Elizabeth A. Lehnerer photo U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) discussed the Constitution and his job in Congress with students at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Collinsville on Monday.
Well, so much for an ignorance defense. If only the kiddies who were subjected to his contrived expertise in the Constitution knew the apparent contempt he held for that parchment profundity of political power.
I was fortunate enough to attend a Collinsville Economic Development breakfast a year or so ago where Mr. Shimkus was the guest speaker. At the time, Illinois was embroiled in debate over the bestowment of being a “judicial hellhole” and profusely hemorrhaging physicians due to skyrocketing malpractice premiums to cover outrageous jury awards.
So, Mr. Shimkus felt it his apparent duty to work with Mr. Bush and the other tort-chasing-lawyer-hating Republicans in pushing tort reform in order to usurp the power of juries to award damages to plaintiffs. Now granted, not all jury awards carry the presumption of being well-reasoned and fair, but the state legislature bears the primary responsibility for effecting change in civil law, not the federal government.
I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Shimkus a question at the breakfast and I pulled no punches and did my best to leave no out for an evasive answer or political platitude. I was partially successful. My question was this, where in the Constitution does the federal government find the power to intervene in a state issue, involving the power of juries to award damages, and arbitrarily set caps on compensation for damages? Because, if it acts on such power, the power must be plenary if not defined or limited in the Constitution, and if plenary, what is to stop them from later stepping to save the automotive insurance industry by limiting the amount of damages when manufacturers sell knowingly defective vehicles that result in death or injury?
Mr. Shimkus thought for a few seconds before proffering his answer and stated in eloquent political fashion that the power did not exist in the Constitution but doggone it, Illinois needs doctors so he was going to do what was necessary in order to achieve that end and if the voters find his actions distasteful then they would speak through the polls. Of course, I am paraphrasing, but doing so very accurately. Basically, the Constitution be damned, I’m going to do it anyway because the court of public opinion will carry more weight than the Supreme Court.
Now, I’m certain Mr. Shimkus knew that he had no authority to involve himself in tort reform, as well as the federal government having no authority as well. To me, he looked visibly uncomfortable with the question, knowing full well how he had to dissemble in his answer to save face. He relied upon the ignorance of the small crowd and their kowtowing adulation. Way to go Mr. Shimkus.
So now, Mr. Shimkus is gallivanting around the elementary schools educating children about the Constitution. In the story, he tells the children to look to the Constitution for answers about government. Allow me to correct that statement. Children, do not look to the Constitution. The government has all but forgotten it. Do not claim Constitutional rights. Do not claim civil rights. Do not claim to have civil liberties. Do not petition the corrupt and co-opted courts for redress. Instead, look to the Declaration of Independence. Your rights are antecedent to the formation of any government. Your rights do not derive from any earthly source. Government is a tool designed to securing our freedom and guarding your liberty. It has failed. The Constitution defined that tool. The tool no longer works. It is a rusty, worn, ineffective relic designed for a job that has been neglected; and now our republic lies in a sad state of disrepair. There is a saying, “chose the right tool for the right job”. The job is reclaiming our freedoms and reducing government to that limited and specific trustee of our power in securing liberty. The proper tool now is revolution through evolution of thought. Exercise first the mind. If the foe proves too resistant, exercise the trigger finger.
Mr. Shimkus, you may fool some of the kiddies some of the time, but God help you should they wake from their slumber. I hope to be one to shake their eyes wide open.