from the National Review
The Paulson proposal, and the several congressional proposals based upon it, raise substantial constitutional questions regarding: (1) Congress’s enumerated power—or lack thereof—to intervene with private markets in the manner contemplated, (2) the lack of meaningful standards to guide the extremely broad grant of discretion to the Treasury secretary (the “legislative delegation” problem), (3) limitations on judicial review over the exercise of that almost limitless discretion, and (4) related separation of powers concerns.
From a constitutional standpoint, the current versions of the legislation are different in scope, and especially in kind, from almost any federal legislation that has come before. Many analogies to past emergency economic powers, such as those exercised in response to the thrift failures of the 1980s, are not on point with regard to these central constitutional concerns.
And these concerns are serious, regardless of how the courts might resolve them. Some would treat the Constitution merely as a legalistic contract and employ narrow legalistic arguments to circumvent its strictures and protections. The substance of this debate, however, should not turn on what provisions might or might not pass muster with the courts under a pinched conception of our fundamental law. Rather, it is the principles the Constitution embodies, which have served us well through so many crises, that should be the focus of debate. In short, Americans should take little comfort that [this or that provision] might barely pass muster in the courts if the legislation does serious damage to the underlying constitutional principles that were designed to protect our individual rights against governmental usurpations.
[T]hose who argue that we need to suspend the fundamental charter in order to save it (or the economy) have it backward. Our fundamental charter has always been a bulwark for the free market. [Addressing these] constitutional concerns should not only improve the short-term value of any emergency legislation; it should also support the long-term viability of free markets and, ultimately, free people.
The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials it accused of helping Colombian rebels smuggle drugs, deepening a diplomatic crisis that raised the specter of an oil supply cutoff.
The sanctions were announced in Washington a day after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop crude sales to the United States and expelled the U.S. ambassador, plunging relations to the lowest point in years.
Chavez acted after his ally Bolivian President Evo Morales threw out the U.S. ambassador, accusing him of stirring up protests against the leftist government.
Chavez ejected the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela in an expletive-laden tirade against "Yankees" on Thursday. Honduras weighed in on Friday, blocking a U.S. envoy from immediately taking up his post as ambassador.