How Relevant is the Constitution in State, County, and City Elections?

With elections signs all around it might be well to be reminded that it is unrealistic to expect national candidates to follow the Constitution when we did not insist that they did so in state, county and city offices.  After all, many simply move up to higher office.  Some may even view the Constitution as…

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States should not sue the Federal Government over Transgender Bathrooms

States should not sue the federal Government to obtain rights they already have under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution because doing so undermines—potentially to oblivion—that Amendment.  It reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

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Media Paranoia over Government Shutdown

The fear generated by media use of the words “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 against the other political party, thus the terminology.

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Republicans Look to Revise No Child Left Behind when they Should be Working to Repeal

No Child left Behind (NCLB), the signature legislation of the George W. Bush Administration is now up for re-authorization.  Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions overseeing this review, said recently that he wanted to “put the responsibility back with states and local school districts” to…

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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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Jerry Brown to Feds: ‘We Can Handle Our Own Prisons’

In early summer, California Governor Jerry Brown and state corrections chief Jeffrey Beard were in great danger of being held in contempt by three federal judges for willful defiance of a court order requiring the administration to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for reducing the prison population in California.  Brown had previously asked the federal government to back off on federal mandated prison requirements, “We can handle our own prisons,” he said.

Can he constitutionally say no to the federal government?

Yes, and he should.

Besides the obvious, that Californians do not want their convicts returned to society too easily, voiding the acts of juries and judges after they spent thousands of hours deciding what is just with respect to their crimes and their danger to society, federal enforcement of such is unconstitutional.  The Constitution gives the federal government only 17 grants of power, listed in Article I, Section 8, and managing federal prisons is not one of them. Nor has that power been added to the Constitution by way of amendment.  In fact, the Constitution names only four crimes that Congress has the power to penalize: counterfeiting (Article I, Section 8, Clause 6), piracy on the high seas, offenses against the law of nations (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cla. 10), and treason (Art. III, Sec. 3, Cla. 2).  Outside these four crime areas there can be no federal law or crime without a new amendment.  All other areas are entirely under state jurisdiction as per Amendment 10.

If the governor wished to follow the Constitution as designed, he could designate one or more facilities as being federal, move all prisoners that had committed crimes in the above four areas to that facility and be fully compliant with federal law.  With respect to the other prisoners, he might notify the federal government again that “We can handle our own prisons” and that the federal government has exceeded its Constitution jurisdiction.  This is a state function per the Tenth Amendment.  He should publicize his constitutional arguments with his sister states and, if possible, enlist similar action on their parts.  Some of us would love to assist a Democratic governor in leading the charge back to the Constitution.

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U.S. Senate short-circuits the Constitution on taxes, again

The Constitution is exceptionally clear on the origin of all taxes. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” not the Senate (Article I, Sec. 7). When is the House going to protect its powers from the Senate’s intrusive attempts to steal its power? Recently the Senate passed the “Marketplace Fairness Act” by a vote of 69-27, an Internet sales tax, giving states the authority to require on-line retailers, with no physical presence in those states, to collect sales taxes. Americans will pay more taxes with this bill than without. It is a bill for raising revenue and it did not originate in the House as mandated by the Constitution.

To put the Senate in its constitutional place the House should never take this bill up. Instead, if they feel such legislation is needful, they should originate their own bill after which invite the Senate to take a new bill through the committee process and to the floor once again. I might also suggest not doing so for a year or two just to make the message stronger. “You are infringing on our constitutional jurisdiction.” If the Senate will not do so, the House should consider the bill non-existent. Under no circumstances should they accept this bill as appropriate action on the part of their sister law-making body. Retailers, on the other hand, should refuse to pay this tax and challenge it in the courts on the constitutional grounds cited above.

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Is it time states use a constitutional check to stop Obamacare?

Presently, at least 17 states have chosen not to setup insurance exchanges with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law, commonly cited as Obamacare, primarily because they fear that doing so would bankrupt their state and they remain convinced that it is a serious intrusion on their constitutional jurisdiction—even freedom. Some were among the 26 states that suede the Federal Government for exceeding its constitutional authority. They may not know that they have one constitutional check left to exercise if they but have the will.

Those who spend any time with the Constitution know that the federal government is limited to a list of specific areas wherein Congress can legislate (Art. I, Sec. 8) and if a wanted power is not on that list, or not added thereto by way of an amendment to the Constitution, they are prohibited from legislating therein. All other powers not provided in that document are left to the states and to the people as per Amendment 10 of the Bill of Rights. Checks and balances were created in an effort to keep the federal government from creating its own authority and taking over everything. The Founding Fathers saw going off the list and doing something not authorized as tyranny.

Senators were especially charged to protect state sovereignty, the list, and the 10th Amendment, but Progressives in the early 20th Century weakened that protection by ratifying the 17th Amendment, which favored a popular vote for this office rather than, as it was before, having Senators selected by state legislatures who were purposely far more state sovereignty centered. State power was thereafter left unprotected and measures clearly of state jurisdiction and unlisted, such as healthcare, got through the badly damaged shield and became law.

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