Letters to the Editor - April 10

April 10, 2011

Congress must begin restoring checks and balances

To the editor:

The new Congress must begin the process of restoring the national regime of constitutional checks and balances the founders gave us. To do this, it must revive the rule of law, reassert the relevance of the Constitution and affirm the bedrock belief in the reality of American exceptionalism.

Congress has been marginalized by the growing autonomy of the regulatory state, the entrenched bureaucracy. The eclipse of Congress by the executive branch and other agencies is the result of lazy legislating and lax oversight. Many laws are little more than pious sentiments endorsing social goals — environment, education, health care — the meanings of which are later defined by executive branch rule making. In passing such vague laws, Congress creates legislators in the executive branch, making a mockery of the separation of powers. The Federal Register, a compilation of the regulatory state's activities, is a more important guide to governance than the Congressional Record.

Federal courts have made clear that they will not inhibit Congress' delegation of its lawmaking function to others. Constitutionally lax courts have flinched from enforcing the doctrine of enumerated powers, and too many Congresses have enjoyed being absolved from following the doctrine. So judicial restraint must be replaced by congressional self-restraint. Congress should start examining itself, with a view to reform.

The American Revolution was about freeing individuals for the pursuit of happiness, not about the state allocating wealth and opportunity. Hence, our exceptional Constitution, which says not what government must do for Americans but what it cannot do to them.

Americans are committed to limited government because they are confident of social mobility through personal striving. And they are immune to the modern pessimism that holds that individuals are powerless to assert their autonomy against society's vast impersonal forces, so people must become wards of government, which supposedly is the be-all and end-all of society's creativity.

John Cable


Governor's statement makes me a political prisoner

To the editor:

In a recent interview with The (Baltimore) Sun, ex-Gov. Parris Glendening finally confessed that politics was behind his "Life means life" speech and stated the absolute ban on parole for all lifers.

So now I think Glendening's statement makes me a political prisoner. Why? Because I am a 67-year-old lifer with 38 years of incarceration.

I do realize the political ramifications of suddenly releasing dozens of lifers if the lifer bill is passed. No one wants a bunch of ex-murderers and ex-rapists in their neighborhood.

But I do have one solution. Why doesn't Gov. O'Malley let me — and others lifers that want to — immigrate to another country?  

Castro emptied his Cuban prisons. The United States accepted many of them, and dozens of people from Africa seeking political asylum. And there were many others from all over the world.

Cuba might not want us lifers, but I think it's worth a try to ask around. There have to be a few countries that would allow a bunch of old men to live out their retirement years in peaceful contentment.

Just think, it would be a lot cheaper to load up a few planes with lifers and be done with the yearly do-nothing politicking than to keep feeding us until we die of old age.

Ralph Raurk, No. 125977

Western Correctional Institution

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