What does Harry Reid, John McCain, or any other legislator mean when they talk about the Healthcare law being law and therefore we must follow it? What they are really saying is that because it is Law, it can't be changed. In other words, because it was passed in 2008, we must now enforce it even if it's wrong and hurting their constiuents. Even if they passed it with the majority of Americans telling them no. Furthermore, they are stating that a newly elected legislature cannot change what a prior legislature passed. What is this called? Legislative Entrenchment and not acceptable under our system of governance. Legislative Entrenchment is more suited to a dictatorial society. So, what exactly is Legislative Entrenchment?
Legislative entrenchment would exist if one Legislative body could adopt policies, rules, make laws or set procedures a following body could not change. We all need a set procedure and rules and laws to follow. However, legislative entrenchment gives more power to a sitting body than a following body would have. The idea and intent of any legislative body or council is to represent the people who elected them. A portion of a new legislatures power to legislate is diminished if a prior legislature has passed a law, rule, policy, procedure or bill that prohibited discussion or change by a succeeding legislature. For instance, suppose the current Legislative body in Washington DC were to adopt a law forbidding any person from being able to speak out against their healthcare. Well, we would all be up in arms over that and would begin to work on replacing those who voted in favor of such a bill. BUT, let us suppose they also passed, as part of the bill, prohibitions against any future legislature from discussing the law or from ever being able to change the law. That would, in effect, mean that today's voters elected fools and future voters who wanted to change what the fools had accomplished would be denied their Constitutional guarantee to equal representation as the people elected by future voters could not fully represent the interests of their constituents.
In 1810, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the courts opinion on the question of Legislative Entrenchment, "One legislature is competent to repeal any act a former legislature was competent to pass; and that one legislature cannot abridge the powers of a succeeding legislature; The correctness of this principle, so far as respects general legislation, can never be controverted."
In 1853, Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote the courts opinion on legislative entrenchment. "The powers of sovereignty confided by the legislative body of a state are undoubtedly a trust committed to them, to be executed to the best of the judgment for the public good; and no one Legislature can, by its own act, disarm their successors of any of the powers or rights of sovereignty confided by the people to the legislative body."
Through the years, others have argued in favor of legislative entrenchment. None have succeeded due to the absolute ignorance of their position. Who, in their right mind, would argue FOR DICTATORIAL power in any legislative body? Certainly none who cherish Freedom. The key assumption, and best argument against legislative entrenchment, is very simple; Each congress or legislative body or council, serves as the agent of those electing them only until the next election when another group will be elected as the agent of the voters. The next body must have the same authority as its predecessor, no more, no less. Bear in mind, the United States Constitution has been amended 27 times. Constitutions are defining guidelines under which a legislative body must act. Constitutions, being made by men, are not permanent, neither are the laws of man. When you begin hearing how those who want to temporarily set aside the effects of a law that is hurting the Citizens of the Country being referred to as; "extreme, Anarchists, and terrorists" the following question should be asked. What extreme, radical thought process is ruling those who are making the statements to begin with. To work from the premise of legislative entrenchment is part of the problem we are experiencing in the gridlock that is Washington DC and is not serving the best interests of We the People.