There’s three things Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) likes in a sentence: a noun, a verb, and “unconstitutional.” Indeed, Lee has recently claimed that federal child labor laws, FEMA, food stamps, the FDA, Medicaid, income assistance for the poor, and even Medicare and Social Security violate the Constitution. Yet Senate Republicans have inexplicably chosen to put Lee on the very Senate committee that has jurisdiction over constitutional questions and the judiciary:
[A]ides said two Republicans, Sens. John Thune, R-S.D. and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and one Democrat, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., will take seats on the Finance Committee. Freshman Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, will join the Senate Judiciary Committee and freshman Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D. and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., are expected to win two of several open Appropriations Committee seats.
Placing Mike Lee in charge of overseeing the Constitution is a bit like putting Dick Cheney in charge of hunting and gun safety, yet the Senate GOP was so eager to put this radical tenther on the Judiciary Committee that it waived a rule prohibiting both of a state’s senators from serving on Judiciary in order to ensure Lee’s membership. Bizarrely, this move exposes a very real divide between Senate Republicans and the President. While President Obama’s State of the Union Address specifically highlighted “child labor laws” as an example of the kind of “commonsense safeguards” that all Americans can embrace, the Senate GOP apparently sees no problem with Lee’s view that federal child labor laws cannot constitutionally exist.