If Something is Wrong with a Law the Supreme Court will Stop it? Wrong!!

How many times have I heard that if something is wrong with a law of Congress the Supreme Court will stop it and that the Court is totally independent of Congress? Both views are decidedly incorrect. Supreme Court members may, in fact, agree that something is unconstitutional but they, by themselves, or as a body, are helpless in blocking it unless it is first challenged by someone else.

The Supreme Court may not interfere with any law unless someone is hurt or damaged by it, and is able and willing to challenge the law, over a long period of time, with the likelihood of a costly but doubtful conclusion. In other words, much that is unconstitutional goes unchallenged by the Court and, if not challenged, becomes past practice and later is often used to support new alterations to the Constitution.

The Court is only a partial check on constitutional law. Congress, the body charged with making all law, as per Article I, Section I, is to responsibly check itself with the Constitution. Members of Congress take an oath to do so. The voter does not take an oath, but is expected to have greater loyalty to the Constitution then to political party, to be familiar enough with the Constitution to spot indiscretions, and to remove those who would defile it through ignorance or intent.

Details

The U.S. Postal Service and the Constitution

If my inbox is any indication, a lot of Americans apparently believe that an amendment to the Constitution would be necessary to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. That is simply not true.

Article 1, Section 8 says that [The Congress shall have the power] to establish Post Offices and Post Roads. It does not say that the federal government shall have the exclusive power to deliver mail. Nor does it require that the mail be delivered by an agent of the federal government to every home in the country, six days a week.

In a 1996 Cato book, The Last Monopoly, James I. Campbell writes the following in a chapter on the history of postal monopoly law:

The U.S. Constitution, in 1789, authorized Congress to establish “Post Offices and post Roads” but, unlike the Articles of Confederation, did not explicitly establish an exclusive monopoly. The first substantive postal law, enacted in 1792, listed post roads to be established, reflecting the traditional concept of postal service as a long-distance transport. It authorized the Postmaster General to enter into contracts for the carriage of “letters, newspapers, and packets” but limited the postal monopoly to “letter or letters, packet or packets, other than newspapers.”

According to Campbell, the Post Office “first began delivery of mail to a small portion of the U.S. population” in 1863:

Details

Ninth Circuit OKs Feds Use of Cellphones as Roving Bugs

The Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled on July 20 that agents of the federal government may use a cellphone as a microphone and record the conversations overheard even when the phone itself is not being used otherwise.

This frightening bit of judicial lawmaking came as part of the decision in the case of the United States v. Oliva, 2012 WL 2948542 (9thCir. July 20, 2012).

For a bit of background, Oliva was convicted by a jury of drug-related crimes involving the distribution of methamphetmaine, cocaine, and marijuana. He appealed a decision by a district court denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained from a series of electronic surveillance orders authorizing interception of communications over cellular phones associated with him and his alleged co-conspirators.

Oliva argued that the orders authorizing these wiretaps were not standard intercept orders and did not meet the “specificity” requirement of the applicable federal law.

In its decision, the Ninth Circuit has upheld the lower court’s ruling, essentially allowing the federal government to convert cellphones into “roving bugs” so long as the government makes it clear that it will be using the target’s cellphone in that manner. Notice, the Ninth Circuit — a court created under the authority granted to Congress in Article III of the Constitution — did not throw out the matter as a violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Instead, it simply informed  the government that it needs to get permission before doing so.

Details

So They Audit The Fed. Then What?

Let’s say for the moment that the Senate follows the House’s lead and calls for a full audit of the Federal Reserve. Let’s also dream that President Obama signs it. What are the consequences?

Rumors are, for decades the Federal Reserve has been engaged in the highest form of crony capitalism, big bank favoritism, purchase of politicians, nation building, and the bailout of foreign banks, corporations and governments.  If this is found to be true, it will add to the growing awareness of the Federal Reserve’s other nefarious activities. These include the fact the Fed and its debt-based fiat monetary system is confiscating the wealth of this nation and concentrating it in the hands of a few powerful interests. Not to mention the Fed’s money printing which enables the TSA, NSA, EPA, FDA, NEA, and USDA to unconstitutionally regulate our liberties into oblivion. Indeed, an audit could be the tipping point, generating enough public outcry to finally “end the Fed.”

It begs the question, “What’s next?”

The Federal Reserve Note is the officially recognized currency of the land, having long ago usurped the constitutional dollar as our monetary unit. The Federal Reserve system, like it or not, is responsible for insuring the flow of credit and currency around the nation and the world. Should the decision be made to end the Fed, it would take years to unwind its tentacles from the global economy and to replace Federal Reserve Notes with another currency.

Details

Just what do they think these oaths mean??

So, I was reading a very good recent article by the TAC Machine Mr. Maharrey, and I noted a misunderstanding by the lawmaker (Florida State Rep. Gaetz) cited in the piece, illustrated by this passage from an email he sent to a constituent:

“It is said that one evening, while he was president, General Jackson was interrupted in his reading in his bedroom by an alarmed military aide who breathlessly reported, “Mr. President, the “nullifiers” are in front of the Executive Mansion with torches and guns. They are screaming that each state has the right to decide for itself which federal laws to follow. They threaten to burn us down if you will not agree with them.”

Without lifting his head from his reading, Andrew Jackson said, “Shoot the first nullifier who touches the Flag. And hang the rest.”

Chaplain (Gaetz’s constituent), I have sworn an oath on my father’s Bible before Almighty God to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Count me with Andrew Jackson.”

Details

Can We Legislate Morality?

“Can we legislate morality?”

This is a very relevant question that deserves a serious answer.  But what is really meant by this question?  The idea of “legislating morality” often gives people the impression that we can create a moral society through the creation of laws.  Fact is – we cannot.  As a prosecutor I became acutely aware of the apparently widely held view that the criminal justice system will “reform” people.  We could save ourselves a lot of heartache and a lot of money if we just accepted the reality that the criminal justice system, our jails, our prisons, are not designed to reform people; they are designed to punish people for doing bad things.  The punishment is what is supposed to make people change their mind about committing future crimes.  More laws and more prisons will not magically create a moral society.

We cannot deny, however, that all laws are based upon shared moral values.  When a society loses that morality, we find ourselves in a situation where we are tempted to compensate by creating more laws. This is what causes people to put the cart before the horse and believe morality can be, or should be legislated.  We have become a society that treats symptoms instead of diseases.  This situation is no different.  The symptom is an ever increasing lawless society; the disease is an ever decreasing moral society.  If we want the government to stop “legislating morality”, we must become, once again a society of individuals that upholds our shared moral values.  We may not be able to legislate morality, but as our founders warned, we cannot afford to lose it.

John Adams stated in an address to Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1798: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Adams believed that America’s unique moral character provided security for the future:

Details

Help wanted!

Imagine a man owns about an acre of land in a prime area. He also has the plans for a beautiful 4,000 square foot house.

That’s not all.

He bought all of the supplies necessary: lumber, siding, roofing material and drywall. He’s got pipe, wiring, fixtures and paint. In fact, he’s got everything he needs to build his dream home right at his fingertips.

Not only that, but our aspiring builder has a shed full of tools – brand new hammers, wrenches of every diameter, paint brushes, drills and pliers. He has a band saw, a rotary saw and a table saw. And not just hand-tools. He’s got an excavator, a generator and a mobile elevator. He even owns one of those cool laser levels. You name the tool; our man has access to it.

But when he gets out to the work site, he finds himself all alone.  And all of those tools and all of those supplies will do him precious little good without some good coworkers.

Sometimes I feel like that aspiring home builder here at the Tenth Amendment Center.

Details

Farm Bill in Limbo, So is the Commerce Clause

Before Congress vacays for most of August, the 2008 Farm Bill will either be extended or replaced by a new 2012 version. One of the great debates to rise from this issue centers around Congressman Steve King’s (R-IA) amendment which nullifies state laws restricting trade with other states on issues of agriculture and food safety. Get this: some progressives are upset about a conservative citing the “power to regulate”! How does that work?

Typically, when a federal legislator invokes the Commerce Clause, some level of chicanery is afoot. Here, however, Steve King may actually have gotten it right. In 2008, California voters passed an initiative that in 2014 begins stricter regulations on egg production within the state as well as demanding the same level of animal protection from the other 49. The second half of that authority is what King recognizes as a violation of the Commerce Clause.

From steveking.house.gov:

Details

Nullification vs NDAA, Drones and more. Tenther News 07-31-12

This episode is made possible in part by the new Nullification Movie. Now available for order at tenthamendmentcenter.com/movie

*******

In a report by Joe Wolverton in the New American magazine, we learn that a Virginia state lawmaker is introducing a bill to strictly limit drone surveillance in his state.

In the report, Delegate Todd Gilbert stated,

“I believe, as do many Virginians across the political spectrum, that the use of drones by police and other government agencies should be strictly controlled by state laws that protect the privacy and civil rights of all Virginia residents. I will be introducing legislation in the 2013 General Assembly Session to i) prohibit the use of drones by law enforcement unless a warrant has been issued; ii) require that policies and procedures for the use of drones be adopted by legislative bodies in open meetings; iii) provide for public monitoring and accountability; and iv) mandate that pictures of individuals acquired by drones be destroyed unless they are part of an authorized investigation.”

Learn nore about this legislation – and the escalating deployment of drones for unconstitutional monitoring – when Joe Wolverton joins us on Tenther Radio. You can tune in this Wednesday night at 9pm Eastern and 6PM Pacific at radio.tenthamendmentcenter.com

Mike Maharrey reports in Michigan that a strong grassroots coalition around the state is expanding the push for nullification of the kidnapping provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Details