In celebration of the 225 anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, the University PARTICIPATE program hosted a debate between the University College Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.
Assistant Vice President of Government Relations Brian Browne moderated the debate.
The topics of discussion included the Constitutionality of topics such as: immigration reform, same sex marriage and Health care reform.
The debates began with the question of immigration enforcement and who had the power to enforce immigration policy. The Democrats argued fiercely in support of President Obama’s ability to extend the ability to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States through the deferred action program.
The College Libertarians and Republicans both fiercely disagreed with the President’s use of an executive order to deal with an issue they both felt should be left to Congress.
Caroline Zottl, of the College Libertarians, said the Constitution specifically states that immigration reform is left to Congress, and not the President.
“The issue of immigration is explicitly reserved for the Congress in article one section eight of the United States Constitution,” she said.
“Section eight specifically states that Congress has the power to regulate trade with foreign nations and establish a uniform form of naturalization. Immigration includes the importation of labor, a product and a service therefore it is reserved to be ruled by the congress.”
The next set of arguments regarded the issue of same sex marriage. In this area, the Republicans stood alone.
“ I think the people should decide,” Greg Mitchell, of the College Republicans, said. “It personally doesn’t matter what your beliefs are or what my beliefs are. I don’t want some legislator up in Albany or down in Washington deciding for me.”
This was followed by a fierce debate over the Affordable Care Act. Onlookers and those participating in the debate were particularly impassioned on this subject.
Justin Alick, of the College Libertarians, said the law was unconstitutional because he said it would create a monopoly in the healthcare industry.
“Obamacare is not constitutional under the commerce clause, because there is no interstate trade even if someone is purchasing health care from an insurance company outside the state it would be considered illegal under federal law,” he said. “It is a monopoly within the state. It is also unconstitutional, because for the first time in U.S. history the federal government is requiring U.S. citizens to buy a product.”
This led into questions from the audience. One inquiry in particular, following up on a remark made by a College Libertarian, asked how the College Democrats could be both pro-choice and in favor of health care led to the remarks. “We are really against death in general, “said Erin Kennedy.
Members of all the groups said they are actively looking for new members to join, especially during the busy election season.