Florida Democrat Sen. Chris Smith: OK for Obamacare to Violate Constitution: 'Constitution Is Imperfect'

[UPDATE: Check out Sunshine State News' full coverage of the Senate Obamacare committee meeting: "Obamacare: Tea Partiers Say, Nullify It; Democratic Senator Says, Who Cares if It's Constitutional?"]

The Democratic Party's antipathy toward America's founding documents -- and basic American historical literacy -- was on full display at the inaugural meeting of the Florida Senate's Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

An otherwise dry, hour-long series of presentations on changes coming down the federal pike with the controversial health care law's full implementation in 2014 – including the costs to state taxpayers – ended on a colorful note, as some three-dozen tea-party activists, represented by a handful of speakers, took to the podium to present their concerns to committee members.

After hearing from a couple of citizens insisting on Obamacare’s constitutionality, Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Oakland Park, struggled to offer a coherent response.

Referring to Norman Rockwell’s painting of a young black girl being escorted to her newly desegregated classroom by federal agents – titled, “The Problem We All Live With,” a copy of which he said hangs in his office – Smith said federal intervention was necessary in that instance because “Marbury, Madison, and Hamilton wrote in that Constitution that I wasn’t a man. The federal government had to step in because our Constitution is an imperfect document.”

Smith is African-American. His comments were met with gasps and boos from the tea partiers.

Not surprisingly, Smith’s remarks did not actually refer to any constitutional provisions, and he seemed to have his history confused.

William Marbury did not draft the Constitution; he was appointed justice of the peace in the District of Columbia by John Adams in 1801. The Constitution – ratified in 1789 – also did not deny constitutional personhood to blacks: that was a question left to the states ...

... until 1868, by which time the Constitution had been amended (by the addition of the 13th and 14th Amendments) so as to federally codify the personhood – and attendant rights to life, liberty, and property – of all American citizens, including blacks. Federal involvement in desegregation was not undertaken because of any perceived defect in the Constitution, but precisely pursuant to the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which guarantees to all Americans – whatever their race – “equal protection under the laws.”

According to the Florida Senate website, Smith's occupation is "attorney."

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Comments (11)

3:00AM JUL 20TH 2013
9:13AM DEC 6TH 2012
democrats defending the indefensible once again
9:58PM DEC 3RD 2012
Before you bash someone's "historical literacy".....

William Marbury was appointed by John Adams as a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. That is not the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land.

According to the Sunshine State News, Eric Giunta's occupation is "attorney" and "chief legal correspondent."
Eric Giunta
10:06PM DEC 3RD 2012
Ironic indeed; thanks for pointing out my typo, immaterial though it was.
10:10PM DEC 3RD 2012
Just holding you to the same standards you hold Chris Smith too.
Don Fanucci
10:18PM DEC 3RD 2012
Not quite the same standard, smartie pants. Assuming Giunta reported accurately, Smith's errors were a lot more egregious, and were directly relevant to the point he was trying to make. For whatever reason, Giunta got wrong what type of judge Marbury was; who cares? Giunta's point still stands.
10:05PM DEC 3RD 2012
Nice to see quick edits.
KrisAnne Hall
9:57PM DEC 3RD 2012
Bravo! Well done. Thank you.
8:27PM DEC 3RD 2012
Please google "three-fifths compromise".
Barbara Cary
8:51PM DEC 4TH 2012
A broad definition of “constitutional personhood” is the status of a human being or legal entity with some or all constitutional rights. The Three-Fifths Compromise is found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution. As such, Mr. Smith's remarks are fully correct.
12:40PM DEC 6TH 2012
The 3/5ths compromise applied 2 slaves. Free people, regardless of color, were treated equally w/ regards 2 apportionment of Representatives & Taxes. It prevented the slave states from controlling the House. The citing of this by black people as something bad, when it was actually something good, is dishonest.

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