“Constitutional Rights”? Not Really

I frequently hear people talk about how many “constitutional rights” we have lost under (fill in whichever President’s name). This brings up a very interesting misunderstanding about the origin of our rights… For one thing, our rights don’t come from the Constitution; the Constitution merely recognizes that our rights preexist it.

For instance, in the 2nd Amendment it goes like this:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

It says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” ..not “the people shall have the right to keep and bear arms” – this is a very important difference in syntax! This is true throughout the document, and the document even recognizes in the 9th Amendment that we have all the rights not specifically mentioned.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

If the Constitution gave rights, then the syntax of the 9th would say something like “that the people shall enjoy” or “that the people shall have” instead of retained by the people.”

The meaning of the subtle difference here is profound, and has vast implications!

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To Intervene or Not to Intervene?

Turkey has a fighter plane shot down by a Syrian missile defense battery. Do you think that they will respond with military force? Do you wonder if anyone in our central government said that they wished it was one of our F4 Phantoms that was fired upon?

Syria, much like Libya before it, is in a civil war. There is a large group of people tired of the oppression of their ruling government and they are killing each other.

We had a President once who thought he knew better and went to war to prevent a bunch of states from withdrawing from the union of states that they had previously sought to join as members.

No country decided who was right and who was wrong and sent troops over here to fight on a side; did they? Is it our place to decide who is right and who is wrong in Libya, or Syria?

Let us say our country arrives at a point where we find ourselves in a civil war.

Say the people of a number of states tire of the tyranny of the central government. They refuse to be threatened with indefinite detention without trial or evidence.

They refuse to live with drones able to conduct 24 hour surveillance without any warrant. No more will they submit to bodily searches by uniformed thugs before they travel or having their mail, phone calls and Internet activities monitored.

A number of states decide that they cannot realistically expect their citizens to be able to pay their state, property and sales taxes needed to maintain the state as well as pay federal taxes for the central govt. to fund programs that support the schooling, food, housing and utility assistance of those who pay no taxes.

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Will Texas Nullify Obamacare?

Last Monday, Texas Governor Rick Perry sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius stating that Texas will not participate with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also referred to as Obamacare).  He states that Texas will not implement the health benefit exchange or expand Medicaid

In his letter, he made the following statement:

Neither a “state” exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under the Orwellian-named PPACA would result in a better “patient protection” or in more “affordable care.”  What they would do is make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to healthcare.

During an interview with Fox News, Perry also stated the following:

I can assure you that Texas and other states would find more effective, efficient ways to deliver healthcare to their citizens and do it in a way that preserves those individual freedoms.

During the same interview, when asked about the high number of Texas Residents without insurance even with a strong economy in Texas, Perry responded:

The idea that this federal government, which doesn’t like Texas to begin with – to pick and choose and come up with some data that says somehow Texas has the worst healthcare system in the world is just fake and false on its face,” he said. “Every Texan has healthcare in this state, from the standpoint of being able to have access to healthcare – every Texan has that. How we pay for it, and how we deliver it, should be our decision – not some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. that may have never been to Texas a day in their life.

Perry joins a list of eighteen other governors vowing stopping the implementation of the PPACA.  Among this list are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Gov. Rick Scot and Democrat Governor from New Hampshire, John Lynch.

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If You Have an Ally, Don’t Go It Alone

Cross posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.

There is a point that I think I’ve been trying to get to for much of the time that I’ve been working with the Tenth Amendment Center.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve done a very good job at getting there.  I’ve written a few articles that skirted past it and danced around it, but I kept missing this particular target.  It’s something that we probably all know, but maybe we don’t all know that we know it.

I got close to this idea it in The Individual and the Tenth, where I talked about the role of the individual in resisting the federal government during the “Whiskey Rebellion”.  Apparently, though, I didn’t really have things clear enough in my own mind at the time, because I only got part way there.  It came closer to the surface some time last year, when I drew up this diagram, intended to depict the proper Constitutional balance of power.

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To Some, the Tenth and Nullification is Taboo

With a quip typical of a main stream media talking head, Scott Keyes traversed some well worn turf in the article entitled “Strict Constitutionalist’ Ron Paul Endorses Nullification As A ‘Very Good’ Idea”. In the post, Keyes attempts to justify federal legislative oversteps by referring to any act of congress as “the supreme law of the land” and thus, are good to go.  He makes no distinction in this assertion for the sovereigns of the state, or the individual.

It’s sad really…

As the Constitution lays out the framework for our great republic, the first ten amendments guarantee that the government cannot encroach on, or take away our freedom and liberty.

Our natural rights.

You might recall those. We have been losing a lot of them lately.

He comes to this conclusion by referring to the test of the Constitution which “states clearly that acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding”

Keyes interpretation of the constitutional passage show no regard for the Ninth or Tenth Amendments.

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Food Freedom for New Hampshire?

The mood of  New Hampshire’s  legislature concerning an overstepping federal government is clearly illustrated in NH HB1650. In no uncertain terms, the representatives of the people of New Hampshire have made clear their thoughts on the role of the United States Government,  declaring that Uncle Sam is bounded by the U.S. Constitution, and that when it decides to step outside these limits, it is unlawful  and of no effect. The bill has provisions which would make it a criminal act for its violation:

439-A:5 Penalty.

I. Any public servant of the state of New Hampshire as defined by RSA 640:2 that enforces or attempts to enforce a federal act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation upon a foodstuff labeled “Made in New Hampshire,” that is produced commercially or privately in New Hampshire, and that remains within the state of New Hampshire shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

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Missouri Stands on Tenth Amendment to just say NO to Obamacare – HB1534

The Missouri State House has introduced proposed legislation, sponsored by Representative Kurt Bahr, and co-sponsored by Andrew Koenig, which would allow for misdemeanor charges being filed against any state or federal official attempting to enforce or implement the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the state. The legislation also makes plain Missouri’s view, summarizing that the act is considered unconstitutional as it exceeds “the powers granted to Congress under the United States Constitution. Therefore, it is not law and is altogether void and of no force.” The tone of the proposed legislation clearly shows Missouri is not at all happy with the mandate sent down from D.C.

“Null and void from inception” is an accurate way of describing an unconstitutional law inferring it has  no basis or authority within the Constitution for the United States allowing it to be even proposed for debate or voted upon by Congress. The summary text is stating this idea clearly by relaying  ” it is not law and is altogether void and of no force”

Text within the proposal itself specifically declares that Missouri considers Obamacare to be unconstitutional:

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Virginia Taking a Stand Against EPA

Virginia House Delegates Robert G. Marshall and Anne B. Crockett-Stark recently introduced  HB 27. The Residential energy efficiency standards exempts certain homes from federal cap & trade legislation,  and would limit the power of the EPA to set the standards for home construction in Virginia, as stated in the bill’s brief description.

Residential energy efficiency standards. Exempts any residential building or manufactured home in Virginia from being subject to federal legislation relating to residential energy efficiency standards if such building complies with the Statewide Uniform Building Code. Except to the extent required by the Statewide Building Code, the owner of such building or home cannot be required by the federal government to (i) have an energy efficiency analysis conducted on his residence, (ii) have his residence meet federal energy efficiency standards, (iii) participate in a building performance labeling program, (iv) make modifications to the residence in accordance with federal legislation, or (v) post a label showing the energy efficiency of his home prior to its sale. The bill also prohibits any state agency from assisting any federal agency in the implementation of global warming or climate change legislation.

We at the Tenth Amendment Center believe strongly in the wisdom and views of two of Virginias’ most respected statesmen on the duty of the  states under the US Constitution; “and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said  compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”- James Madison, Virginia Resolutions, 1798;”whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force”- Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions, 1798

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Washington State: Marijuana Regulation Measure Certified For 2012 Ballot

Washington State legislators have approved a statewide initiative for possible November ballot that would allow the legalization of small amounts of marijuana by adults.

New Approach Washington raised over 350,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for this year’s ballot in November. Backers include two former US Attorneys from the Bush and Clinton administrations and Seattle FBI agent-in-charge. This initiative must go to the Legislature where they must either pass the measure as written, allow it to go on the ballot after either ignoring it or rejecting it, or finally put it on the ballot with a legislative alternative.

The main goals as stated in Initiative 502 would require the state to license and regulate marijuana the same as hard liquor and:
… stop treating adult marijuana use as a crime and try a new approach that:
(1) Allows law enforcement resources to be focused on violent and property crimes;
(2) Generates new state and local tax revenue for education, health care, research, and substance abuse prevention; and
(3) Takes marijuana out of the hands of illegal drug organizations and brings it under a tightly regulated, state-licensed system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol.

This measure authorizes the state liquor control board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age and older, and add a new threshold for driving under the influence of marijuana.

This is a step in the right direction taken by the citizens of Washington State to decide for themselves what should or should not be a legal activity in their state. If passed this November it would put Washington State in conflict with federal laws where it is still illegal to use, buy and sell marijuana.

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