Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wall Street Journal Story Documents Republican Violation of Their Principles

What Principles You Ask?

The Wall Street Journal is a schizophrenic newspaper.  Its news reporting is often first rate.  Its editorials and opinion pieces do not even qualify as third rate.  But it is an interesting and informative paper and in one single issue there are these stories that require at least some commentary.

One such story documents the battle between religious groups and local governments over zoning laws and allowing those groups to build houses of worship in places where local zoning laws might prohibit them.  The Dismal Political Economist doesn’t really care about this issue, there are plenty of spaces for houses of worship and this is not a national problem. There are however two pieces of news here.

when city officials here rejected plans to move his growing congregation to a bigger building, Mr. Mortara turned to another authority: the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In April, the court, in San Francisco, answered his prayers, ruling that San Leandro may have violated federal law by refusing to amend its zoning code to accommodate the Pentecostal congregation.

Now the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the almost constant target of Conservatives, because to Conservatives a court that rules against them is biased.  But here is where the court supported what Conservatives support.

The big issue here though is this.

The Constitution limits Washington's power over state and local government. Yet it also grants Congress authority to enforce fundamental rights, including freedom of religion, and to regulate interstate commerce, which courts have interpreted broadly.

Invoking those powers, a Republican-controlled Congress in 2000 required states and cities to elevate religious use above other planning goals.

That’s right, the Republicans who hold that Washington must almost never, ever interfere in local government passed legislation which overruled local control of community planning in order to impose Republican held beliefs on those same governmental units.

This leads to the question of how many times do Republicans have to violate their self described principles before everyone can conclude that they have no principles.  The answer is that  nobody know that number, and it really doesn’t matter.  No matter what the number,  it is clear that Republicans have already exceeded it.

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