Courting Nullification

Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion hopes the Oct.18, 2012 not-guilty verdict a Burlington County, N.J.  jury rendered in his pot distribution trial plants a seed for other medical marijuana patients and sparks a change in the law.

“I expected to get one juror, but I got 12.”

It was a case of jury nullification, which Forchion hopes will be utilized in other court cases involving marijuana possession.

Forchion is the first defendant in New Jersey to be allowed to present his use of medical marijuana as a defense in a criminal trial. He possessed a pound of marijuana that he claimed he used for medicinal purposes. (He owns a medical marijuana dispensary in California.) He admitted that he will still face sentencing in January 2013 for possession, but believes that he will get probation on that charge.

The concept of jury nullification is nothing new. In the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was charged with printing libelous material about William Cosby, the Governor of the Colony of New York, a clearly guilty Zenger was found not guilty by a jury who sympathized with him. This is clearly a case where jury nullification foreshadowed present-day law where one can openly say something about a public figure without fear of prosecution because said figure was “offended.”

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South Dakota will not be Creating a State Health Exchange

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said that South Dakota will not be creating a state health insurance exchange.  This comes amidst several other governors following suit.

Gov. Daugaard said that “After extensive research and analysis, it has become very apparent that operating our own exchange will simply not work for South Dakota.”  Daugaard also said he opposes the federal law, “Because it is a large expansion of government that does little about the rising cost of health care.”

While this is not a full nullification of the Affordable Care Act, it’s a start.  The law only appropriates funds for the exchanges if it is created by the state.  If enough refuse, it will put much pressure on the federal government.   This may cause the unconstitutional federal mandate to become unsustainable.

Gov. Daugaard continued by saying he will not be increasing fees, or taxes to fund the exchanges.

“The federal law requires exchanges to be self-sustaining by 2015, which means we would either have to charge a fee to South Dakota citizens using the exchange, or increase taxes, neither of which I am willing to do.”

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Andrew Cuomo, Get a Clue!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is requesting $30 billion in federal aid to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, which heavily damaged parts of New York City and Long Island.

“The administration will seek a supplemental appropriation to cover infrastructure, repair and emergency costs beyond those normally covered by federal emergency aid.”

Cuomo  added…

“I’ve asked for 100 percent reimbursement, The equity and the fairness is inarguable in this case, It will probably be a regional plan including New Jersey and Connecticut, with money for infrastructure, housing, local governments and small business.”

Generally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse up to 75 percent of public costs, with the state and local authorities covering the remaining 25 percent. There have been cases, such as Hurricane Katrina, where the federal government has reimbursed up to 90 percent of costs.

DEAR GOVERNOR, you should dry the water from behind your ears, wipe the milk from your mouth and realize you are playing big boy games now, the kind your dad used to play. And your motives are as transparent as his were.  You’re apparently trying to set a precedent, not only for your state, but all of the other states, to rely completely on the federal government to solve all of their problems.

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Why I’ve become a foreign policy non-interventionist

Over the last few of weeks, a couple of people have asked me why I’ve turned into such a foreign policy non-interventionist. Or as one friend put it, “What turned you into such a bleeding-heart?”

To put the question into context, I was once quite the hawk. I supported the first Gulf War to “liberate Kuwait,” I urged on the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, and I stood behind G.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. And I’m not going to lie, I still love military hardware, I respect the toughness and dedication of our warriors, and I am awed by projections of force.

But over the last few years, I’ve struggled to develop a cohesive political philosophy that also encompasses my faith in Christ. And I’ve realized, at times, my previous “conservative” political viewpoints contradicted the tenants of my faith, even occasionally contradicting each other.

After a great deal of reading and thought, I’ve settled upon the non-aggression principle to guide my political philosophy. Simply put, I find the use of coercive force in a non-defensive context morally objectionable.  This principle provides a moral constant against which I can evaluate both domestic and foreign policy.

With that in mind, it becomes clear why I can no longer support U.S. inverventionalist foreign policy.

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States are Rejecting Exchanges, 4 more states looking to Nullify. And more. Tenther News: 11-19-12

This week’s episode is made possible in part by the new book, Our Last Hope. The status quo has failed you – voting the bums out is a failure as a strategy. This book offers a new path – one that is already winning. Get it online at tenthamendmentcenter.com/ourlasthope/

States around the country are refusing to implement Health Exchanges as mandated under Obamacare, the so-called Affordable Care Act. Rick Perry has said Texas will not implement. So has Governors Haley in South Carolina, Parnell in Alaska, Deal, Kasich in Ohio – and others.

Maine’s Governor Paul LePage took what appears to be the strongest stand in opposition when he sent a letter that said, “Because the guidance issued in the August 13, 2012 request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not legally binding, the State of Maine will not be submitting a Declaration Letter. Instead, this letter serves as the state’s position regarding this issue. Since the ACA was signed into law, the State of Maine, along with several other states, has repeated on a number of occasions and we continue to believe that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans.”

Some Obamacare opponents still wonder what these steps will actually achieve. While refusing to create an exchange won’t eliminate the Act, it will certainly create heavy logistical and financial difficulties for the federal government. The idea behind the refusal is simple: If the federal government had the resources and the manpower to do all this on its own, it wouldn’t have attempted to mandate the states into covering such massive costs. When enough states refuse to comply, the theory goes, it’ll create a burden that could cause the feds to reconsider, as it has done repeatedly since 2008 over the Bush-Era Real ID act.

At very least, even if not successful in bringing down the Affordable Care Act, resisting implementation at every turn possible holds the high moral ground. As Governor LePage seems to be indicating as well when he said, “Maine will not be complicit in the degradation of our nation’s health care system.”

But make no doubt about it, while this is a good first step, it is only a first step. As Tenth Amendment Center communications director, Mike Maharrey, put it, “Hopefully, mass refusal will not only gum up the system, but set the stage for more aggressive efforts to block this unconstitutional and economically untenable act.”

For information on how to deal with the next step, you can download the TAC’s FREE 18-page organizer’s toolkit at tenthamendmentcenter.com/nullifyobamacare

In other news, Joel Poindexter reports that in the wake of two states – Washington and Colorado – flat out defying the federal government’s war on weed by fully legalizing the plant, more states will be considering legislation to do the same in 2013.

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