Why conservatives should want the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare

Oral arguments over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are wrapped up. The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in June. In the meantime, conservatives, constitutionalists and libertarians will anxiously await the Supreme Court’s decision, hoping that the justices find the mandate unconstitutional. They should be hoping for the…

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Federal Serfdom and Food Freedom

“Lawmaker wants to criminalize enforcing federal food law!”

That’s the headline of a recent KSL article (with an exclamation point added in for emphasis) regarding a bill that will be considered in the upcoming 2012 legislative session. Sponsored by Utah Senator Casey Anderson and originally drafted by the Utah Tenth Amendment Center, this bill is simple: it upholds the Constitution.

It does so by clarifying the difference between intrastate and interstate commerce; the latter is a power delegated to the federal government, but states constitutionally retain the authority over intrastate commerce—items which are exchanged only within the state. This bill does for agriculture what was done for guns in 2010.

But rather than leading out with any substantive, principled information, KSL’s article focuses on one provision of the bill which would penalize agents of the state government for enforcing unconstitutional federal regulations on intrastate commerce. They claim that the criminalization would be for federal law, but legislative mandates which violate the Constitution are not in fact laws, and should not be treated as such. Thus, the bill upholds the Constitution by prohibiting agents of the state government from enforcing policies which run afoul of its provisions.

The Utah Democratic Chair eagerly jumped into the fray, commenting that “this is… another example of Republican Legislators who are out of touch with Utah common sense values.” It is unclear to which values Mr. Dabakis is referring, but to the extent that Utahns believe in the Constitution, liberty, and limited government, this bill is in harmony, and not out of touch, with those values.

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Food Freedom Movement Grows in Utah

EDITOR’S NOTE: Audio segment posted above is of Councilman Tom Butler discussing Food Sovereignty on the radio today, December 7, 2011

This week, the food freedom movement migrated westward, with a 3-2 vote by the Highland, Utah City Council. Up for consideration was a modified version of the food freedom ordinance that has been successfully been passed in cities in Maine and Vermont.

The ordinance was not met without opposition. The two dissenting votes were from councilmen who persistently and stubbornly affirmed their disagreement with the potential law. The arguments were those that are commonly heard in objection to similar efforts: defending it in court would be costly and our tight budget can’t handle the potential expense; it’s a message bill since nothing bad has happened here yet; it’s not our place to oppose the federal government; and by leading out on the issue, we’ll be painting a target on our backs.

Earlier in the meeting, one of the opposing council members took a moment of privilege to share some parting wisdom, as this was to be his last city council meeting. After imparting such nuggets of wisdom as “personal agendas taint the will of the legislative process” and “public clamor should never dictate public policy,” Councilman Larry Mendenhall declared that a council members’ position “should never be used as a bully pulpit to espouse or promote a larger political agenda. This is Highland, Utah — not Washington, D. C.”

Despite the obstacles, the sponsor, councilman Tom Butler, found allies in two other council members who agreed enough on principle with the ordinance to cast their votes in its favor. Its narrow passage put Utah on the map for food freedom, as one of only a handful of municipalities which has taken a stand against the federal government in favor of the individual liberty of its citizens.

The preamble of the ordinance declares:

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Utah puts the Fiat Dollar on Notice

Earlier this month, we reported on the sound money bill which the Utah legislature passed. Last Friday, Governor Herbert signed this bill into law.

The core component of this new law is the legalized recognition of gold and silver coins (issued by the federal government) as legal currency within the state. They may be used voluntarily by consenting parties, and rather than recognizing the face value of the coin (a horribly distorted metric of the coin’s worth), the market price of the gold or silver content is recognized as its value.

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Utah Passes Constitutional Tender Act

cross-posted from the Utah Tenth Amendment Center

Today, the Utah Senate passed HB317, a bill which will legalize gold and silver as tender within the state of Utah and exempt the exchange (purchase) of such specie from sales and capital gains taxes. Having already passed the House, the bill will now be sent to Governor Herbert to be signed into law, should he so decide.

This type of bill is one that is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country, with multiple states introducing and considering such legislation. Though Utah is now the first state to have a legislature approve of the idea, the sustained momentum of getting other states to review the proposal demonstrates the resiliency of the campaign for sound money. With the U.S. Dollar plummeting in value, this is an issue that will become more popular as time goes on.

As the author of the bill noted in a Fox News article on the subject, this bill will allow Utahns to better prepare for financial turmoil ahead, more easily diversifying into currency with a long history of stability.

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Utah Governor Herbert Calls for Ongoing Resistance to Un-Constitutional Federal Laws

During his inauguration ceremony, Governor Gary Herbert said the following in his speech: As a state, we will advocate states’ rights and we will vigorously resist the increasing burden of federal intrusion into our lives. We at the Utah Tenth Amendment Center have a feeling that the Governor will be given several opportunities over the next…

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Our state legislators’ right and duty

The following was an email we sent to each legislator in Utah last week.


Dear Legislator,

I hope that by now you’ve had the time to read, or at least thumb through, the copy of Nullification you were recently sent. Whether or not you agree with all the points presented in the book, the compilation of historical examples, quotes, and sources provide a frighteningly relevant comparison to our own political climate.

I wanted to briefly share with you a quote which I think encapsulates your charges as legislators for the sovereign state of Utah. The following is from Governor Jonathan Trumbull, speaking to the state legislature in his state, Connecticut, in 1809:

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An Update on the Utah Nullification Project

On Independence Day weekend just a couple months ago, I was reading Tom Woods’ new book Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. As I was reading through the excellent book, I had a realization: if the subject matter was to have any impact on our current political landscape, it needs to get into the hands of the state legislators who can immediately do something about it.

Thus, the Utah Nullification Project was born.

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Passing the Baton

We’ve got some exciting plans here in Utah for how to reassert and reinforce the 10th amendment, and are looking forward to expanding our volunteer base and organizational structure to make that happen. With the excellent foundation that Gary Wood has laid so far as State Coordinator, starting today I’ll now be filling that role (and Gary’s big shoes). Gary will be our Educational Advisor and we’re really looking forward to his continued input and direction in helping us make more Utahns aware of the importance of the 10th amendment.

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