Why So Much Faith in Supreme Court Justices?

A quick reading of the decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) should cause any reasonable person to question the assumption of judicial infallibility, and the wisdom of granting judges the definitive and final say in all cases. In essence, the Supreme Court declared black people inferior and that even free blacks were not citizens under the Constitution. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roger Taney argued that the framers of the Constitution held blacks were, “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

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Judicial Watch: Partisan Hacks on the Constitution?

The folks at the conservative legal blog Judicial Watch are hopping mad that the Obama Administration and their buddies at the ACLU are waving the white flag of surrender in the drug war.

Wait. What?

According to a Jun 10 blog post titled ‘DOJ Takes ACLU’s Lead on Pot Shops; Ignore the Law‘ which looks like it may have been written in bizarro world.

“The fact remains that federal law prohibits [marijuana] and therefore it’s a slap in the face to law and order that these illicit enterprises are surfacing around the country, especially in the area surrounding the U.S. government. A national news report points out that two new pot businesses will operate in the shadow of Congress and will mark one of the boldest moves yet for the nation’s marijuana movement.”

This possibility, however contrived, horrifies the ‘law and order’ conservatives over at Judicial Watch. So much so that they are willing to trample the Constitution to continue their “war” on a plant. The so-called “War on Drugs” rests on the same constitutional authority as most of the other American wars over the last 70 years.

None.

Question me? Consider this: why did the federal government need a constitutional amendment to fight its war on alcohol?

The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana.

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Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth About NSA Spying?

by Ron Paul

In 2001, the Patriot Act opened the door to US government monitoring of Americans without a warrant. It was unconstitutional, but most in Congress over my strong objection were so determined to do something after the attacks of 9/11 that they did not seem to give it too much thought. Civil liberties groups were concerned, and some of us in Congress warned about giving up our liberties even in the post-9/11 panic. But at the time most Americans did not seem too worried about the intrusion.

This complacency has suddenly shifted given recent revelations of the extent of government spying on Americans. Politicians and bureaucrats are faced with serious backlash from Americans outraged that their most personal communications are intercepted and stored. They had been told that only the terrorists would be monitored. In response to this anger, defenders of the program have time and again resorted to spreading lies and distortions. But these untruths are now being exposed very quickly.

In a Senate hearing this March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Senator Ron Wyden that the NSA did not collect phone records of millions of Americans. This was just three months before the revelations of an NSA leaker made it clear that Clapper was not telling the truth. Pressed on his false testimony before Congress, Clapper apologized for giving an “erroneous” answer but claimed it was just because he “simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.” Wow.

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First Step to Nullify Indefinite Detention in Coos County, Oregon

Last week, Coos County, Ore., commissioners passed a resolution opposing indefinite detention provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act.

WHEREAS it appears to the Board of Commissioners the subsections 1021 and 1022 of Title X, Subtitle D of the NDAA authorizes indefinite military detention of persons the U.S. government suspects of involvement with terrorism, including U.S. citizens on American soil;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the board of commissioners oppose the above-described provisions of the NDAA.

The resolution also asks the sheriff to “develop and implement a policy consistent with this resolution.”

The measure passed 2-1, and Sheriff Craig Zanni said he would sign on.

“It may not be as strong as some people like, but I think it works,” Zanni said.

Coos County joins a chorus of local governments across the U.S. opposing federal kidnapping. The commission took a strong first step. The resolutions sends an emphatic message to Salem, where state lawmakers have struggled to move state level indefinite detention nullification through the legislature.

Now activists need to seize the momentum and push for a binding ordinance prohibiting any county cooperation with federal indefinite detention. And other counties and cities in Oregon need to follow suit. Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts at indefinite detention in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide  practical protections for their citizens, they will send a strong message to state legislators and put the pressure on to nullify federal kidnapping at the state level in the next legislative session.

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Ohio Action Alert: Time to Nullify Indefinite Detention Locally

Sources indicate a bill to nullify indefinite detention in Ohio is in the works. That’s good news! But you don’t have to wait for state lawmakers to take action. You can jump start the movement  to protect against federal kidnapping in Ohio right now, today, by working right where you live.

Government bodies at the local level can step into the fray. Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts at indefinite detention in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide  practical protections for their citizens, they will send a strong message to Columbus.

When you build a network of support from the ground up, it will create a strong mechanism to demand that your state legislature will do the same.  One step, and one community at a time, you can nullify indefinite detention.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

1.  Contact your local legislators – County, City, Town - and urge them to introduce model legislation in support of the Liberty Preservation Act.

local ordinance here:
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/liberty-preservation-act/

2.  Become a local leader.   If you’re dedicated to stopping federally sanctioned kidnapping, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to not only act on your own, but to organize and lead others to help support these efforts. 

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Utah Aids Federal Lawlessness

The state of Utah has sided with the feds against the Constitution by choosing to enforce a “law” that denies gun rights to sick people.

“Utah, complying with the federal Gun Control Act, denies or revokes concealed-carry firearms permits for anyone with a prescription for marijuana. While Utah doesn’t allow marijuana to treat ailments, eight of the 31 states that recognize Utah’s concealed firearms permit do,” The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Utah does not allow for the use of medical marijuana, but eight of the 31 states that recognize its concealed firearms permit do. Utah’s permits are extremely popular outside of the state.

The federal law does not deny conceal permits to those taking prescription opiates or other drugs.

This situation perfectly illustrates the callousness and idiocy of federal law. Because a seriously ill patient’s doctor chooses to treat her with cannabis (tremendously beneficial for a whole host of ailments, despite what the DEA says), the feds deny a constitutionally protected right.  Meanwhile, if a doctor prescribes pharmaceutical pills that kill thousands of people per year, are highly addictive and have far more negative side-effects than marijuana, they are free to hold a concealed carry permit, unless they are suspected of abuse.

Talk about a horrific and ridiculous double-standard.

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Smashing Myths: Southern States and Nullification

Slavery was a morally corrupt and abhorrent institution that should have never existed.

No question. No debate.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about nullification’s history in the Southern states prior to the Civil War.

Over time, a Paul Bunyan type myth has grown suggesting that the Southern states were strong advocates of nullification as a means to protect their institution of slavery. In 2011, Rachel Maddow presented a news segment on her show about nullification. She stated that John C. Calhoun was a proponent of both slavery and nullification, more than implying the two are linked.

If that was the case, it would be pretty gross.

But it’s not.

Southern states never attempted to nullify anything in defense of slavery.

There is no dispute that Calhoun defended slavery. He was a slaver. In that sense, he’s a reprehensible character. And he also advocated for nullification.

However, Calhoun didn’t suggest using nullification as a means to maintain slavery. During the Nullification Crisis, Calhoun advocated the nullification doctrine as a means to protect Southern states against high tariffs that were impacting the Southern exports. Again, he advocated nullification against tariffs not for the promotion of slavery. During her televised segment, Maddow never mentioned the word, “tariffs.” Not once.

To demonize nullification because a slaver advocated the principle for something unrelated to slavery is nothing more than a textbook ad hominem attack.

If you bought into that false narrative, you should be forgiven. After all, conventional wisdom links the two. But now you know the truth. And if your mistaken perception that nullification was all about slavery led you to abhor the doctrine, the actual history of nullification should lead you to embrace the principles with abandon!

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Liberty’s Backlash

Last week, Justin Amash, the two-term libertarian Republican congressman from Michigan, joined with John Conyers, the 25-term liberal Democratic congressman from the same state, to offer an amendment to legislation funding the National Security Agency (NSA). If enacted, the Amash-Conyers amendment would have forced the government’s domestic spies when seeking search warrants to capture Americans’ phone calls, texts and emails first to identify their targets and produce evidence of their terror-related activities before a judge may issue a warrant. The support they garnered had a surprising result that stunned the Washington establishment.

It almost passed.

The final vote, in which the Amash-Conyers amendment was defeated by 205 to 217, was delayed for a few hours by the House Republican leadership, which opposed the measure. The Republican leadership team, in conjunction with President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, needed more time for arm-twisting so as to avoid a humiliating loss.

But the House rank-and-file did succeed in sending a message to the big-government types in both parties: Nearly half of the House of Representatives has had enough of government spying and then lying about it, and understands that spying on every American simply cannot withstand minimal scrutiny or basic constitutional analysis.

The president is deeply into this and no doubt wishes he wasn’t. He now says he welcomed the debate in the House on whether his spies can have all they want from us or whether they are subject to constitutional requirements for their warrants. Surely he knows that the Supreme Court has ruled consistently since the time of the Civil War that the government is always subject to the Constitution, wherever it goes and whatever it does.

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‘Stupid’ ObamaCare Provision Offends America’s Highest Caste: Congress

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

ObamaCare’s gravest sin may be that it has offended America’s highest caste: members of Congress and their staffs. Thanks to an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the law provides:

the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are created under this Act…or offered through an Exchange established under this Act…

In effect, ObamaCare throws members of Congress out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (where most members and staff obtain health insurance) and offers them no other choice but to enroll in coverage through one of ObamaCare’s Exchanges. But here’s the kicker: though the federal government currently pays thousands of dollars of the cost of the congresscritters’ FEHBP coverage, neither ObamaCare nor any other federal law authorizes the feds to apply that money toward a congresscritter’s Exchange premiums. Today’s New York Times reports:

David M. Ermer, a lawyer who has represented insurers in the federal employee program for 30 years, said, “I do not think members of Congress and their staff can get funds for coverage in the exchanges under existing law.”

So ObamaCare essentially delivers a pay cut to members and staff in the neighborhood of $5,000 for single employees and $10,000 for families. 

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What It Means to Be Sovereign

Declaration of Independence - with Jefferson statueGovernment in the United States requires the understanding of three terms: Self-government, sovereignty, and social compact.

Sovereignty is the inherent and independent right to do all that is necessary to govern oneself. In the United States, the People are sovereign. In fact, only the individual is truly sovereign, because only the people, and not government, have inherent rights to life, liberty, and property, along with the right to protect and preserve it.

In the United States, we enjoy self-government; that is, government originates from the people, for the people – “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Government arises out of social compact. In other words, because man is a social creature, he forms together into communities. And in order that communities run smoothly and common services be provided to protect everyone’s rights and property, governments are instituted. And so, individuals delegate some of their sovereign power of self-defense and self-preservation to a government. That is why the bulk of government is always supposed to be closest to the individual, where it is most responsible and most accountable. Our rights and liberties are most protected when people have the frequent opportunity to see their elected officials and look them in the eye, and when those officials see a personal story behind acts of legislation, etc.

This is exactly what our Declaration of Independence tells us about our individual sovereignty. In the first paragraph, we are told that our sovereignty is based on Natural Law and God’s Law – “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.” The only rightful power our government has is the power that the People – by the consent of the governed and according to the precise language and intent of our Constitution – have temporarily delegated to it. In that grant of power, in a system based on the Sovereignty of the Individual, there is always a mechanism to take that power back. That is why the Declaration explicitly states that the People have the right to “alter or abolish” their government (when it become destructive of its aims). In fact, that right is so important and so fundamental, it is listed with the other inherent rights that individuals possess. In other words, what the Declaration is saying is that the People of the “united States” have the right to reclaim the sovereign power that they temporarily delegated to that government to govern and protect their liberties.

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