This week, a Florida GOP Rep. belatedly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by telling a black constituent that he is not sure if it is constitutional.
Teapublican Ted Yoho held a town hall Monday in Gainesville, where he was asked by 57 year old African American Melvin Flournoy asked Yoho if he believes the Civil Rights Act is constitutional.
Yoho bought himself time to think by repeating the question then demonstrated the usual Tea Party knowledge of the Constitution they claim they so love: by saying he’s not quite sure if it is, and strongly implying that it is not:
Is it Constitutional, the Civil Rights Act? I wish I could answer that 100 percent. I know a lot of things that were passed are not constitutional, but I know it’s the law of the land.”
1. Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a valid exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause as applied to a place of public accommodation serving interstate travelers. Civil Right Cases, 109 U.S. 3, distinguished. Pp. 249-262.
(a) The interstate movement of persons is “commerce” which concerns more than one State. Pp. 255-256.
(b) The protection of interstate commerce is within the regulatory power of Congress under the Commerce Clause whether or not the transportation of persons between States is “commercial.” P. 256.
(c) Congress’ action in removing the disruptive effect which it found racial discrimination has on interstate travel is not invalidated because Congress was also legislating against what it considered to be moral wrongs. P. 257.
(d) Congress had power to enact appropriate legislation with regard to a place of public accommodation such as appellant’s motel even if it is assumed to be of a purely “local” character, as Congress’ power over interstate commerce extends to the regulation of local incidents thereof which might have a substantial and harmful effect upon that commerce. P. 258.
(2) The prohibition in Title II of racial discrimination in public accommodations affecting commerce does not violate the Fifth [p242] Amendment as being a deprivation of property or liberty without due process of law. Pp. 258-261.
(3) Such prohibition does not violate he Thirteenth Amendment as being “involuntary servitude.” P. 261.”
The Tea Party regularly claims to be freedumb-loving Constitution supporters but Yoho, who supported Congressman Steve Stockman’s “birther” legislation, simply proves that love does not equal understanding.