How We Can Reverse ObamaCare

With the establishment of judicial review in 1803 by Marberry vs. Madison, the Supreme Court became the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. Constitutional matters, such as whether the Second Amendment affirms the right to possess firearms to the individual or to some militia, ultimately wind their way to the Supreme Court where the meaning of the Constitution’s provisions is voted on and decided. This can take years.

The Court, however, is not infallible. Sometimes the Court reverses itself. The recent Kelo decision, for instance, begs for reversal. And some Court decisions are stains on American history, such as Plessy vs. Ferguson and the Dred Scot decision. So the Supremes are quite capable of error. Also, the Court can be intimidated, as happened under FDR with his attempts to pack the Court.

Despite their human frailties, justices are appointed for life. Only one Supreme Court justice has been impeached, Samuel Chase in 1804. The Senate acquitted Chase in 1805. Federal judges also rule on questions of constitutionality, and they, too, are appointed for life. Since 1789, the Senate has tried 14 impeached federal judges and removed six. This includes former federal judge Alcee Hastings, who was found guilty of corruption and perjury, and removed from office in 1989. (Since 1993, Mr. Hastings has served as the U.S. Representative from Florida’s 23rd district.) 

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Everything Has Its Place

You know, everything has its place.

They set up the giant Christmas tree in my city’s downtown this weekend.

That wasn’t the first premature dose of holiday spirit I’ve endured over the last couple of weeks. Last Thursday, one of our local radio stations began its 24/7 rotation of Christmas music. A nearby mall  hung up decorations in the parking lot almost two weeks ago, preparing for a pre-Black Friday sale. And a couple of neighbors lit up their houses over the weekend.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Grinch and my friends don’t call me Ebeneezer. In fact, I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday.

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Firearms Freedom Act Introduced in Texas

Introduced in the Texas State House last week was House Bill 145 (HB145), the Firearms Freedom Act. The bill, introduced by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, states that:

The Legislature of the State of Texas declares that a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured in Texas, as described by Chapter 2003, Business & Commerce Code, as added by this Act, that remains within the borders of Texas:

(1) has not traveled in interstate commerce; and
(2) is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

Since 2009, 8 states have passed similar legislation as law – Montana, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Alaska and Arizona. And, here at the Tenth Amendment Center we expect to see at least a dozen other states consider Firearms Freedom Acts in 2011.

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Stopping the EPA and Cap and Trade in Virginia

Two bills, both attempting to reassert state sovereignty over environmental regulations, will be considered in Virginia’s 2011 legislative session. The first, House bill 1357 (HB1357) addresses the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions specifically, while the second, House Bill 1397 (HB1397) seeks to protect Virginia homeowners from potential cap and trade requirements.

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Health Care Freedom Act Introduced in Texas

A flurry of Health Care Freedom Acts – both as bills and resolutions for state constitutional amendments – have been prefiled for the 2011 legislative session in Texas. As of this writing, there are currently 7 that have been introduced. The following are the bill numbers, links to the full text, and a brief overview of the direction of the legislation:

House Bill 32 (HB32)

No resident of this state, regardless of whether he has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer, or a plan sponsored by the state or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage except as required by a court or a governmental agency or department where an individual is named a party in a judicial or administrative proceeding. No provision of this title shall render a resident of this state liable for any penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of his failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage.

House Bill 124 (HB124)

This state, an agency of this state, or a health care system may not:
(1) impose a fine or penalty on an individual or the individual’s employer for direct payment for a health care service;
(2) impose a fine or penalty on a health care provider for accepting direct payment for a health care service; or

House Bill 144 (HB144)

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10th Amendment Resolutions Introduced in Texas

The Texas legislature, back in action for the first time since the 2009 legislative session, is getting things rolling in regards to 10th Amendment legislation for the 2011 session. Two resolutions affirming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment were prefiled on the first possible day, 11-08-10.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 (SCR1) was introduced by Senator Glenn Hegar, and House Concurrent Resolution 16 (HCR16) was introduced by Representative Brandon Creighton, whose HCR50 brought the issue and the discussion to the national limelight in 2009.

Both include similar language to assert a proper constitutional role for the state, such as:

The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more

and

RESOLVED, That this serve as notice and demand to the federal government to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers

SCR1 takes a stronger position and alludes to a proper next step for the State, including:

RESOLVED, That the power over the freedom of the right to keep and bear arms was reserved to the states, and therefore, all acts of Congress to abridge that right are not law and are void; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed;

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Thoughts on Supremacy

Those who oppose the drive to reassert local control over those powers not delegated to the feds in the Constitution will often brush off state-level attempts by yelling “supremacy clause, supremacy clause, supremacy clause!”

They take the position that if the federal government does something – anything they don’t oppose that is – that we have to take it and obey it. No matter what. During the Bush years, people who took this position were generally from the right. These days, they’re almost exclusively from the political left.

I recently got an email from someone who brought this concept up – in what I thought was an obvious way. Here’s our exchange:

The initial email:

What is the clause in the Constitution that allows what you describe as “nullification”? The Supremacy Clause (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supremacy_Clause) clearly establishes the superiority of federal law over state law.

My Reply:

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Of Reason, Thought, and Individualism

Reason is the foundation of freedom of thought and by understanding what it is we begin to understand the root of individualism. Many theories have been batted around that are extremely hard to understand only because they fail to even look at the very definition of the word. Once you look at the very meaning of the word then the concept of reason begins to materialize before you.

The word itself suggests that reason is nothing more than the intellectual justification for an idea. Once we established its definition we can then begin to understand why it is essential for the freedom of one’s own thoughts. Every thought we have needs a reason behind it or we would have no reason to think it is true. It is simply the ‘why is this true’ explanation that provides the intellectual foundation for its existence in our conscious minds.

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