Constitutional Contempt

Listening to the Glenn Beck show last week, I was struck by an exchange between Glenn and one of his co-hosts. They were discussing the Monica Lewinsky debacle of the late nineties and paraphrased the national dialog at the time as something like this:

Republicans: President Clinton had an affair in the Oval Office.

Democrats: No, he didn’t.

Republicans: Yes, he did.

Democrats: No, he didn’t.

Republicans: Yes, he did. He just admitted it on national television.

Democrats: It doesn’t matter.

I’ve noticed the same thing happening today in the health care debate with regard to the Constitution.

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Limiting Power is Racist?

That’s what opponents of the Constitution would like you to believe – if you oppose massive government expansion, you must be some out-of-control racist nutcase.

Like in this video:

Josh Eboch has written a number of good articles on this particular election race of late:

http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/10/27/the-left-vs-the-tenthers-on-getting-states-rights-wrong/

http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/10/virginia-progressives-are-getting-nervous/

http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/10/virginias-ken-cuccinelli-will-be-a-much-needed-friend-of-the-tenth-amendment/

A Thug in a Suit

Before this week, I had never heard Senator Charles Grassley speak – on anything. In the last few days, though, I’ve been sent a number of emails about him being a “strong 10th Amendment supporter.” Skeptical of any Senator in DC actually supporting the Constitution in a meaningful way, I browsed around YouTube and found what must’ve incited the onslaught of emails about him. It was a clip called “Sen. Grassley: Health Overhaul Violates 10th Amendment.”

Title: Good.

Before the 1:30 mark, he had this to say:

“This is the first time in the 222 year history of our country that we have forced you as a constituent – any of our constituents – to buy a product…..And if you don’t buy it, IRS is gonna tax a family $1500.”

Interesting comment. Ok, I’m listening.

He’s then asked a question: “Is this Constitutional – forcing them to buy it and punishing them through the IRS if they don’t?”

His response

“Uh…I’m not a lawyer …”

Alert: Politician Code Word.

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Daily Kos “Refutes” the Tenth Amendment

Although I don’t expect the state sovereignty movement to get a fair hearing over at Daily Kos, the total historical ignorance and vacuous credulity of some liberals never ceases to amaze me.

A recent post, which purports to offer intellectual firepower capable of refuting the arguments of “tenthers,” essentially states that “Everything the federal government does is constitutional because the federal government says so.”

Observe:

Obviously Medicare, Social Security, and the Air Force (yes, I’ve had tenthers tell me the Air Force is unconstitutional) are legal because we’ve had them for decades without being struck down by the Supreme Court.

Obviously. Except that the Constitution explicitly did not grant the federal government authority to do anything beyond its enumerated powers, and what was necessary and proper to exercise its enumerated powers. That would by definition render both Medicare and Social Security (the Air Force being a red herring) unconstitutional.

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Misunderstanding Necessary and Proper

In this video, you’ll see an example of a pretty common “rebuttal” to those of us who argue that the federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers which have been delegated to it.

This gentleman builds his position mostly off this statement, near the beginning of the video:

“the 10th Amendment prohibits the federal government from doing anything that isn’t specifically spelled out in the Constitution – end of argument”

He couldn’t be more wrong.

The 10th Amendment doesn’t prohibit the feds from doing anything that “isn’t specifically spelled out in the Constitution” as this person claims, or as he’s saying other people claim. The 10th prevents the feds from exercising any power that hasn’t been delegated to it by We the People.”

While it may seem like an academic distinction, it certainly is not.  The Founders debated this issue in depth and wanted to make sure that the federal government wasn’t hamstrung, and unable to deal with changes the future would obviously bring.  So they called upon the Common Law doctrine of “principals and incidents” to ensure that government could adapt.

This is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, where Congress is empowered to make laws that are “necessary and proper” for carrying out the other listed powers of the Constitution.

What does this mean? It’s really quite simple.

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The Left vs TenthAmendmentCenter.com

There’s been more and more garbage coming from the mainstream left as a direct attack on those who believe in limited government under the 10th Amendment.  Here on this blog we’ve written about this already here, here and elsewhere.

The latest?  This “report” from MediaMatters:

On the September 17 broadcast of his radio show, Lou Dobbs hosted Tenth Amendment Center founder Michael Boldin and repeatedly “urge[d]” his listeners to visit the group’s “very interesting” website. The site, among other things, has published or reprinted several articles advocating secession from the United States.

The idea that this website has opinion pieces from people who believe that secession is a proper course is in an effort to discuss the principles of decentralization.  From our “about” page:

The Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect Tenth Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power.

The fact of the “matter” is that this country was founded on seceding from the British empire – so to ignore this is to ignore what gave birth to the United States of America.

The truth here is that the establishment left sees the 10th Amendment movement as dangerous.  Why?  Because it’s non-partisan.

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