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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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No Budget, No Freedom

There are rallying cries from the American revolutionary period which are still axiomatic in American Society. One was apparently coined by Jonathan Mayhew in a 1750 sermon, “Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-resistance to the Higher Powers“. It is, “No taxation without representation.” Similarly, James Otis is often credited with the phrase, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” It is claimed that Otis used this phrase in his legal argument against the Writs of Assistance.

These phrases are unquestionably correct in a free society, but what is it that makes them true? What are the characteristics of taxation without representation that make it tyrannical — and how do these principles apply to today’s American society?

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Do the Secessionists Have As Much Courage As the Nullifiers?

By now, anybody who even casually follows the Tenther movement and the liberty movement in general has likely heard about the secession petitions circulating.  Yesterday, I had personally gone from only hearing about Louisiana, to hearing my State of New Jersey had one too, to hearing the count was up to twenty States.  That could be an old number by the time this makes it into the Tenth Amendment Center blog.

The language of these petitions is interesting, as they “ask” the federal government to let said States peaceably withdraw from the United States.  Although I confess to having signed, originally for Louisiana upon first finding out, and then for New Jersey, it was more out of curiosity than anything else.

Apparently, any State circulating these petitions requires a minimum of 25,000 signatures within thirty days in order to receive a White House response.  Texas has nearly double the required signatures, and Louisiana is likely a day away from hitting the threshold.  Several states are beyond halfway there.  Check to see if your State is on the list.  While you’re at it, go ahead and sign, so you can get your response.  The most likely response from the White House is a familiar word to anybody in the nullification movement, “No.”

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“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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Tread carefully on the King’s Highways!

“If Big Brother saves lives, then I’m happy to be Big Brother.” – Florida’s Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson

What is it about modern Western Civilization that has often caused people to trade things of greater value (wisdom, integrity, honor, liberty) for something of lesser or more ambiguous worth? Is it a misplaced hope, selfish interests, or a lacking in full comprehension of what’s truly at stake? For instance: take closed circuit television cameras (CCTV). These days, people can’t seem to walk (or drive) one city block without coming across several. We’re told they are there to keep us, and our property safe. But really, why so many? And more troubling still, how did the once nightmarish “Orwellian” future of constant observation become implemented with many folks simply unconcerned?

As the poster child of Government surveillance, red light cameras have become a hot-button issue for many liberty-minded activists, and rightly so. For instance, Photoenforced.com’s database lists 33 red light traffic cameras for Kansas City, and 87 for St. Louis. But while red-light cameras do present a sticky Constitutional issue, more disturbing is the often unnoticed concern of literally hundreds of cameras scattered across Missouri’s major roadways. (Please see The Eye in the Sky Graphic included below, or click Trafficland.com for more information)

The answer behind these cameras (and more) may lie with the U.S. Department of Transportation, who has been pushing for increased monitoring and control not only over the roadways in our communities, but also over the vehicles and operators themselves. In 1998, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, under Section 5117 of the Transportation Equity Act stated that Congress required the U.S. Department of Transportation to “conduct research on the deployment of a system of advanced sensors and signal processors in trucks and tractor-trailers to determine axle and wheel alignment, monitor collision alarm, check tire pressure and tire balance conditions, measure and detect load distribution in the vehicle, and adjust automatic braking systems.”

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Police State Clashes with Protesters in Chicago

With the recent outburst of Police-State action in Chicago, while we’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this – we can’t say we didn’t know it was coming. With images coming not out of Iran or Egypt, but out of some of the Tenther communities own back yard, we’re witnessing a literal army of state and federal funded police, in riot gear bloodying faces, shoving people – and according to some reports – even running people over. So it’s understandable that the Liberty community is a little apprehensive that what we’re witnessing isn’t yet another exception to the rule – but a sign of things to come for every-day Americans in the near future.

And regardless of where Tenthers choose to stand on the Occupy movement, the escalating action on the part of the local, State and Federal Government is certainly worthy of condemnation in regards to obvious first-amendment Constitutional violations. Besides, with the majority of the protestors remaining peaceful, there’s only been a select number acting with violent intent – who according to Bernie LaForest, member of the Tenther Community, stated was “mostly from the anarchist crowd from the G8 summits.”

This illustrates that with very little provocation (and in some cases none at all), our Government no longer seems interested in protecting our constitutional rights, but willing to reduce us to a “commodity” status where individual freedom has been reduced to a foot-note in the Fed’s 20 volume set of Red-Tape laws.

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