We as Americans have become much too accepting of the practice in D.C. of writing laws that are so long and complicated that no citizen could possibly be fully informed of their scope and effect. Surely a prime example of this would be “Obamacare,” however, this practice is older than that. For instance, the Patriot Act was 1500 pages (written before 9/11/2001 by the way) and was passed with no debate. In the last 10 years, 10 laws were >225,000 words in length. I know I for one simply do not have the time to keep up with that level of law making. James Madison famously wrote (in Federalist 62):
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
Laws that are this lengthy are by their very nature “arbitrary” and of a tyrannical nature. Consider Senator Conyers’ comments regarding Obamacare. WATCH IT:
If you don’t want to watch the film, this was his comment:
“Why would I read the bill if it’s 1000 pages, and you don’t have 2 days and 2 lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” (His grammer not mine).
Wow, this makes me wonder! Does he think we citizens have ”2 days, and 2 lawyers to find out what it means after” we “read the bill?”
Is our time less important?
We are held to account for what is in these bills, we have to abide by them, if our legislators are not to find out what is in them, what are we paying them for? More importantly… why is Congress passing laws that they themselves are unable to understand…. and expecting the average citizen to spend those days (which THEY don’t have time for) reading the bill, AND then figuring out how to comply!?
Freedictionary.com defines the “void for vagueness” doctrine as:
“A doctrine derived from the due process clauses of the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution that requires criminal laws to be drafted in language that is clear enough for the average person to comprehend.”
No doubt, “void for vagueness” describes the majority of legislation over the last 20 years… We need to demand a higher level of clarity for our laws. I believe if the average citizen understood the laws that are passed in D.C., we would have a rebellion by morning. By making them vague, D.C. avoids having to explain the absurd things they do.