Is the Constitution Relevant to Local Government?

Several years ago, at a public debate for county supervisor in a California community, the public was invited to offer questions in writing. I did so and watched the monitor of the debate, with a puzzled look on his face, sideline my question in preference to others.

I presumed it was because it had something to do with the Constitution, which, unfortunately, is considered by many an irrelevant topic at the city, county, or even state level. You are supposed to ask what “goodies” from taxpayer funding can you give to me and, is it more than your opponent. The other evening, at a similar debate, I experienced a more receptive response; at least my question was asked.

So what does the Constitution have to do with local or state issues a friend later asked? Everything!! First, it is the only document that every single elected public servant swore to uphold. So the Founders must have thought it relevant at every level.

Details

Jefferson to Madison — Is Too!

Writing as if he were James Madison, Pete Spiliakos, in his recent article James Madison Keeps It Real On Nullification, (an excellent article I urge you to read) made an interesting argument stating that nullification and interposition were not legal. But before we get to that, let’s look at the rest of his article where he states as Madison that, “Now I’d say that nullification and interposition are two different things. The first is the alleged legal rights of states to suspend the enforcement of any law a state government feels to be unconstitutional within the borders of that state. The second is the power of the state government to protect their citizens from radical violations of their rights by the federal government. I know they sound similar, but they could hardly be more different.”

This is where he goes on to explain the difference between the two concepts. But when you break it down, it is the difference between turning your back and saying I am not going to do that and getting in the bullies face and saying I’m not going to do that and neither are you!

At the Tenth Amendment Center, we have a Model Legislation tab at the top of the page. We offer model legislative bills on different Tenth Amendment issues, and with some there are as many as three different versions.

First, there is a Resolution, which states what Tenth Amendment issue you are raising, and then asks that the federal government stop doing it, a lot like a First Amendment redress of grievances. Second, Nullification, where the Tenth Amendment issue is stated and you refuse to comply and forbid any state officer from aiding or complying with the federal government. Kind of the state version of civil disobedience. And finally comes Interposition, this one restates Nullification but not only will state officials not comply they will physically block federal officials from enforcing the “law” in the state. That’s were things get a little dicey. This is the last option no state wants to be pushed to, but when all else fails they must be willing to push back.

Details

Utah Expands Legal Tender in the State

In 2011, Utah was the first state in over 80 years to pass a law making gold and silver coin legal tender.  Its passage sparked articles in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and a host of major internet news sources.  After decades of obscurity, Utah’s historic measure put sound money back on the map.  Not satisfied to rest on their laurels, Utah passed a companion bill in the 2012 session, and it was signed by Governor Herbert.

The bill clarifies several tax measures and more importantly, expands the available specie to include gold and silver coin approved by the state.

Gold or silver coin or bullion, other than gold or silver coin that is issued by the United States, is considered to be specie legal tender and is legal tender in the state if:

Details