Supreme Court to Decide if the U.S. Constitution is a Dead Letter

by Bob Marshall, via American Thinker

By tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will have spent six hours hearing oral argument over a three-day period about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.  After the argument on Tuesday, the Court will address the question: “Whether Congress had the power under Article I of the Constitution to enact the minimum coverage provision.”  That sterile statement of the issue on which the Court granted certiorari vastly understates the significance of this case.  The truth is that this case will determine whether there are any meaningful limitations on Congress’ power to mandate an individual’s life choices.

When Congress’ power under Article I, Section 8 — power to “regulate commerce … among the several states” (Clause 3) — has been paired with Congress’ power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into executing the foregoing powers” (Clause 18), the result has been the virtually unlimited power of Congress to dominate the everyday behavior of the American people, in direct conflict with the plain language of the Tenth Amendment reserving such powers to the state and to the people.

In large part, it is the combination of the “commerce” and “necessary and proper” clauses that have led many to conclude that the Constitution is a dead letter to our generation — that the battle was lost before most of us were born.  How profoundly sad.  Indeed, the Sunday morning pundits believe that the ObamaCare challenge is already lost.  Well, they may hope that it is lost, but I have a different view.

I have been in the trenches against ObamaCare since before it was enacted.  In late 2009 I wrote an article against the individual mandate for the Richmond Times Dispatch.  In January 2010, I authored the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act that our attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, used to file suit against the Obama administration.  On April 4, 2011, I filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit to support that challenge to ObamaCare.  I explained this brief to the House of Delegates on April 4, 2011.  My wife and I attended oral argument, and we saw the case presented to three Democrat-appointed judges on the Fourth Circuit panel.  In their opinion, those judges impugned the integrity of those of us who were working against this law, and then decided that since the Commonwealth of Virginia was a mere state, it did not have standing to challenge the law.  Then I filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to grant certiorari on November 3, 2011 — a petition that is still pending.


URGENT ACTION ALERT! Arizona NDAA Nullification bill in trouble

PHOENIX (March 27, 2012) – In a surprising move, the Arizona House Rules Committee killed a bill that would help protect citizens of the Grand Canyon State from federal kidnapping. Only immediate action by Arizona residents can resurrect this crucial piece of legislation. The committee voted 5-4 to block passage of SB1182, which would “prohibit…


The Founders’ Constitution

Some people – including the former law instructor who now serves as President of the United States – believe that it is impossible to reconstruct the Constitution’s original meaning. As this book demonstrates, that view is substantially incorrect.

The Original Constitution fills a void that has existed for a long time—the need for a clear, complete, easy-to-read guide to what our Constitution really means.


Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Legislation Status – March 25, 2012

New Arrivals to Legislative Tracking

These Tenth Amendment related items are currently under consideration in the Pennsylvania Legislature and are appearing for the first time in our legislative updates:

  • HB1622 – An Act providing for Pennsylvania-manufactured incandescent light bulbs. –  Representative GABLER – Referred to COMMERCE, July 18, 2011 [House].
  • HR436 – A Resolution designating October 10, 2011, as “Tenth Amendment Day” in Pennsylvania. –  Representative CREIGHTON – Adopted, Oct. 5, 2011 (200-0) [House].
  • HR319 – A Resolution memorializing Congress to repeal the provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which creates Federal energy efficiency standards for lighting. – Representative GABLER –  Referred to ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, July 18, 2011 [House] .
  • HR369 – A Resolution memorializing the Congress of the United States to address concerns raised by recent regulations promulgated by the Federal Highway Administration concerning road and street signs. – Representative LAWRENCE – Referred to TRANSPORTATION, Aug. 10, 2011 [House].


Legislative items which have already been reported and have changed from our last update include:


Help Washington State Pass NDAA Nullification

OLYMPIA, Wash. (March 26, 2012)  – On Feb 1, a liberty preservation act had its first reading in the Washington State House of Representatives and was referred to the judiciary committee.

Nearly two months later, HB 2759 remains bottled up in committee.

Five Washington state representatives cosponsor the legislation, which condemns the unlawful detention of United States citizens and lawful resident aliens under the National Defense Authorization Act, and forbids “any state employee, member of the Washington National Guard or any agent of a corporation doing business with the state” to cooperate in the federal detainment or investigation of a U.S. citizen or resident alien.

HB2759 also prohibits the United States military from conducting within the boundaries of the state of Washington, an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien located within the state of Washington, except for a few narrowly prescribed circumstances.

Rep. Matt Shea cosponsors the bill. He said legal analysts found at least 11 violations of the U.S. Constitution and 13 violations of the Washington State Constitution in sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA.


The Government as Public Trust: One Roman Emperor Showed It Is Feasible

EDITOR’S NOTE: Misrepresenting Budgets is Fraud. Unless you’re in Elected Office. Then it Gets you Re-Elected

“A public office is a public trust”—common saying, but do we really believe it?

The American Founders did.  Most of them agreed that public officials should be held at least to the standards imposed on private trustees and other fiduciaries—maybe even higher standards, since government officials can do more damage than private fiduciaries. (A fiduciary—from Latin words meaning “confidence” and “faith”— is someone entrusted with the property or affairs of another.) The Founders often referred to public officials as the “trustees,” “agents,” “guardians,” or “servants” of the public. (In those days the legal term “servant” referred to an employee in a job not involving a lot of discretion.)

But in modern America public officials are not held to anywhere near the legal standards imposed on private trustees and other fiduciaries. The corporate corruption some on the Left justifiably complain about pales by comparison to common political behavior.


Don’t count on the Supreme Court to protect your freedom!

MADISON, Wisc. (March 26, 2012) – The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the federal health care act in the coming days. Many opponents of the federal government’s sweeping takeover of America’s health care system hang their hat on the SCOTUS overturning the unconstitutional act.

But many observers say the Supremes may well rule the act constitutional.

What then? Do we just accept that the federal government can exercise whatever power it wishes, regardless of constitutional restraints? Do we accept that a branch of the federal government gets the final say on the extent of the power available to the federal government? Or do the states follow James Madison and Thomas Jefferson’s lead and say, “No!” to unconstitutional exercises of power?

On Feb. 21, the Wisconsin Senate narrowly passed Joint Resolution 27.


ACTION ALERT: Help stop TSA groping in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (March 25, 2012) – Alaska Rep. Sharon Cissna (D-Anchorage) knows first-hand the degradation and humiliation TSA groping can cause.

Last year, after having already endured one groping on a previous trip, the breast cancer survivor opted to drive from Seattle to Juneau rather than undergo a pat-down when a scanner flagged her surgical scars as an “irregularity.”

“For nearly fifty years I’ve fought for the rights of assault victims, population in which my wonderful Alaska sadly ranks number one, both for men and women who have been abused. The very last thing an assault victim or molested person can deal with is yet more trauma and the groping of strangers, the hands of government ‘safety’ policy. For these people, as well as myself, I refused to submit,” she wrote, chronicling her experience on her blog.

As a state lawmaker, Cissna decided she needed to do something to protect the people she represents from similar groping and peeking. On Jan. 17, she introduced HB 262 in the Alaska House. If passed, the act would make it a class A misdemeanor for any agent to require a person seeking access to a public building or transportation facility to submit to touching of a sexual nature, or screening that reveals any body part not normally visible to the public.


The Nullification Generation

Add to iTunes

Michael Boldin and Nick Hankoff give updates on NDAA resistance in states around the country, share news on events in Missouri and Philly – and more.

Yesterday, the Tenth Amendment Center co-hosted a media conference call to update reporters on state and local resistance to the NDAA. One of the speakers, Green Party member, Progressive – Fairfax, CA town councilor – Larry Bragman – might have made the best statement possible on how to deal with the NDAA

“I think anybody who takes the oath of office in this country as an elected official has got to do what they can do to reverse, oppose and resist this bill, and that’s what we’re doing in Fairfax.”

Joining the show as a guest to talk about that media call – Blake Filippi, of the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition, and spokesman for the TAC during the event.

When asked about the states responses to the Fugitive Slave Acts, he mentioned, “The State of Rhode Island passed the personal liberty law, and essentially nullified the Fugitive Slave Act.  It forbade judges recognizing claims, it extended trial by jury, and provided habeas corpus to the slaves.”  He continued, “Massachusetts went so far that federal officials who took slaves through the Fugitive Slave Act called it kidnapping. ”