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."