Talk to Your Kids about Nullification

(Dedicated to Gabby)

A couple weeks ago, I was texting with my daughter, getting caught up on what was going on in our lives, when she mentioned being on grand jury duty.  The discussion inevitably, with a Tenther for a Dad, went to jury nullification.  I felt like a failure as a parent when she told me that she was not familiar with the concept.  It was then that I knew I had to work hard to make up for lost time.

There are many things that are important to discuss with your kids if you are a parent.  Some of them are things that, if you don’t talk to them, I can guarantee someone else will, such as drugs.  I have to confess, I tried to find a link to an old PSA from when I was a teen, but had no luck.  Other things, if you don’t talk to your kids, there’s a good possibility no one will.  Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address spoke of a new patriotism, and urged the youth of America:

All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ‘em know and nail ‘em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

Jury nullification fits into that latter category.  Better late than never, I explained how the jury has the right not only to decide based on the facts of the case, but based on the law itself and whether or not that law is just and/or constitutional.  I then proceeded to share with her some of the history of jury nullification, from William Penn’s trial in 17th Century England to the NJ Weedman case last year.  As I explained the cases, I was told that was, “interesting.”  I replied, “And empowering as well.”

Details

A Certain Amount of Voter Apathy Can Be Good

“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires in the hearts of men.” - often attributed to Samuel Adams

It has been nearly three weeks since the 2013 New Jersey primary election, a date so uneventful it would have gone barely noticed, despite a gubernatorial primary on the ballot.  The front runners in both major parties won by enormous margins, and most state and local elected offices had no real primary.  If one saw more than one name for a position, it was most likely because it was something like county freeholder or a municipal council position that usually says to vote for any two or three.  

Newton’s first rule of motion certainly applies not only to physics, but to politics as well.  Sure, we New Jerseyans show up every four years for the presidential election, but voters at rest on primary day tend to stay at rest on primary day.  What if somebody told you this voter apathy could be the liberty movement’s greatest asset to gaining a foothold in New Jersey politics?  For Tenthers hoping to shape the direction of their parties, be they Republicans, Democrats or independents, now may be the chance to start gearing up for a future run, not so much next year, when Congressional elections may increase voter turnout, but in 2015.  That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to find good, constitutional candidates next year for local offices, or contact this year’s candidates to encourage them to embrace nullification.  Doing so now could lay the groundwork for solid local candidates in two years.

Scott Grossman, Republican primary challenger to incumbent Governor Chris Christie, pointed out that voters in the primaries have twenty times more voting power than those in the general because of the difference in voter turnout.  It makes sense.  In an election where there are 100 people voting, getting one person to vote for you gains you 1% of the vote.  If you have 2,000 people voting, one vote gets you 0.05% of the vote.  If both people receive 51 votes in their respective scenarios, the former is elected, while the latter is up to a whopping 2.55%.

Details

Liberty, Raw and Natural

In Minnesota, a man accused of the illegal sale of raw milk was acquitted, not because he did not violate Minnesota state law, but because the jury decided the law itself was unjust, and therefore no law at all.  The story by JG Vibes was reported in September of 2012, but is certainly worth reviewing as a blueprint for using the power of the jury to nullify unjust federal, state and local laws.

The concept of jury nullification is older than the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation and even the Declaration of Independence.  In 1670 (h/t Dr. Julian Heicklen), William Penn and William Mead were out on trial as Quakers for “unlawful assembly,” as Quakers did not have the freedom to worship in England.  The jury refused to convict the two men, even under orders from the judge to go without food or drink until a guilty verdict was delivered.  After further refusal to convict, the jurors were jailed, but their sentence was overturned on appeal in the Common Court of Pleas.

Details

Oklahoma Bill Would Nullify Agenda 21

A bill in the Oklahoma House that would nullify United Nations Agenda 21 was passed by the State’s Rights Committee, yet another step in that state’s attempts to resist implementation of the international agreement.  The committee vote was 9-4 (see how representatives voted here)

The bill, HB1412 now has to pass through the House Calendar Committee before it can be brought up for a full vote on the House floor.

The Senate version of the bill, SB23, was introduced December 12, 2012, and referred to the Energy Committee on February 5, 2013.  So far, it has received no votes.  If passed, participation by any state, county or municipal agency in Agenda 21 or its local offshoot, ICLEI, would be prohibited.

HB1412 states, in part:

The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe upon or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to United Nations Agenda 21/Sustainable Development and any of its subsequent modifications, a resolution adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and commonly known as the Earth Summit and reconfirmed in its Rio+20 Conference held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Oklahoma Constitution.

Objections to Agenda 21 include a variety of concerns, including the violation of personal property rights, the erosion of state and local authority, and the binding of the United States to international agreements that would violate our Constitution.  

Details

A Look Ahead – Time To Plan

As the year 2012 draws to a close, the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center is looking ahead to 2013 knowing there is a lot of work to do.  A few short weeks ago, we gave thanks for the victories we achieved due to the hard work of activists in our group as well as other organizations.  We can add to that a second veto of the health care exchanges, which could fall under Mike Maharrey’s “few slices of warm, buttered bread” analogy in this week’s Tenther Radio.  We’d rather the unconditional veto on constitutional grounds, but we’ll take what we can get for the moment.

Governor Christie‘s veto of the health exchanges can be used as a turning point to take control of the ObamaCare debate in this very blue state over the next year.  We need a renewed push for the Federal Healthcare Nullification Act in the State Legislature.  Governor Christie spoke of the control the federal government gives to the states over the health care exchanges.  The focus needs to be on urging state legislators of both parties to TAKE control of health care reform in our state, making decisions within New Jersey and out of the control of DC.  Even if the debate gets vicious, let it occur in Trenton and in our local communities.

Another area that needs a great deal of effort is opposing the NDAA through the Liberty Preservation Act.  Despite the claims of Feinstein Amendment supporters in the 2013 NDAA, the final product is highly unlikely to have much if any protection against the indefinite detention clauses in the 2012 NDAA.  We will need to push for those protections in Trenton, as well as the county and municipal levels.  Those who are able must get to their Town Council and County Freeholder meetings to make sure these issues are discussed.  County Sheriffs will be useful if we can win them over.  For issues like this, there is the possibility the State Legislature and Governor won’t do anything unless they see action at the local level.  We will be looking for volunteers and other organizations to help with this outreach.  See our facebook page to join the planning .

Details

What Do We Get In Exchange, Governor?

Just two days remain until New Jersey’s deadline for Governor Christie to make a decision on the health care exchanges outlined in the Affordable Care Act.  The federal deadline was to be December 16.  Our State Legislature, in the interests of our State’s autonomy, told DC they couldn’t tell us what to do, and then proceeded to move the deadline ten days earlier.  I guess Trenton showed HHS who’s boss around here.

As in the case of the previous health insurance exchanges, Governor Christie has been very vague regarding what he intends to do.  There is the option of setting up a state exchange, a joint federal/state exchange or letting the federal government operate the exchange themselves.

On the one hand, as quoted in northjersey.com last month, he has said “if ObamaCare is going to be the law of the land,” he’s “going to comply.”  I wonder how many Governors in the North said that about the Fugitive Slave Act in the 1850s? And does this also mean you’re planning on backing off the push for sports betting?  Those were two federal acts masquerading as the law of the land.

On the other hand, he has said “[the White House] won’t answer our questions, so I can’t evaluate how much this will cost my State.”  How about our health care freedom, Governor?  Is that costly enough to say no to the exchanges?

Details

Twelfthers?

It is amazing that during Thanksgiving week, there are still some obsessing publicly over the presidential election earlier this month.  A recent article from World Net Daily details how the Electoral College could be prevented from selecting a president.  To add to a Tenther’s list of reasons to be thankful, let’s include no longer being wrapped up in this nonsense.

Technically, Judson Phillips is correct as he outlines the ways in which the Twelfth Amendment can prevent President Obama from serving another term.  In order for the Electoral Votes to be certified, a quorum of two-thirds of the 50 states must participate in the Electoral College.  If seventeen of the twenty-four states can be persuaded to do this, the Electoral College will not have a quorum and will be unable to renew Obama’s lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Phillips calls on readers in what could call dubbed the “Twelfther” movement to contact the Secretaries of State in the states Romney carried and tell them not to participate in the Electoral College in the hopes of denying Democratic states the necessary quorum.

If the Electoral College does not choose a president, the decision constitutionally goes to the Congress, with the Republican-dominated House being likely to choose Romney as president and the enlarged Democrat majority in the Senate reelecting Vice President Joe Biden to his post.  If that happens, what then?

Phillips admits Romney would not be a great president, but he would be better than Obama.  How much better, in terms of results, would a Romney presidency be given the current makeup of Congress?  Let’s explore this.

Details

Do the Secessionists Have As Much Courage As the Nullifiers?

By now, anybody who even casually follows the Tenther movement and the liberty movement in general has likely heard about the secession petitions circulating.  Yesterday, I had personally gone from only hearing about Louisiana, to hearing my State of New Jersey had one too, to hearing the count was up to twenty States.  That could be an old number by the time this makes it into the Tenth Amendment Center blog.

The language of these petitions is interesting, as they “ask” the federal government to let said States peaceably withdraw from the United States.  Although I confess to having signed, originally for Louisiana upon first finding out, and then for New Jersey, it was more out of curiosity than anything else.

Apparently, any State circulating these petitions requires a minimum of 25,000 signatures within thirty days in order to receive a White House response.  Texas has nearly double the required signatures, and Louisiana is likely a day away from hitting the threshold.  Several states are beyond halfway there.  Check to see if your State is on the list.  While you’re at it, go ahead and sign, so you can get your response.  The most likely response from the White House is a familiar word to anybody in the nullification movement, “No.”

Details

Don’t Miss the Debates. The Important Ones!

In an election year such as this, there is a sense in the air that the 2012 elections could be the most important ever.  However, it is not for the reasons the Republican and Democratic establishments like to tell us.  Whether Obama is reelected or Romney successfully makes him a one term President, whether current majorities in the House and Senate remain, one chamber changes parties, or they reverse, the way of DC will remain the same.  Authoritarian, top-down rule will be the name of the game.

So why is this year so important?  Why shouldn’t we miss the debates?  Because I’m not talking about the Presidential debates, even the third party ones that allow some discussion outside the “acceptable spectrum” as Tom Woods has called it.  We also have local debates and elections.  County and municipal elections will be occurring throughout New Jersey, and we need a major change, starting as locally as possible.

I personally will be attending the South Plainfield Borough Council debates.

Details