In a baby step back toward protecting reserved State Powers, the Supreme Court on Monday overturned a twenty-five year old federal law called The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The Act was originally signed into law in 1992 to target organized markets for sports gambling. This federal law was not a flat ban on sports-gambling schemes, but only a law that prohibited States from permitting sports gambling by State law.Details
The New York Times published on September 3, 2013 an article written by Robert Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute, on the “limitations of nullification”. I have had the honor of having personal discussions with Mr. Levy on several issues and even had the opportunity to debate him on the issue of nullification in a forum in South Florida. It will be no surprise to Mr. Levy that I disagree with his opinion. Opinions aside, I would like to have the opportunity to present the facts.
Mr. Levy’s main premise is that the States have the option to not agree and not enforce federal law, but they do not have the ability to prevent the federal government from enforcing its laws within the States.
“That’s because federal officials are authorized to enforce their own laws, even if they cannot compel the states to do so. Thus, on the second point, the nullifiers are wrong: states cannot impede federal enforcement of a federal law merely because the state deems it unconstitutional. That is up to the federal courts.”
Mr. Levy’s premise is flawed and a mere review of the facts makes that clear. This country was built upon the foundation of free, independent, and sovereign States.
“Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States…” Lee Resolution June 7, 1776Details
Thomas Paine wrote on December 23, 1776, “Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.” Our founders stood against taxes and government mandated purchases. The colonists demanded that the British Government recognize that their Constitutions did not authorize this type of government control. As a result, the British Government repealed several laws, to include the Stamp Act. This might be a happy ending except the government was not willing to let go of this power; they were simply appeasing the people. The government did recognize the Constitution did not authorize their exercise of power, so they remedied that “oversight” by passing a law called the Declaratory Act.
The Declaratory Act was a legislative act that declared the government “has, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.” In addition to expanding the powers of the government, this act stated that all “resolutions, votes, orders, and proceedings, in any of the said colonies or plantations” that even questioned the government’s authority are “declared to be, utterly null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever.” The government now only needed to prove that the each law was “fit for the good of the empire” to justify its mandates. Thomas Paine and his fellow countrymen recognized that when the government declares for itself unlimited power, there is no limit on the intrusion into and control over the lives of the citizenry.Details
I met Senate President Don Gaetz after speaking to the Senate Committee on Healthcare Exchanges. I explained to him that I wanted to teach on nullification and why the Healthcare Act is unconstitutional. He mocked the Founders of the this nation to my face, implying they are irrelevant to the interpretation of the Constituion. He laughed at my support of Constitutional principles. He then shouted out to me as he left the room that he wouldn’t read anything that I sent him. This morning I sent him an email explaining the Founders’ position on State Sovereignty and nullificaion.
After sending Senator Don Gaetz(R) my letter explaining the positions of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton on State Sovereignty, the Republican leader of the Florida Senate says that citizens who agree with the writer of the Declaration of Independence should be summarily shot and hanged. Does that means Don Gaetz is in favor of shooting the many Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders who have said that they will not comply with this mandate? Notice the double-speak in his email below. He affirms his support for the Constitution and then demonstrates his utter ignorance of its meaning and purpose.
Here is a copy of his email:Details
Dear State Legislator and Governor,
Much of the population rightfully regards the Affordable Healthcare Act as extending far beyond the enumerated powers of the federal government. It is undeniable that there is no power enumerated nor delegated to the federal government to compel a citizen to purchase health insurance under threat of penalty of law. For the central government to claim such power denies the very nature of our Republic and makes the Constitutional restraints enacted by our founders null and void.
Some claim that it must be submitted to as “the law of the land” since SCOTUS made its declaration from on high. This admits that we are not a Republic of sovereign States but a monarchy. The Supremacy Clause declares the Constitution to be Supreme, not the federal government. “If the decision of the judiciary be raised above the authority of the sovereign parties to the Constitution… dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department, also….” -James Madison,Virginia Assembly Report of 1800
The founding documents and the men who wrote them make it unequivocally clear that the States have the final word on whether their creation, the federal government, has trespassed its clearly defined boundaries. AND IT HAS. Our States are “United” in a compact, the Constitution.Details
Through Article II section 4 of the Constitution, the people have delegated a great power to Congress to remove certain members of government from office. A careful reading of this section shows that Congress has the power to remove not only the President and the Vice President but ALL civil officers. One standard for removal is conviction of a high crime or misdemeanor. The language of this clause is very clear even using legally demanding language. This clause in the Supreme Law of our land demands Congress to act as they did when Former President Clinton was impeached for contempt.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes andMisdemeanors~ Article II Section 4 US Constitution
We know Presidents and Vice Presidents are impeachable, but have we forgotten the third category of people in this clause: all civil officers? Eric Holder is a civil officer. Eric Holder is a civil officer that has been found in contempt.
The Constitution therefore DEMANDS that Congress remove Eric Holder from office.Details
In light of all the distortions and half-truths that are constantly repeated, let’s be clear –what sparked the ire of our founders was not taxes; it was tyranny. Their theme was not simply Taxed Enough Already – it was Tyrannized Enough Already. Their tolerance for tyranny was taxed to the max – that’s the taxation the founders could no longer take.
The original tea party was not just about money and the driving force toward American independence was not simply taxation. At the crux of the matter were the PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT that created the taxation – taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. It was about government eliminating the common rights of the people. The motivation behind the tea party event was Great Britain’s attempt to remove the people’s right to electively engage in trade, by mandating purchases only from the government…
But if our Trade is to be curtailed in its most profitable Branches, & Burdens beyond all possible Bearing, laid upon that which is suffered to remain, we shall be so far from being able to take off the manufactures of Great Britain, that it will be scarce possible for us to earn our Bread…? [Samuel Adams, May 15, 1764, Boston Record Commissioners’ Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122]
Sam Adams went onto explain that the act of arbitrary taxation makes slaves out of a free people:
For if our Trade may be taxed why not our Lands? Why not the Produce of our Lands & every thing [sic] we possess or make use of? This we apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern & tax ourselves–It strikes at our British Privileges, which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in common with our Fellow Subjects who are Natives of Britain: If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves? [Samuel Adams, May 15, 1764, Boston Record Commissioners’ Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122, emphasis added]
Sam Adams saw the big picture. He knew that if the king assumed the power to lay taxes contrary to the common rights of the colonists, without giving the people any voice, there would be no limit to the power of this government.Details
“Can we legislate morality?”
This is a very relevant question that deserves a serious answer. But what is really meant by this question? The idea of “legislating morality” often gives people the impression that we can create a moral society through the creation of laws. Fact is – we cannot. As a prosecutor I became acutely aware of the apparently widely held view that the criminal justice system will “reform” people. We could save ourselves a lot of heartache and a lot of money if we just accepted the reality that the criminal justice system, our jails, our prisons, are not designed to reform people; they are designed to punish people for doing bad things. The punishment is what is supposed to make people change their mind about committing future crimes. More laws and more prisons will not magically create a moral society.
We cannot deny, however, that all laws are based upon shared moral values. When a society loses that morality, we find ourselves in a situation where we are tempted to compensate by creating more laws. This is what causes people to put the cart before the horse and believe morality can be, or should be legislated. We have become a society that treats symptoms instead of diseases. This situation is no different. The symptom is an ever increasing lawless society; the disease is an ever decreasing moral society. If we want the government to stop “legislating morality”, we must become, once again a society of individuals that upholds our shared moral values. We may not be able to legislate morality, but as our founders warned, we cannot afford to lose it.
John Adams stated in an address to Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1798: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Adams believed that America’s unique moral character provided security for the future:Details