SCOTUS and the EPA vs Private Property

On March 21, TAC reported that the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of an Idaho couple who had been petitioning the court system to be allowed to make their case concerning EPA administrative heavy handedness. The post, U.S. Supreme Court: Idaho Couple can take EPA to Court, reported that the couple had been directed by the Environmental Protection Agency to restore their newly acquired home construction plot back to its original state or face stiff fines. The EPA would not allow an appeal, or even a hearing.

Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution enumerates the main powers delegated to the federal government, specifically those of the Legislative Branch. An original understanding makes it clear that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to form a federal agency which can dictate what people can do with their private property. Just as it has no authority to demand the American people purchase something, Washington D.C. has no power to tell us what to do with personal or real property we own.

Utah, Colorado, Nevada and many other western states are neighbored by separate “federal states” which cannot be utilized for their own taxing purposes or to access the natural resources that reside within them. This is due to the fact that the federal government had either grabbed up the land when the state first entered the union, or had purchased it by some means. Regardless of how it was acquired, the federal land is within the state, and the people of that state cannot utilize it, in most cases.

Federal ownership of the land creates no benefit to the state itself. As U.S. Government Property, it is considered a resource of the U.S. Federal Government. In some instances, such as the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, the area has been deemed A UNESCO World Heritage Site and is “legally protected pursuant to the Law of War, under the Geneva Convention, its Articles, Protocols and Customs, together with other treaties including the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and international law”. Our Congress had to ratify that UN treaty. “While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site”.

How is that for giving away Sovereignty?

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Missouri House votes for Gold and Silver Tender

On Thursday, HB1637, the Missouri Sound Money Act passed the House, making Missouri one of two states with a sound money still alive in 2012. South Carolina is the other, and is scheduled to vote on their bill next week. The bill simply adds gold and silver as legal tender alongside Federal Reserve notes, giving the citizens of Missouri a choice in currency:

“The Missouri Sound Money Act of 2012 is established which changes the laws regarding legal tender as follows: (1) Specifies that gold and silver issued by the federal government is legal tender in Missouri;”

It was not smooth sailing in the Show Me State. A significant number of representatives attended a press conference at the Governor’s mansion when the morning vote was held. Thus, the opposition erupted in celebration when they unexpectedly defeated the bill by a single vote, after which the morning session was immediately adjourned.

All was not lost. Representative Paul Curtman, the bill’s sponsor, worked a strategy to have the bill reconsidered in the afternoon session. While highly unusual, House Majority Leader Tim Jones asked Democratic Imperial Representative Tim Meadows to reconsider the bill in the afternoon session in light of the fact many members who were absent in the morning would likely return. Meadows agreed, and in the afternoon session the bill passed 95-37.

“Credibility is everything and when it comes down to it, my credibility is on the line here this day” Meadows said.

Representative Curtman had the understatement of the day stating, “It was a strange day on the floor. In the end though, nobody had a viable argument as to why it should be defeated.” A strange day indeed. After the bill’s passage, a Democratic Representative who strongly opposed the motion to reconsider had to be physically removed from the House chamber as he confronted a fellow Democrat who aided in allowing the bill a second vote.

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An Important Constitutional Lesson

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Michael Boldin and Jason Rink are joined by Rob Natelson for a special lesson on writ of habeas corpus.

Before Rob get on the air, Rink and Boldin talk about some of the basics of liberty and how throwing money at the welfare problem has neither reduced poverty nor made the poor self-sufficient. Since yesterday was “tax day” they also talk about a classic article written by Harry Browne nearly 10 years ago – Freedom from the Income Tax.

When asked about the Founders’ view on Writ of Habeas Corpus, Rob Natelson answered, “The Founders thought the Writ was very important. They have used it themselves with their struggle against the Crown for example.  However, there was also a recognition that a power to declare war, the legislature could suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus.  The legislature could make the decision that generals in the field or the commander in chief could lock people up for the duration without those people to go to court.”

He continued, “Because it was an incident in the right to declare war, Congress as the entity that would declare war under the Constitution had the right to suspend the writ. However in Article I: Section 9 under the Constitution, the Founders said that it could only be suspended under certain circumstances in case of insurrection or invasion when the public safety requires it.”

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Missouri House Votes to Nullify Obamacare in its Entirety

On April 19, 2012, HB:1534 passed the Missouri House with a vote of 108 to 44! The bill “Declares the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as unauthorized by the United States Constitution and creates criminal penalties for persons enforcing or attempting to enforce the act”

But the good news doesn’t stop there. Inside reports tell us that when the absent Representatives who have committed to vote “yes” are able to do so, HB1534 should have a veto-proof majority.

This is a major step beyond what a number of states around the country – including Missouri – have been doing previously, rejecting just the mandate portion of the federal act.

(To see how your Missouri Representative voted, please see the following link: Ayes and Noes of 1534. If they voted “No”, you may wish to let them know your concern by sending them a polite message. Use the following link to look up your Missouri Representative.)

Additionally, it’s important to notice that when HB1534 was “perfected” in the Missouri House several days ago (with a vote of 109 to 49) – there weren’t any amendments offered. This also is encouraging, as it means that the preferred language, consisting of a Jeffersonian style nullification of Obamacare (along with the arrest of federal officials who attempt to enforce Obamacare), was retained in the bill.

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NDAA Nullification Passes Arizona House

Just one day after Virginia became the first state in the country to pass an NDAA Nullification bill – refusing to comply with the federal government on “indefinite detention” powers of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act – the Arizona House voted to approve a similar measure, moving that state one step closer to being the 2nd in the nation.

Arizona Senate Bill 1182 (SB1182) states in part that: ”this state and any agency of this state shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012″

Today, the House approved the bill by a vote of 34-22.

“I’m very grateful that the Arizona House just passed my NDAA bill protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.  These rights must never be taken for granted for any reason.  National security is not a justification for depriving our citizens of their inalienable rights,” bill sponsor Sen. Sylvia Allen said.

SB1182 previously passed the Arizona Senate by a vote of 21-9, and after a minor amendment in the House, now goes back to the Senate for concurrence before being sent to Governor Jan Brewer’s desk for a signature. Opponents have used a number of parliamentary procedures in an effort to delay, stall, or even kill the bill, but grassroots activism has brought it back from the dead on multiple occasions. Most prominently? After passing the Senate by a vote of 21-9, the bill quickly went to a House committee vote and was rejected 5-4. But, a strong grassroots campaign pressed two “swing votes” on the committee to reconsider, and a motion was made within days to do just that. It wasn’t on the calendar but was voted on promptly. It passed the House Rules committee by a vote of 6-3 last month.

Inside sources tell the Tenth Amendment Center that some establishment Republicans want to keep this bill off of Brewer’s desk, and while there is strong support in the Senate in favor, it’s possible that some Senate members will attempt to hold the bill up so that it dies before it ever gets there.

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Arizona Moves to Regain Sovereignty

In December of last year an amendment to Arizona’s constitution was introduced by representatives Chester Crandell, Brenda Barton, and state senator Sylvia Allen. On Monday the proposed change was approved by committee in the state’s senate, as reported by The Yuma Sun, and with full Senate approval will begin making its way to the ballot in November.

The proposed amendment, HCR 2004, is intended to reassert Arizona’s sovereignty as a state, and regain control over much of the state’s lands and resources. According to Section C. of the proposal: “The State of Arizona declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries….” The authors made exceptions for existing military posts, Indian reservations, and federal property, pursuant to the US constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 17.

According to senator Allen, the federal government made “an implicit promise” to the state of Arizona in 1912, in exchange for control over large sections of state lands. The deal was supposed to allow the federal government to sell off the land to pay the national debt, but as Allen describes, this never happened.

Presently the feds control almost half of the state’s lands, with total holdings standing at well over 100,000 square miles. Private ownership amounts to only seventeen percent, with the remaining territory is held by the state and reservations.

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NDAA Nullification Becomes Law in Virginia. Effective July 1st.

Today, the Virginia legislature once again approved House Bill 1160 (HB1160), what many refer to as the NDAA Nullification Act. The support was overwhelming, again. In the House today the vote was 89-7 and the Senate concurred a few hours later, 36-1.

The bill “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”

According to an inside report, bill sponsor Delegate Bob Marshall spoke twice in support of the bill on the House floor today. Delegate Barbara Comstock (a long-time Patriot Act supporter) invoked Michael Chertoff and others as high government officials opposing HB 1160. Basically, she said state legislators have no business questioning the federal government.

Marshall responded with citations to a CRS report demonstrating the vagueness of the law, and its effort to circumvent the Treason Clause. He also noted that state legislators are to be watchdogs against the Federal Government.

In the Senate today, Senator Dick Black (R-Loudoun) and Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) spoke in favor before the final vote.

THE FULL STORY

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Virginia House Approves NDAA Nullification – for the Last Time.

In what supporters hope will be the last round, the Virginia House of Delegates once again approved House Bill 1160 (HB1160), what many refer to as the NDAA Nullification Act. The support was overwhelming, again – with a final vote tally of 89-7.

The bill “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”

According to an inside report, bill sponsor Delegate Bob Marshall spoke twice in support of the bill. Delegate Barbara Comstock (a long-time Patriot Act supporter) invoked Michael Chertoff and others as high government officials opposing HB 1160. Basically, she said state legislators have no business questioning the federal government.

Marshall responded with citations to a CRS report demonstrating the vagueness of the law, and its effort to circumvent the Treason Clause. He also noted that state legislators are to be watchdogs against the Federal Government.

THE FULL STORY

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Obama Gets an F on the Constitution

by Ron Paul

Last week President Obama made some rather shocking comments at a press conference regarding the Supreme Court’s deliberation on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. His comments belie a grasp of constitutional concepts so lacking that perhaps the University of Chicago Law School should offer a refund to any students “taught” constitutional law by then-Professor Obama!

He said, “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” It almost sounds as if he believes the test of constitutionally is whether a majority approves of the bill, as opposed to whether the legislation lies within one of the express powers of the federal government. In fact, the very design of the Constitution, with power split amongst two branches of the legislature which write the laws, an executive who administers the laws, and an independent judiciary which resolves disputes regarding meaning of the laws, was designed to thwart popular will and preserve liberty.

President Obama continued in his comments, “For years, what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, there’s a good example, and I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

President Obama seems to misunderstand that the criticism of an activist judiciary is not that it is overturning unconstitutional federal laws, but instead that it is usurping the authority to intervene in areas, such as abortion, where the Constitution reserves authority to the states. In fact, upholding clearly unconstitutional laws such as Obamacare because the justices bowed to the “will of the people” or believed the individual mandate was good social policy could be considered an example of judicial activism.

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