Talk to Your Kids about Nullification

(Dedicated to Gabby)

A couple weeks ago, I was texting with my daughter, getting caught up on what was going on in our lives, when she mentioned being on grand jury duty.  The discussion inevitably, with a Tenther for a Dad, went to jury nullification.  I felt like a failure as a parent when she told me that she was not familiar with the concept.  It was then that I knew I had to work hard to make up for lost time.

There are many things that are important to discuss with your kids if you are a parent.  Some of them are things that, if you don’t talk to them, I can guarantee someone else will, such as drugs.  I have to confess, I tried to find a link to an old PSA from when I was a teen, but had no luck.  Other things, if you don’t talk to your kids, there’s a good possibility no one will.  Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address spoke of a new patriotism, and urged the youth of America:

All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

Jury nullification fits into that latter category.  Better late than never, I explained how the jury has the right not only to decide based on the facts of the case, but based on the law itself and whether or not that law is just and/or constitutional.  I then proceeded to share with her some of the history of jury nullification, from William Penn’s trial in 17th Century England to the NJ Weedman case last year.  As I explained the cases, I was told that was, “interesting.”  I replied, “And empowering as well.”


Separation of Constitution and State?

It seems we have reached a new point of inversion.

Are we at a point where references to the Constitution are now censored by the public education system? The curriculum has long been compromised with Constitutional half-truths, but are we now censoring student’s speeches that reflect on the Constitution? Is it too controversial, or just too obviously true, to allow a valedictorian to point out that the federal government is trampling rights?

According to reports, a North Texas valedictorian’s microphone was recently shut off mid-speech when his speech varied from the submitted script. The speech varied and “…he was talking about getting constitutional rights getting taken away from him.” the microphone was cut off. In fairness to the school, there was a policy in place that microphones would be shut off if the speech went off-script.

However, this trend to micromanage the speech of those that have earned the highest academic position available is problematic. What prompts the school to implement such authoritarian measures of censorship of a valedictorian’s speech? Who’s speech is it anyway?  Why did this valedictorian feel the need to remove references to the Constitution in the draft submitted to the school censors?


Arizona: AIMS Failed And So Will PARCC and Common Core

Benjamin Franklin said, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” I think that we can all agree that education is paramount to a successful society and that it would behoove us to create a system that promotes and accelerates. However, how do we ensure that our children are best educated?

There is a new program on the block that is getting snapped up by schools around the country called the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). In Arizona the AIMS test has been struck out and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has taken its place which uses the CCSSI platform. As of right now the teachers have been getting trained of how to teach a CCSSI based classroom. Next Governor Brewer must sign AZ HB2047 to allow the PARCC test be the new standardized test for Arizona. The third phase is for the PARCC test scores to be shared with the federal and other state governments to continue to standardize the test. AZ HB2563 requires the AZ State Board to enforce the PARCC testing. Neither HB2047 or HB2563 have been signed into law but Governor Brewer’s aide Matthew Benson stated, “At the heart of Common Core is the notion of implementing more stringent internationally benchmarked standards. She is 100 percent supportive of the concept.”

If we can encourage our politicians to vote NAY on HB2047 and HB2563, we’ve effectively stopped the Phase II of the implementation of the Common Core.

Debra Goodwin here at TAC has written a good overview of CCSSI and why it is bad in her article called Common Core: An Attack on Freedom and What to Do About it. Columnist Michelle Malkin wrote, “For decades, collectivist agitators in our schools have chipped away at academic excellence in the name of fairness, diversity and social justice. Progressive reformers denounced Western civilization requirements, the Founding Fathers and the Great Books as racist. They attacked traditional grammar classes as irrelevant in modern life. They deemed ability grouping of students (tracking) bad for self-esteem. They replaced time-tested rote techniques and standard algorithms with fuzzy math, inventive spelling and multi-cultural claptrap.”


A Libertarian Case for the Department of Education

Last week the Rooney-Blansten amendment requiring the federal Common Core curriculum to devote equal time to Republican presidents was narrowly defeated in the U.S. Senate, despite a RealClearPolitics poll showing 87.8921% of the public supported the idea.

I’m a libertarian who writes frequently for the Tenth Amendment Center, and years ago I donated to the Cato Institute. But despite these impeccable credentials, I support a yeasty view of the Constitution and believe it politically expedient to pass federal legislation that ensures Republican politicians receive the same favorable treatment as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in any national civics curriculum approved by the federal Department of Education.

Anti-federal supremacists need to refine their priorities, with an eye to keeping moderate Republicans in office. The focus on “federal involvement in education” is wrong-headed and counter-productive, and overlooks the legislatively-mandated benefit (explicitly affirmed in Rooney-Blansten) of having all public schools teach no fewer than 15 positive things each about Richard Nixon, the two Bushes, and even failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.


Bill Proposed To Keep Federal Hands Off Alabama-Produced Firearms

There has been a growing number of states recently looking to pass laws that nullify overreaching federal intrusions on Second Amendment rights with Alabama being one of the latest states looking to protect the natural rights of its citizens. Alabama Senate Bill 43 is called the ‘Firearms Freedom Act’ and it intends to ‘exempt from…