Agenda 21 – Another Enemy of the Constitution

Most of the Tenth Amendment Center‘s efforts since its founding have been focused on opposing the federal government’s usurpation of state, local and individual powers. There are certainly plenty of actions on the part of the federal government in the past century that could fall under that category, with both major parties sharing culpability. Unconstitutional wars, the war on drugs, massive government expansion into health care, education, agriculture…the list could go on and on. However, another threat to local, state and even national sovereignty comes from the international community, specifically the United Nations.

Coming out of the 1992 Rio Summit, Agenda 21 seeks to increase the UN’s power over areas of life ranging from farming practices to housing, all under the guise of environmentally sustainable development. What Agenda 21 really amounts to is a threat to private property rights, free markets and local self-government. Ironically, many towns have been gradually implementing Agenda 21 at the local level through ICLEI, which is an organization of local governments for sustainability. Like many power grabs, it is presented as being for the good of the people, but if one looks at the results of centralization of power at the national level, much less the international level, it is difficult to believe their rhetoric about saving the earth will yield any environmental benefit.


New Jersey Senate vs the TSA

Two pieces of legislation have been reintroduced in the 2012 legislative session of the New Jersey State Senate, both dealing with the Transportation Security Administration’s intrusive procedures adopted at airports in the past year.

The first, SR12 (SR91 in the previous session), is a non-binding resolution urging the TSA to terminate its recent changes to its pat-down procedures and enjoys bipartisan support. The Primary Sponsor is Michael J. Doherty (R-Washington). Diane B. Allen (R – Burlington), Richard J. Codey (D – Livingston), Steven V. Oroho (R-Sparta) and Jeff Van Drew (D – Cape May) have signed on as cosponsors.

The previous legislative session featured a similar resolution in the General Assembly (AR127), but so far,  no record of a companion bill exists in the lower chamber.

The resolution alludes to the invasiveness of TSA pat-down procedures.

“Reports have indicated that in some instances overzealous TSA employees have carried out these new procedures in a manner sufficiently aggressive to rise to the level of an inappropriate invasion of personal privacy, from which an individual would ordinarily be protected under the laws of this State.”

The second bill, S277 (S2509 in the previous session), specifies that certain images generated by body scans violate State statutes prohibiting invasion of privacy, pornography and endangerment of child welfare under certain circumstances. A federal, state or local agent found in violation of this bill, if it becomes a law, would not be considered immune from civil or criminal liability resulting from the creation of such an image.


New Jersey Assembly Democrats – Tenthers on Education?

Recently, I came across an article on my Facebook page that dealt with local choice in education on the issue of charter schools. The author, Marilyn Joyce Lehren brings up some very good points about the people of the town being able to decide whether or not they want charter schools in their community, as well as what standards should be applied. The interesting part of how I got to the article was the group that had shared it on their wall, none other than the New Jersey Assembly Democrats.

Now the New Jersey Democrats as a whole have very often been unfriendly to the Tenther agenda in general. While I’m on the topic, many New Jersey Republicans haven’t exactly been noble defenders of state, local, family and individual sovereignty. Trenton, in this very blue state, has generally been very…let’s just say “involved” in the daily lives of New Jerseyans, and has been very helpful to DC in staying “involved” as well.

No doubt the legislators in our state are not truly interested in local control. Rather, they use the argument to stifle the charter school movement and preserve the teachers’ unions’ power and one size fits all education. Still, there are some compelling arguments in the article and from Democrat lawmakers themselves if severed from their known loyalties.


Before We Can Stand Up Against the Federal Bureaucracies…

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center

We the People of New Jersey have to get over our addictions to our own at the state level. While the Constitution does not forbid the several States (or the People) from setting up massive regulatory structures that exhaust the People physically, emotionally and financially in trying to comply, that does not mean it is necessarily a good idea. For example, Romneycare, despite Michele Bachmann’s accusation of being “unconstitutional,” is not. However, it added considerably to the bureaucratic structure in Massachusetts, which qualifies it as a bad idea in my opinion.

We in New Jersey are facing a similar struggle with something that, while not necessarily unconstitutional according to the United States Constitution, is a bad idea for our struggling educational system. A bill introduced by Valerie Huttle in the General Assembly, A4372, and its identical bill in the Senate courtesy of Loretta Weinberg, S3105, would increase state government involvement in the lives of 42,000 home-schooled children and their families. The synopsis of the bill, “Requires medical examination and submission of student work portfolios for home-schooled children; provides that children under supervision of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) may not be home-schooled.”

The question we should be asking in our heads as we pick up the phone to call our state officials to oppose this is, “Why?”


Nullification? It’s a Gamble!

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center

This election year was one of mixed results for the Nullification and Tenth Amendment movement. In some states, initiatives were on the ballots that, in one way or another, sought to remove the federal government from the decision making process on an assortment of issues. Some met with success, while others failed.

Ohioans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Issue 3, which nullifies ObamaCare’s health insurance mandate. While this is only a small part of the health care reform bill, it is a beginning. Hopefully, state legislatures, local governments and the people of their respective states will begin dissecting and nullifying the rest of the 2,000 page monstrosity.

Mississippi’s Personhood initiative (26) failed by a roughly 14 point margin. Had it passed, it would have recognized the unborn as persons from the moment of conception in their state. There was disappointment among Pro-Lifers, particularly Pro-Life Tenthers, that the measure did not pass. I would remind them that the firstTenth Amendment Resolution introduced in New Hampshire in 2009 failed in a vote that was expected to pass, given New Hampshire’s reputation for being very much its own state.

The people of the State of New Jersey re-elected incumbents in almost all the state legislative races. However, perhaps unaware they were nullifying, they voted yes on a non-binding initiative stating New Jersey should pass a law allowing sports betting in Atlantic City. While some would claim the feds have the final say, the first question asked in response should be, “Why?”


Nullification: It’s Not Just for the States Anymore

…in fact, it never really was.

One of the most common objections I hear in any discussion about States’ rights, Nullification and Interposition is, “Well, what about Jim Crow and segregation?”  (p.s. Jim Crow laws existed in Union states such as California and North Dakota, so it’s not just the South) For a while, my most common reply was, “OK, so you’re going to shoot down the entire concept of Nullification, which resisted the Alien Sedition ActsFugitive Slave Lawsoverreaching federal drug lawsa Big Brother national ID card, etc. over one abuse of it?” To be honest, in my personal opinion, there has been a second, that of sanctuary states and cities in violation of federal immigration law, but that is again my personal opinion.  It is interesting, however that many big government types in DC in both parties who would bring up Jim Crow actually like those sanctuary states and cities.  In addition, there is a recent potential third, as North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue (I could make a series of jokes about her being “chicken,” but I’ll save that for friendly gatherings) proposed suspending Congressional elections in 2012 to “focus on the economy.”

However, one should look at Jim Crow and segregation as a legitimate concern when discussing Nullification. After all, the federal government Constitutionally banned slavery after the Civil War, which was one good thing to come out of an awful war (again, in my opinion, the only good thing, which could have come about in more peaceful ways). The Reconstruction begun under Lincoln and Johnson took a more vengeful turn during the Radical Reconstruction. Congress refused to seat elected representation from the South. When southern states passed black codes attempting to deny blacks voting rights, and in some cases reimpose a de facto slavery, the federal government intervened, eventually dividing up the South into military occupied zones. It was an ugly mess, and from freedom’s point of view, nobody was right.


Federal Appeals Court to Rule on a State Election?

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center This is a comment I had posted in response to an article on regarding Carl Lewis’ run for New Jersey State Senate. I am unsure whether the author, Matt Friedman, supports or opposes this action, but felt the issue definitely required a response: I have to admit, being disillusioned…


Verify, Never Trust

In the scramble amongst the Republican candidates for 2012, there has been a lot more discussion of the Constitution than in previous elections. Congressman Ron Paul‘s criticism of both Democrats and his fellow Republicans has been their failure to follow the Constitution, either through bloated social programs or endless wars. His campaign message in Congress and in Presidential campaigns has essentially been that of the Tenth Amendment Center – the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.

Even before the 2010 Congressional elections, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was often found questioning the constitutionality of many actions by the federal government and the Federal Reserve. The Tea Party faction of the Republicans brought more attention to the issue, as did Dennis Kucinich and other Democrats questioning Obama’s constitutional authority in sending US forces to serve under foreign command via UN and NATO actions in Libya.


Will Our Resolve Extend Beyond Resolutions?

A recent Press of Atlantic City article highlights the Atlantic County Freeholders’ vote urging Trenton to repeal legislation making New Jersey part of the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), in which all states involved agree to regulations of carbon dioxide emissions. While RGGI’s site claims that each state retains its sovereign authority in implementing greenhouse gas emissions, the same is technically said regarding federal mandates to the states in many areas. It should be noted that, for all the concern about the effect greenhouse gases are alleged to have, there is no mention by RGGI about regulation water vapor, THE most abundant greenhouse gas in the world.

Atlantic County, according to the article, was one of seven counties to pass resolutions opposing the RGGI scheme. This is one third of all the counties in New Jersey, plus resolutions from several City Councils, including one from Democrat-controlled Garfield City Council. Not a bad start, but still not enough to budge the immovable object known as the New Jersey State Legislature for two reasons.

First, New Jersey politicians overall tend to feel very secure in their jobs. In most Congressional Districts, we overwhelmingly re-elect our incumbents. The same is true of most State Legislative Districts. Even when New Jersey voters ousted Jon Corzine in 2009, we gave the new Governor the same State Legislature that created many of the problems the previous Governor faced.