Answering to a Higher Law

We spend a great deal of time defending the principle of state nullification of unconstitutional acts here at the Tenth Amendment Center. The philosophical basis for state nullification rests on delegation of powers and the structure of the system created by the Constitution. But other forms of nullification exist, finding their legitimacy in even higher authorities.

At the insistence of southern delegations, especially South Carolina’s, the final version of the U.S. Constitution included a fugitive slave clause in Article IV Sec. 2

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Granville Sharp was not pleased.

Sharp represented James Somersett in a famous English case that led to the conclusion that slavery was unsupported by existing law in England. In his ruling, Lord Mansfield essentially argued slavery was incompatible with common law.

The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasions, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory. It is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from the decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged.

When Sharp learned of the fugitive slave clause in the Constitution, he fired off a letter to Benjamin Franklin saying he was “sincerely grieved.” He went on to declare the constitutional clause was “null and void…It would be even a crime to regard [it] as Law.”

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Action Alert: Nullify Federal Gun ‘Laws’ Locally in Utah

The Utah State house took a big step forward last session, passing a bill to nullify all federal gun control by a vote of 49-17.   While the Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB114) was a great start to reassert the role of the state in defending the right to keep and bear arms, the Senate played games behind the scenes and failed to vote on the bill before the legislative deadline.  What was most lacking – beyond political courage in the Senate – was strong grassroots organization behind the bill well in advance.  Last minute support was strong, but next time, Utah legislators need to be on notice for months in order to get this important legislation passed.  With your work and dedication, liberty will win.

In order to take this to the next level and get a victory, your action is needed right now.  Starting today, and all the way through the rest of the year, local governments around the state need to be pressed to take a similar action – passing legislation in support of the right to keep and bear arms locally.  And at the same time, calling on the state legislature to do the same.  When the state is blanketed with local communities willing to nullify violations of the 2nd Amendment, the state legislature will be on notice.  Do your job, or else.

It’s going to take work to ensure that this is how things play out.  Here’s what you can start doing right now.

1.  Contact your local legislators – County, City, Town – and urge them to introduce an ordinance in support of the Second Amendment.

local ordinance here: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/2nd-amendment-preservation-act/   

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Is Obamacare on Life Support?

Remember a couple of months ago when the Obama administration sent letters to four states promising to use federal agents to enforce Obamacare if the states failed to?  Well, it appears that smug arrogance may have been a bit premature.

Reuters reported last month that many of the Affordable Care Act’s supporters are getting concerned that the states are not doing enough to support the legislation and that, without their help, enough people may not sign up.  It turns out that there is good cause for these concerns because “most states have balked at the exchanges and the Medicaid expansion.”  The exchanges are the infrastructure on which Obamacare is built and the states’ refusal to create them has created complexity for the federal government’s efforts to implement it.

Talking about the federal government’s limited ability to advertise the program, one advocate said, “It’s going to require a very robust effort in the private sector.”  The expectation of this would appear to be an unwarranted exercise in optimism given the fact that the public “is highly skeptical…about the most complex social legislation since…the mid-1960s.”  A recent poll shows that only 37% of Americans think that Obamacare is a good idea while 49% believe that it is bad.  Only 38% of respondents think they will be better off as a result of the ACA.

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Bill to Nullify Federal Gun Control Signed into Law in Alaska

JUNEAU, Ala  – Today, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed HB69, the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, into law.

The bill nullifies a large swath of unconstitutional federal power over the right to keep and bear arms. It begins with the premise that violations of the 2nd Amendment are not law at all. It reads, in part:

a statute, regulation, rule, or order that has the purpose, intent, or effect of confiscating any firearm, banning any firearm, limiting the size of a magazine for any firearm, imposing any limit on the ammunition that may be purchased for any firearm, or requiring the registration of any firearm or its ammunition infringes on an Alaskan’s right to bear arms in violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and, therefore, is not made in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States, is not the supreme law of the land, and, consequently, is invalid in this state and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state

It continues, requiring the state to stand down on enforcement of federal laws violating the right to keep and bear arms:

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Rethinking the role of governments

The following was published as a letter to the editor in The Times-News of Burlington, NC

With the hype of this subject coming out almost daily it’s good to dispel some myths.

In 1798 nullification was born as a result of The Alien and Sedition Acts passed by the Federalists and John Adams. In summary, these acts meant people could not criticize the federal government. Yes, in the early U.S. journalists and others were arrested and jailed under these acts. The acts also stopped French immigrants from coming in while deporting others who were here.

At the time, Vice President Thomas Jefferson (back then the opposing party could be the vice president) and Gov. James Madison authored The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions to oppose these acts and they were passed by the respective state governments. Nullification was also used against Federal Conscription during the War of 1812. The most important example of nullification is how Northern states used it in the fight against slavery and Federal Fugitive Slave Act in the 1840s and 1850s. Nullification has never been used to propagate slavery. It was however wrongly used in an effort to stop integration of schools in the 1960s, and shame on those who did it.

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Judge Napolitano Slams FBI’s Mueller

On Studio B with Shepard Smith, Napolitano lambasted Mueller for testimony given before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday on the government’s surveillance of Americans’ phone and email communications, alleging that he’s “still singing the tune that Constitutional liberties can be subordinate to the government’s need to [find the bad people].”

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Indiana Action Alert: Time to Nullify Indefinite Detention Locally

The Indiana State Senate took a big step forward last session in response to the “Indefinite Detention” powers of the NDAA when it passed SB400 by a pretty strong margin.  But, the House refused to move the bill forward and there’s still work to do to nullify this unconstitutional federal act.

What was most lacking – beyond political courage in the House – was strong grassroots organization behind the bill well in advance.  Last minute support was strong, but next time, Indiana legislators need to be on notice for months in order to get this important legislation passed.  With your work and dedication, liberty will win.

In order to take this to the next level and get a victory, your action is needed right now.  Starting today, and all the way through the rest of the year, local governments around the state need to be pressed to take a similar action – passing legislation in support of due process and to nullify “indefinite detention”.  And at the same time, calling on the state legislature to do the same.  When the state is blanketed with local communities willing to nullify this unconstitutional federal act, the state legislature will be on notice.  Do your job, or else.

It’s going to take work to ensure that this is how things play out.  Here’s what you can start doing right now.

1.  Contact your local legislators – County, City, Town – and urge them to introduce model legislation in support of the Liberty Preservation Act.

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A Founder’s Case Against A ‘National’ Government

File:LutherMartinBig.jpgOn June 27-28, 1787, for over three hours, Luther Martin, Maryland’s Attorney General and delegate, objected vehemently on the floor of the Constitutional Convention. Transcripts of Mr. Martin’s remarks were recorded into history by Robert Yates (NY) and James Madison (VA). Madison was author of the Virginia plan, which Mr. Martin vigorously debated at regular intervals throughout the Convention.

Upon his arrival at the Philadelphia Convention, Luther Martin pondered possible remedies, as was his charge, to amend the Articles of Confederation, ratified and adopted March 1, 1781. An air of mystery presided over the statehouse, as the founders and framers conducted the work of the Grand Convention.

Mr. Martin reflected on his arrival to the Convention, on June 9, 1787, in a speech given to the Maryland Delegation on November 29 of that same year.

When I joined the Convention I found that Mr. Randolph, of Virginia, had laid before the Body certain propositions (the Virginia Plan) for their consideration, and that the Convention had entered into many Resolutions, respecting the manner of conducting Business, one of which was that seven states might proceed to Business, and therefore four states composing a Majority of seven, might eventually give the Law to the whole Union.

Different instructions were given to Members of different states – The delegates from Delaware were instructed not to infringe on their Local Constitution – others were prohibited their assent to any duty in Commerce: the Convention enjoined all to secrecy; so that we had no opportunity of gaining information by a Correspondence with others; and what was still more inconvenient, extracts from their own Journals were prohibited even for our own information.

One of the critical issues debated after the introduction of the Virginia Plan was the distinction between the differing types of general governments, particularly a federation and a national government. A federation exists by a compact, or contract, resting upon the good faith of the states, contrasted with a national government exercising complete control over the operation of the states. The nationalist position of the Virginia Plan was repulsive to many delegates, including Mr. Martin, who opposed the prospect of a central government. He argued it would consume the sovereignty of the states.

Beginning his remarks on the floor of the Constitutional Convention, Mr. Martin addressed the function of a general government.

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A World Without Risk or Responsiblity

The Path that Got Me Here

Early on, I grew up like most people, believing that all government regulations are good. And, we just need even more to stop the problems we encounter. All the fears in our lives can be legislated away, and if the government just locked themselves up in a room, they can solve all our problems.

However that was breaking down after just one semester in grad school. I took a class on exposure, risk management, and regulation. I found I was constantly being talked into circles. There was never an answer to “how clean is clean?” I learned that there are only a handful of chemicals we truly know about. And I even found chemical dose response guidelines from federal regulatory agencies don’t necessarily allow you to translate animal to human exposure. Yet, for most publications it is custom to always sight a government standard. Surprisingly, after attending a national conference, I saw many industries just sick of this model. And instead they were pulling away from government standards. Instead, industries were testing their own products that had risks of toxic exposure and formed their own risk management plan that didn’t coincide with government standards. One that was accurate to human exposure and response.

This experience was just one of the first steps in the direction that ended the idea that federal regulatory agencies have an answer for everything. I’m not saying that these agencies were meant to be evil. In fact, there is plenty of good safety information on their websites and in their articles. I just believe that most things that become law flow from good intentions.

Some of those good intentions are now controlling peoples’ lives.

Therein lies the evil. It’s like voting for either political party’s agenda. One day you just wake up and realize, they are both crap and you need to find a better way that doesn’t involve them.

The next step in solidifying my path came from something one of my friends said.

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Action Alert: Nullify Federal Gun “Laws” Locally in the state of Arizona

Last session, six Arizona state senators sponsored a 2nd Amendment Preservation Act (SB1112) in Arizona. Sadly, that bill died in committee.

But don’t despair! Options to protect the right to keep and bear arms remain open. Through  grassroots efforts in your city, town, municipality and county, you can break down the federal supremacists’ blockade in Arizona.

Even when states failed to interpose, government bodies at the local level can step into the fray. Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts enforce federal gun laws in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide  practical protections, they will send a strong message to Phoenix. Successful actions at the local level will put pressure on state legislators in the next session, and the process of passing local measure will serve as an educational tool both for lawmakers and the general public.

Of course, local governments won’t act without citizen input and grassroots pressure. The good news is a few dedicated individuals can make a difference at the local level.

That’s where you can step up to the plate.

Form grassroots local nullification groups. Bring your sheriff, local law enforcement, and your community together. Educate each other on nullification, the Second Amendment, and the Constitution. Teach community members that no state or locality is forced into enforcing federal laws. Then introduce model legislation to preserve the Second Amendment to your local lawmakers. Encourage your city, town, municipality and county officials to refuse to aid, enforce, or provide resources to the federal government when it attempts to violate Second Amendment.

Local noncompliance can create major obstructions and impediments. Federal law enforcement agencies lack the manpower and resources to enforce federal laws on their own. They always require the aid of state AND local law enforcement. As Judge Andrew Napolitano said recently, widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here).

It’s going to take work to ensure that this is how things play out.  Here’s what you can start doing right now.   

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