Respecting Constitutional Limits; 112th Congress Can Assume the Role of Our Founders

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Byline: Rep. Paul Broun, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This oath will echo through the Capitol today as members are sworn in for the 112th Congress. The question is: Do we really mean it? Are we truly committed to abide by the U.S. Constitution as it was originally intended and explained by the Framers of our governing document in the Federalist Papers? Or are we going to continue to govern as a federal roadblock to American ingenuity, freedom and the entrepreneurial spirit?

We the people showed unequivocally in the recent election that they expect Congress to take its oath to heart. The people must demand that their representatives read, study, understand and follow the Constitution as detailed in the writings of our Founders, such as the Federalist Papers. They must insist that their members of Congress craft, evaluate and vote on legislation based on the original intent of these brilliantly inspired founding documents.

Americans will be watching for Congress to fiercely defend this country against enemies, both foreign and domestic. Our foreign enemies may be easily identified and grab national headlines, but we must remain vigilant of our domestic enemies who ignore the original intent of the Constitution. They wrap themselves in black robes and adopt roles of legislating rather than applying the Constitution. Their judicial activism is completely outside the realm of the powers granted to the judiciary by the Constitution. They must be reined in.

Additionally, Congress must cease abdicating its obligation of oversight in cases in which there is judicial overreach violating the separation of powers. Congress has developed a bad habit of pushing through legislation and allowing the courts to decide whether it is constitutional or not. In fact, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, recently dismissed the notion of Congress ensuring legislation is constitutional when he said, Whether it is constitutional or not is going to be whether the Supreme Court says it is. Federal courts should not be the only branch of government weighing the constitutional merit of each bill. …