Majority Wrong, Justice Thomas Right, in Arizona Immigration Case

NOTE: This is the first of several short commentaries on recent Supreme Court decisions.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that portions of Arizona’s immigration law violate federal statutes. In his dissent, Justice Thomas relied heavily on my own research.

The Independence Institute did not participate in that case. So how did it happen that I was cited? In 2010 the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law published my article on the original meaning of a constitutional provision relevant to the decision. The provision is Article I, Section 4—which the Court called the “Elections Clause,” but is more accurately entitled the “Times, Places and Manner Clause.” The Clause provides that the states may regulate the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” but that Congress may override most of these regulations.

In the article, I discuss exactly what the Founders meant by the phrase “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections,” and how Congress’s power over its own elections should be interpreted.

The recent case involved whether Arizona’s requirement that voters show proof of citizenship when registering to vote violated federal law. The Court had to decide how widely to read a federal statute and how widely to read Congress’s authority under the Times, Places and Manner Clause.

Details

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.

Details

Who Needs the Tenth Amendment?

The Tenth Amendment wasn’t really necessary.

Wow! A pretty shocking statement from somebody who works for the Tenth Amendment Center, huh?

But it’s true.

Why?

Because the Tenth Amendment, along with its partner the Ninth Amendment, don’t really DO anything.  In fact, if those two amendments didn’t exist, the Constitution would remain unchanged. The federal government would still operate with only a few delegated powers, and all other power would still remain with the states and the people.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are “rules of construction.” In other words, they tell us how to read the original document. They don’t add anything to the Constitution, and they don’t take anything away. The Ninth and Tenth simply make explicit what was already implicit in the original construction of our founding document.

The enumeration of specific powers in Article 1 Sec. 8 (along with the other delegated powers sprinkled through the rest of the Constitution) naturally preclude the federal government from exercising any other powers. In fact, many in the founding era didn’t see the point of including the Ninth or Tenth Amendments, or even a Bill of Rights, arguing that it was self-evident that enumeration excluded any other authority – Designato unius est exclusio alterius – a legal maxim meaning, “the designation of one is the exclusion of the other.”

Details

Where did the language of the U.S. Constitution come from?

by Jon Roland, Constitution Society Ultimately it came from the legal tradition of England and Scotland, expressed in a number of key enactments, in court opinions, and in the commentaries of legal scholars like Edward Coke and William Blackstone. But the most direct sources were the constitutions adopted by the 13 states after they declared…

Details

Understanding The 10th Amendment

The “winners” write the history, and always in favor of their side of the “argument”.

Government’s job is to “control” the people. Control takes power and power comes at a price: the people’s liberty. In a nutshell, government power  stands as the enemy of liberty. And when it comes to the war between power and liberty, power generally triumphs.

Government wins.

And government writes our history.

Most people allow the government to educate their children and that means they learn the approved government version of history. Sadly, it is totally corrupt. Few Americans realize it and can’t, or wont, correct the mistake.

I will try to help correct a piece of the disinformation surrounding the 10th Amendment and put it all into the correct perspective for you.

We’ve  watched government trample on the  Constitution throughout most of our recent history. We do not have to look very far to see examples. President Bush’s Administration created the The Patriot Act, anything but patriotic. Throughout his terms in office, Bush completely disregarded what the Constitution said and wielded the arms of war with wanton disregard.

President Obama continues in the same vein with more anti-constitutional measures. When Congress does not do what Obama wants he creates Executive Orders with the force of law. Effectively legislating from the White House and overstepping his constitutional boundaries without any regard to the laws our country.

Our Constitution is a document designed to LIMIT the power of the federal government. It enumerates the exact duties, responsibilities and powers of each branch of the federal government. In other words, the federal government ONLY has the powers over things that are specifically spelled out in the Constitution. ALL OTHER POWERS are reserved for the states and people. This is succinctly spelled out in the 10th Amendment.

“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.”

Details

Do you believe in self-rule?

Do you believe in self-rule?  Can people determine for themselves how to live and what kind of governmental system that they will live under?

Sure you do!

Right?

But are you sure?

Please, consider the following questions:

Should the federal government be involved in regulating marijuana?

Should the federal government be involved in regulating other drugs?

Should the federal government establish a central bank?

Should the federal government declare anyone an enemy combatant without due process?

Should the federal government regulate marriage: gay or straight?

Should the federal government take either the Pro-Choice or Pro-Life stance on abortions?

Should the federal government regulate guns?

Should the federal government interfere in the health care market?

Should the federal government interfere in education?

If you answered “Yes,” to any of these questions, then on some level you don’t believe in the concept of self-rule.  Therefore, you are imposing your values or morals on others who might not share them.

Details

Surprise: Law Professor Misinterprets Supremacy Clause

Have you ever read an article that you were not sure what stance the author takes on the subject but presents both sides of the argument at once? I had the distinguished experience recently when I was reading the article titled “Sheriffs, State Lawmakers Push Back on Gun Control” on the Newsmax website (see: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Gun-Control-Pushback/2013/01/17/id/471825). It was a little confusing until I got about half way through it and read a quote by Sam Kamin.

Sam is a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver. One would think that if someone was a law professor that they would actually know and understand the law. Or in this case, a constitutional law professor – who should then know and understand the constitution. It is highly unfortunate when people like Sam misspeak about a subject. Their title gives them some credibility so people think what they say is true because they are supposedly an “expert”. But, when they make a mistake it is still a mistake.

The Supremacy Clause of Article VI, Clause 2 reads:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sam makes the comment that state legislatures can pass any laws they want but that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes such actions unconstitutional. He further states that when there is a conflict between state and federal law, the federal government is supreme. Nothing could be farther from the truth. His blanket statement implies that the state laws are not necessary and state governments are not necessary because the federal government and its laws are supreme.

Details

Federalism and the 10th: The State Reclamation Begins

The state governments are now beginning in earnest to do something about the encroaching federal government. Way back in 1994 when the “Republican Revolution” was taking place in Congress the Republican Governors Association (RGA) “adopted” a sort of “declaration of independence” for themselves.  From Congress we got the “Contract with America” and from the RGA…

Details

Federalism and the 10th: The States’ Great Awakening

In Part 1 of this series, I explained how our federalism works and how the powers were divided between the states and our national government. The details showed that the states were superior to the federal government on the hierarchy scale and that the 10th amendment protected that position whenever the federal government stepped outside…

Details

VIDEO: A Rousing Defense of the Constitution and Nullification

At a time when the Republican establishment is doing everything they can to alienate their constituents, and nullification measures are getting introduced around the country, it becomes more important than ever to step up and put our best foot forward when presenting our ideas to citizens desperately looking for a way to fight back against unjust federal power. Luckily, we have a shining example to follow in constitutional attorney KrisAnne Hall who gave an eloquent defense of ObamaCare nullification at the Florida Senate Select Committee on Monday, December 3rd.

WATCH IT:

“Some claim that [ObamaCare] must be submitted to as law of the land since the Supreme Court 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,” Hall said in her stirring repudiation of the bill.

Details