Governor Pat Quinn (D-IL) and President Obama continue to make plans to house prisoners from the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, at a prison located in Thompson, Illinois. According to MSNBC, President Obama has ordered the government to purchase the Illinois prison facility located about 150 miles west of Chicago.
Quinn and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a press conference in Chicago to boost support for the plan. In an attempt to allay concerns about security at the prison Quinn assured those gathered that “We’re here today to let the people know we’re not going to let the fear mongers carry the day, we’re going to do things right, the Illinois way.”
That’s what citizens should be worried about. In the past, the “Illinois way” has not proven to be always in the best interest of either the citizens of Illinois or the country. Many of the promises made by the politicians in their eagerness to sell the plan to the people contain less logic than Washington’s plan to spend our way out of debt, or to create jobs by imposing more taxes on businesses.
The 1600 bed prison at Thompson currently houses about 200 minimum security prisoners. When it becomes a federal facility, these state prisoners will need to be transferred to another location. Less than one hundred terrorist prisoners will be transferred from GITMO to Illinois. Somehow, this is supposed to result in the addition of 3,000 jobs in the community.
Officials are going out of their way to assure citizens of the improbability of anyone escaping from the maximum security prison, especially after the Feds add millions of dollars in additional security to that already in place at the relatively new facility. The concern of those who take the time to think the question through, however, is not that prisoners will escape, but rather that lone wolf Jihadists will commit terrorist acts in retaliation or in an attempt to intimidate public officials.
Not all Illinois politicians are in favor of the transfer. Representative Donald Manzullo (R-IL) the Congressman representing the district where the prison would be located is adamantly opposed to the plan, in spite of the promised additional jobs.
Quinn is doing an “end run” around the state legislature in selling the prison to the Feds. According to Jack Levin, a top aide to the Governor, Quinn does not need to get authorization from the state legislature in order to sell the property. Therein lays the problem. President Obama does not have the Constitutional authority to buy the property without an appropriation for the purpose by Congress and Quinn does not have the authority to sell it without the approval of the state legislature.
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution says, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law;” The Constitution authorizes Congress to purchase property from the states if the proper appropriation has been made, but only with the approval of the state legislature. Article I, Section 8, clause 18 clearly requires the consent of the state legislatures involved when purchasing property from a state.
“Congress shall have the power to…exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;”
The Obama-Quinn-Durbin plan is just one more example of the ignorance of or disregard for the Constitution among our elected officials.
Illinois Conservative Action Network
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