to override President Obama’s KeystoneXL veto, anyone could take Congress to court for overstepping its Constitutional authority and bring the project to a screeching halt. However, it is highly likely that if a case did get to the Supreme Court, the Kochs would simply issue an edict to their conservative puppets to rule the Constitution’s Separation of Powers null and void in the same manner the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and religious right ordered the Vatican-5 to demolish the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. This Court’s conservatives have about as much use for, or fealty to, the Constitution as Republicans and the cretins have no problem violating it with impunity.

America’s government has worked relatively well over its history abiding by the Founding Fathers’  ‘checks and balances’ and Separation of Powers that prevents one branch of government from becoming all-powerful. Republicans just cannot abide not having the ultimate authority the Koch brothers demand to control this nation and if it means violating the Constitution they swore to god to uphold, the Keystone legislation proves there are no bounds the un-American malcontents will not cross.


Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion. Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn't look good. Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.

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