“Why do Republicans want to be the Stupid Party?” This is the million dollar question, and it was also a blurb for an op-ed by Maureen Dowd in a New York Times e-newsletter. Richard Hofstadter’s Pulitzer-prize winning book, ‘Anti-Intellectualism in American Life‘, published in 1963, reveals that the question has been around for a while. But whether it is the denial of science, the proliferation of irrational fears, or the distortion of truth beyond recognition, it does seem that ignorance is getting more attention than it deserves in this Congress.
HR 973 is just another example of this disturbing stupidity. It aims to keep our American Constitution from being ‘Sharia-ized’.
‘To amend title 28, United States Code, to prevent the misuse of foreign law in Federal courts, and for other purposes’
Since it was the first bill to be sponsored by Sandy Adams, a first term Congresswoman, and because Adam Hasner, Florida’s GOP Senate race hopeful, is a vocal crusader against the supposed threat of Sharia law in the U.S, I thought I would check it out.
I’ve lived in New Smyrna Beach for over three years and have yet to meet anyone concerned by Shariah law, so I decided to do a little groundwork and question friends, neighbors and other folks around town. I asked people at the library and at the local WalMart. I asked at the grocery store and at restaurants. I even asked people walking on the beach.
And while this was hardly a scientific inquiry, what I did find is that the people of New Smyrna Beach are afraid of sharks and hurricanes and foreclosures, concerned about the rising costs of food and health care and gas, but do not feel threatened by a magical introduction of Shariah law in American courts.
But this is beach town, USA, and perhaps our pursuits are too trivial. After all there are five other Congressmen in Florida who co-sponsored this bill: Rep Young, C.W. Bill [FL-10], Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16], Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12], Rep Posey, Bill [FL-15], and Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1].
And the Save America Foundation tells us that the facts show we need the bill: “So, the facts are the facts: some judges are already making decisions deferring to Shariah law – even when those decisions conflict with Constitutional protections!” Are they?
And Congresswoman Adams’ press release of March 9th states, “Over the years, Supreme Court justices have interjected international law into their rulings, creating precedent for national sovereignty and our Constitution.” Have they?
So I looked to the experts for answers and for facts. What would Lexis-Nexis say?
Politifact searched online and in the Lexis-Nexis database for evidence of a claim that courts are using Shariah law in any shape or form. They found nothing but unsubstantiated claims and speculation.
What does our Constitution say?
The Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution makes the Constitution and the laws of the United States “the supreme law of the land.” (Article VI, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, known as Supremacy of National Law)
In the pocket-sized Constitution that I picked up at a Sandy Adams’ town hall in Port Orange, Article VI. is on page 15 and reads:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
I recently attended a town hall in Plantation, Florida held by another Florida Congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There were no props, no charts and no talk about Shariah law, but there were a lot of useful facts. The Congresswoman explained how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would completely close the Donut Hole gap in 9 years saving the average senior up to $3,000 in drug costs. This year, beneficiaries are saving 50 percent on brand name prescription drugs – roughly $700 a year in savings – paid for by the drug manufacturers, not the taxpayer. She explained how seniors could now receive preventive screenings without co pays and why this would result in longer and healthier lives for seniors. Wasserman Schultz went on to explain how the Paul Ryan plan would “yank the safety net out from under seniors” and, according to the CBO would double seniors’ healthcare costs in 10 years. She spoke of the need for seniors to have ‘certainty’ in their health care costs and not be at the mercy of the merciless private health care industry.
She spoke of The Health and Human Services recently released data showing that 900,000 Americans have benefited from the 50 percent discount on prescription drugs and 17 million Americans have already received free preventive services. The savings for Medicare beneficiaries this year alone totals $461 million, including more than $200 million from donut hole savings just in June. HHS also announced that Medicare beneficiaries will pay $30 for the average prescription drug plan premium in 2012, a decrease from 2011.
In Florida the minimum wage remains considerably lower than the living wage, childhood food insecurity and child poverty are over 20% and health care is beyond the reach of a growing number of service industry workers and even middle class Americans. America’s job creators are visiting their plants in China and elsewhere while over 50,000 of us stay home and die in a single year because we don’t have health care insurance. And the party of ‘Apple Pie & Let’em Die’ remains stuck on tax cuts for the wealthy and Shariah law.
When Maureen Dowd writes, “The occupational hazard of democracy is know-nothing voters. It shouldn’t be know-nothing candidates.” we should pay close attention.