Mike Lee Eats Babies

They say dance with the one that brung ya, and if Mike Lee Model #710604 is the clone finally able to break through to national prominence (third-string network correspondents don’t count), we feel obligated to support the team.

But damn if he isn’t being a fucking idiot about it. Just look at this headline from ThinkProgress:

Sen. Mike Lee Calls Child Labor Laws Unconstitutional

Granted, it’s no Blood Libel, but it looks at first like a fine play by a Frosh Asshole coming off the bench, bringing to mind such delightful Dickensian follow-ups as Mike Lee Advocates Indentured Chimney-Sweeping for Kids, Mike Lee Calls for Harvesting Fuel from Baby Fat, and Mike Lee Sells His Children for Medical Experiments.

And then you listen to the source of his pronouncement — a YouTube lecture — and he fucking blows it.

No, we don’t mean all the Child Labor is Bad chatter before he pulls an obscure (and later overturned) Supreme Court decision out of his butt. Plausible deniability, dontcha know. Instead, the problem is that the decision doesn’t even prove what he says it does.

Fucking rookie. Bachmann would never say something so easily undermined by a mere fact-check.

So here’s the setup, in which Mike Lee plays to the Tenther crowd:

“Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law: No more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that, and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting: that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned — that’s something that has to be done by state legislators, not by members of Congress.”

Damn Congress, trampling on the rights of God-fearing Americans to make kids shovel coal for fourteen hours a day.

Only that’s not quite what it did.

Instead, invoking its Constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, Congress decreed that you can’t sell the product of child labor in another state.

In what Harlan Stone would later call his “now classic dissent” — in a 5-4 decision — Oliver Wendell Holmes explained the difference:

If an act is within the powers specifically conferred upon Congress, it seems to me that it is not made any less constitutional because of the indirect effects that it may have, however obvious it may be that it will have those effects, and that we are not at liberty upon such grounds to hold it void.

And Stone, overturning the decision in 1941 with a unanimous court, wrote that “Hammer v. Dagenhart was a departure from the principles which have prevailed in the interpretation of the Commerce Clause both before and since the decision.”

So Mike Lee, trying to score some Butch Cred with the teabaggers, ends up soiling himself on the fundamentals of Constitutional jurisprudence.

We really need to double-check QA at the clone manufacturing plant. Did somebody lose a Sigma in the latest budget cuts?

Sen. Mike Lee Calls Child Labor Laws Unconstitutional [ThinkProgress]

Hammer v. Dagenhardt [Google]


Mike Lee. I wish I could quit you.

Well, you first Mike Lee.

Send your kids to work in the wonderfully safe coal mines of Utah and then we’ll talk.

As you consider Heidi
for a possible mascot role, please be aware there is a Heidi Scandal brewing.

The case in 1941 doesn’t count in teabaggerland, since by then there were too many “progressives” on the court. See also “precedent-shattering opinions are only judicial activism if we don’t like them”, etc.

its going to be an interesting session.

Isn’t the very status of the supreme court as it operates today something undreamt of by those who drew up the constitution?

@Benedick: High school civics survivors, open your textbooks to Marbury v. Madison.

@Benedick: Yes. Nojo nailed the citation above. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says that the Supremes get to tell Congress that something is unconstitutional and strike it down. The Supremes made that up in 1803 and most people were, like, whatevs, and so here we are. In summary.

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