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Thursday, April 22, 2004


That makes two times in the last month that I've agreed with Pelosi; she was right on fighting expensing employee stock options when issued, too.

I'm of two minds on stock option treatment. Truthfully their are plausible arguments from a theoretical standpoint to support either side. The one thing I'm sure of is that Congress shouldn't be involved.

During the original crafting of the Constitution of the United States, distrust and tension between the large states (large in population) and small states threatened to sink the whole project. One essential element of the acceptance of the Constitution was that it established a national legislature (Congress) consisting of two houses. The upper house, the Senate, was designed to represent the states "as states"; each state got two seats. Conversely, members of the lower House of Representatives were to represent the people more directly, and House seats were apportioned with respect to population: more populous states got lots of house seats; sparsely populated states got few, or only one.

Furthermore, if you will look at the original text of the Constitution, you will see that the Senators were to be chosen by the State Legislatures; but the Representatives in the lower house were to be elected directly by the people. (This arrangement lasted until the adoption of the 17th Amendment in 1913.

The original text of Article 1, Section 3 contained a provision for state governors to make appointments to fill Senate seats vacated between elections, but Article 1, Section 2 explicitly required direct popular elections for House vacancies.

The framers wanted House members to be close to the people, and would not suffer gubernatorial prerogative to get in the way; the framers made it clear that appointments to House seats were a no-no. (Perhaps they were wary of the intentions of one of their own number, the blustering and contentious Elbridge Gerry, who much later, as governor of Massachusetts, became so personally involved with the manipulation of House-district boundaries that the technique became forever known as "gerrymandering".)

On the other hand, if Tom Clancy had been present in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, handing out autographed copies of his novel Debt of Honor to the initially mystified delegates to the Constitutional Convention, they might have been more anxious to provide a quicker method for reconstituting the House after catastrophe.


Richard, I love history, but I fail to see why you thought an extensive history lesson was necessary here. I think pretty much everyone whose likely to have an opinion on this subject knows that the framers opposed the idea of appointing members to the House. I think we're also all aware that we're discussing a potential situation that the Framer's would have found very difficult to imagine.

Constitutional history is EXTREMELY important when interpreting the Constitution, but not nearly so much when considering amending the Constitution. I'm not saying that the Framer's opinions are irrelevant. Far from it in fact. But the primary issue when considering an amendment is whether or not the current structure meets our needs.

In this instance, I am convinced that it does not.

This is my first time on your site, Mr. Collins. You were reccommended to me by a liberal friend, who said you were a McCain conservative. Pragmatic. I enjoyed some of your writings, but you sound for the most part like most religious conservatives. I don't think it's all bad. What I don't understand is where is your compassion? I was brought up in a Jewish home, I was born and lived in a small village in Israel and both my parents survived the holocaust. And I think I care more for my fellow man than a church full of conservatives. Many conservative commentators talk and act if they don't have a soft spot in their bodies for the fellow man. The most egregious conduct lately was their inability to understand how painful Gibson's film was to jews. I could debate that film and the christian reaction for hours.

Jack, in what way do you think I lack compassion?

Since I have yet to see Passion I don't see any point in discussing it here.

I find it extremely bizarre that any one would refer to me as a "McCain" conservative for a couple of reasons. The first is that there's nothing conservative about McCain. Most of McCain's politics seem to be driven by his own version of populism. It just so happens that his views happen to line up with conservative issues frequently. The second is that I'm nothing like McCain.

All the same, I'm glad for your visit and would be glad to discuss these issues with you.

I can usually keep my mouth shut when I disagree with other commenters on someone's blog, but in this case, I have neither the will nor the ability. Jack (may I call you Jack?), if you've read many of Jeffrey's posts, you could not come away with any other conclusion than that he is a compassionate person. I can name specific posts for you if you'd like, but a quick trip through the archives will certainly prove my point on it. Though I've never met him in person, I will tell you with conviction that he is a compassionate person.

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