Why Doesn’t the Tenth Amendment Center Endorse Political Candidates?

politicianMany of the liberty-minded and tea party groups in Tennessee and across the country are gearing up for the 2014 elections. Groups and coalitions are forming up to “beat this guy” or “elect that gal.” This is all well and good. Getting good people who understand constitutional principles into office and keeping them there is a noble and important endeavor.

Not surprisingly, the Tenth Amendment Center gets constant requests to endorse candidates, or join coalitions to choose candidates to run for a particular office. A few months ago, a Tennessee state politician offered the Tenth Amendment Center $1,000 to support a campaign for federal office. Needless to say, the offer was flatly refused.

The Tenth Amendment Center does not endorse candidates or politicians, and it never will.

Here’s why.

People aren’t infallible.

First, people disappoint. With rare exceptions, even politicians that start out with the best of intentions and a commitment to their principles become corrupted over time with access to power. It’s a given that no human being is perfect or infallible. That’s why we maintain our allegiance to the ideals and principles of the Constitution – never politicians.

While we work with a elected officials to accomplish our goals, we are adamant about maintaining our objectivity and independence. Suppose a politician runs a good Tenth Amendment bill, then turns around and does something incredibly stupid. An endorsement implies that we support all aspects of a politician’s policy initiatives. But by maintaining our objectivity, we can praise elected officials when they do the right things, and call out politicians when they stray.  Keeping our distance from campaigns keeps us from getting caught in the predicament of having to ignoring bad behavior because of an endorsement.

Chasing every barking dog…

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A Follow-up on the Guarantee Clause

Regarding this post on the guarantee clause challenge to Colorado’s anti-tax initiative, Derek Muller writes:

I had two quick follow-ups, if you’re interested in exploring further. First, don’t you think that “the United States” might include the federal courts of the United States? That’s why I’m reluctant to peg nonjusticiability on the first Baker factor. Second, do you have any thoughts on Colorado’s claim that the Guarantee Clause cannot be enforced against the state governor, but must be enforced (if at all) against “the United States”?

My thoughts:  (1) In my initial post, I argued that the phrasing of the guarantee clause (“The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government”) indicates a textual commitment to the political branches, thus making the Colorado case a non-justiciable political question.  Professor Muller is right that the best response is that the federal courts are part of “the United States” and thus share the duty of enforcing the guarantee.  I’m not persuaded for several reasons.

First, the reference to “the United States” seems like a direction to the United States as a whole, in its sovereign capacity, not a direction to each individual component of the U.S. government.  That is similarly true of the word “guarantee”, which is not typically used to describe what courts do. And that conclusion seems particularly appropriate because the clause is potentially very intrusive on federalism; read broadly, it would make the federal courts overseers of the political systems of the states.  This is not likely a role the framers envisioned for the federal courts; rather, it is much more likely that they designed the guarantee as a mechanism that required the participation of the states collectively (through the Senate).

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The NSA is a Stalker

In a revelation that should be a surprise to nobody, The New York Times recently reported  that the NSA conducted a secret program that collected the cell phone data of Americans in order to track their location.

This program ran from 2010 to 2011 and used data from cell towers to track the location of users’ cell phones, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Essentially, the NSA was using phone data to virtually follow people.

An official familiar with the test project said its purpose was to see how the locational data would flow into the N.S.A.’s systems. While real data was used, it was never drawn upon in any investigation, the official said. It was unclear how many Americans’ locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward, according to the Times.

The program is now allegedly discontinued, but Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) does not feel that we know the whole truth about it.

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State Governors Admit Feds Need State Help With Most Federal Programs

This so-called government shutdown has provided a lot of political theater and more than its fare-share of silliness. But state governors reaffirmed a very important fact in the midst of the lunacy.

The federal government depends on states to get things done.

The National Governors Association sent a panicked letter to congressional leadership on Monday, begging them to avoid a shutdown. In this email, the governors affirm something we’ve been saying for a long time – the feds need the states.

States are partners with the federal government in implementing most federal programs. A lack of certainty at the federal level from a shutdown therefore translates directly into uncertainty and instability at the state level. [Emphasis added]

Did you catch that?  Most federal programs.

That means the states have a great deal of power!

States can refuse to serve as cooperative partners and SHUT THINGS DOWN!

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Wisconsin Nullifies Park Service Shutdown Order

Scott Walker is at it again. The governor of Wisconsin, who has previously publicly stated his intention to resist Obamacare, had his state’s Department of Natural Resources reject federal requests to close portions of parks in the wake of the federal government’s shutdown.  The Wisconsin DNR also reopened a boat launch that the federal government…

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big-brother-schools

NSA on Campus: Big Brother Is Recruiting Your Kids

NSA on Campus: Big Brother Is Recruiting Your KidsThe illegal spiers at the NSA are looking for impressionable youngsters to do their bidding, according to a recent press release.

The Air Force Institute of Technology at Ohio, Auburn University in Alabama, Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, and Mississippi State University have been given a CAE-Cyber Operations designation in the NSA’s desperate attempt “to cultivate more U.S. cyber professionals in an ever-changing global environment.”

The NSA is redoubling its efforts to create and maintain their Orwellian surveillance system, and they’re banking on compliance and assistance from America’s youth. Both students and facility will be targeted under this program by the rapacious government snoopers and recruited into the massive surveillance bureaucracy.

This is yet another example of big government using the higher education system to do their bidding. In another instance, the University of Maryland recently receive over $10 million from the Department of Homeland Security to produce ‘intelligence’ that classified advocates of decentralized government as potential terrorists. Thus, any type of partnership between big government and higher education must be looked at with an extreme amount of caution.

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What Government Shutdown? Stop the hysteria!

The fear with respect to our latest “government shutdown” is amazing. The hysteria peddlers using this terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know these two words emit such an extreme emotional response. It appears designed to frighten the least informed either for or against the other political party, thus the terminology and subsequent blame game.

So what does a government shut down look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No, they stay on the job and receive full pay as before. Does Congress fly out of Washington D. C. the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? Does the army come home and cease to protect us? NO! No, No! Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and cops, prisons, and teachers remain in place. Will I still get my mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit. Will I still get Social Security benefits? Yes! And food stamps? Yes. And unemployment compensation? Yes. And veterans’ benefits? Yes, at least until late October. And will there still be a functioning federal school lunch program? Yes, at least through October. (66 questions and answers about the government shutdown, by Gregory Korte, USA Today Oct. 1, 2013)

If this is so then why the hysteria? My point exactly!! Because these two words, “government shutdown,” and the possibility of missed food stamps send the largely uninformed into frenzy, they finally awake from their stupor. They largely know nothing, although they should, of the wrangling of government to protect them from themselves and oppose any proposed government diet that might reduce their daily feed. They worshipfully listen to the party and political leaders that are least likely to disturb this base, like defunding Obamacare.

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Nullification Movement Gets Some Solid Alternative Media Coverage

While the big-wigs hate our guts – all of them, that is – it’s nice to see an uptick in media coverage from alternative sources, online and other. In The New American magazine, Joe Wolverton reports on our new #NullifyNSA campaign: http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/16656-tenth-amendment-center-drafts-model-legislation-to-nullify-the-nsa ACLU SoCal cited TAC and quoted me in their press release on the…

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