This episode is made possible in part by the new Nullification Movie. Now available for order at tenthamendmentcenter.com/movie
From Tad DeHaven of the CATO Institute. Ranting Against Big Government, But Voting for It
Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) recently made some news by unleashing an oratorical blast against the stifling regulatory regime in Washington. It’s good stuff, but, unfortunately, Rep. Kelly’s anti-big government credentials are questionable.
The Pennsylvania freshman Republican is a member of the so-called “Tea Party Class.” His campaign websitesays the following:
America needs to have a business conversation. Along with many of his colleagues in the 2010 freshman class, Rep. Kelly has played a role in changing the debate from “How much do we grow government” to “How much do we shrink government.” If nothing else is accomplished in the 112th Congress, both sides of the aisle are now acknowledging that we cannot continue to bankrupt the future for our children and grandchildren. Mike has supported, voted for and co-sponsored a number of pieces of legislation that aim to reduce the size and scope of government. As long as he is serving the 3rd Congressional District, Mike will continue to be an unwavering voice for fiscal responsibility in Washington.
But, as DeHaven notes, far from being an unwavering voice, On six recent votes Kelly voted for big government every time:
-He voted against an amendment that would have terminated the Economic Development Administration.
-He voted against an amendment that would have defunded the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program, a new corporate welfare program requested by the Obama administration.
-He voted to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
-He voted against an amendment that would have terminated the Essential Air Service subsidy program.
-He voted against an amendment that would have shut down the Department of Energy’s Title 17 loan guarantee program—the program that gave birth to Solyndra.
-He voted against an amendment that would have terminated the Community Development Block Grant program.
So much for walking the walk…
From Nick Hankoff, the federal farm bill is still in limbo. And 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”
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.
“I am pleased that the Committee passed my amendment, the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA) because states are entering into trade protectionism by requiring cost prohibitive production methods in other states,” said King. “PICA blocks states from requiring ‘free range’ eggs or ‘free range’ pork but covers all agriculture products listed in section 206 of the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946. By 2014 California will require only ‘free range’ eggs be sold and the impact of their large market would compel producers in every other state to invest billions to meet the California standard of “means of production.”
Regular readers at Tenth Amendment Center may already know the originalist interpretation of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3.
King deserves credit for being correct on the Commerce Clause here, but is Steve King as outraged by Gonzalez vs. Raich as he is about California chicken-raising standards that hurt his top donors in corporate farming?
Hankoff answers that question with a simple “I doubt it.”
Joe Wolverton reports in the new american magazine on another constitutional violation from the courts.
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.
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.
There are, of course, far reaching implications of such a decision. As we reported recently, a person will not know, and perhaps will never know, if he has been the target of surveillance on the part of the federal government. Assuming, as many a savvy American would, that the federal government is liable to eventually want to monitor and record your personal electronic communication, is there not an expectation that when the cellphone is off the surveillance is suspended?
Wolverton notes that the courts certainly are fallible. He writes, “At times like this when the courts, Congress, and the president form a unholy alliance bent on obliterating the Constitution and establishing a country where every citizen is perpetually under the never-blinking eye of the government, it would be well to remember the words written by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist, No. 33. Therein, Hamilton explained that acts of the federal government exceeding its constitutional powers and violating the inherent rights of the people are not law, but are “merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.”
Correct once again Mr Wolverton.