MaddowBlog Smackdown Revisited

Steve Benen over at the MaddowBlog came back for round two after apparently realizing some things he didn’t know that he didn’t know.

After his last post on nullification, North Carolina Tenth Amendment Center state chapter coordinator William Kennedy roughed him up pretty good. And a post by Jonathan Adler over at the Volokh Conspiracy schooled him too. That got Benen’s attention, so he brought in “big gun”  law professor extraordinaire David Gans, the director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program at the Constitutional Accountability Center.

Of course, big guns don’t do much more than make noise when loaded with duds.

Benen  rolls out a strategy typically used by keepers of approved opinion. First they try to make the unapproved idea go away with some conventional wisdom spoon-fed with a healthy dose of ridicule. If that fails, they bring in some guy with impressive credentials to couch the same fallacious conventional wisdom  in academic language.

So, let’s take a look at a few of Gans’ assertions.

“Nullification was a 19th century theory, identified most closely with South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun…”

Details

Michigan Action Alert: Help Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

Michigan House Bill 4455 is a bill to nullify warrantless surveillance and armed drones. HB4455 has been sitting in the Criminal Justice Committee since March. Your help is needed to move this bill forward.

HB4455 prohibits any law enforcement from storing biometric data from non-target suspects, ensures proper destruction of surveillance collected, and any surveillance obtained outside of this law may not be used as evidence in a court.

Please call and email your representatives. Tell them you want HB4455 to be voted on as soon as possible.

Action Items for HB4455.

1. Contact the Committee Chairman. Politely ask him to schedule HB4455 for public hearing and vote.

Kurt Heise (517) 373-3816 KurtHeise@house.mi.gov

2. Contact the other members of the Criminal Justice Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on HB4455.

Joseph Graves (517) 373-1780 JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
Kenneth Kurtz (517) 373-1794 KennethKurtz@house.mi.gov
Mike Callton (517) 373-0842 MikeCallton@house.mi.gov
Ed McBroom (517) 373-0156 EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
Margaret O’Brien (517) 373-1774 MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
Klint Kesto (517) 373-1799 KlintKesto@house.mi.gov

Details

Nullification 101: A Intro to Defending Liberty

The federal government is out of control, unable to limit its spending or satisfy its insatiable appetite for consuming the people’s liberties.  And these tendencies seem to get worse with each election.  Americans are starting to wonder whether or not Washington will ever fix itself.  But, what if it didn’t need it to?  What if the states held the power to hold Washington within the limits imposed on it by the Constitution?  More and more people are coming to the realization that, through nullification, the states can do just that.  But this concept, although rooted in history, is still new to many.  Here are some common questions about nullification, the answers to which serve as an excellent introduction to this important, long-forgotten principle.

What is nullification?

Nullification is the principle that the individual states have the authority to refuse to comply with unconstitutional federal laws.

What is it based on?

Nullification arises from the understanding that the states, by ratifying the Constitution, brought the federal government into existence for a few specifically enumerated purposes.  The powers that were delegated to it by the states in the Constitution are understood to be the only powers that Washington possesses.  As such, it cannot legally do anything that is not specifically given to it as a power.  This understanding was formalized by the Tenth Amendment.

Is it constitutional?

The Tenth Amendment states, “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.”  Although the writers and ratifiers of the Constitution understood that the states retained all undelegated authority, the Tenth Amendment was added to ensure that this could never be challenged.

While nullification is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, several key figures in early American history, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, openly supported the idea that states could refuse to comply with unconstitutional laws.  Furthermore, it makes no sense to believe that the Founding Fathers would have added the Tenth Amendment and then made its enforcement unconstitutional.  With this in mind, nullification is simply the manner in which the states can enforce the Tenth Amendment.

Details

ObamaCare Could Reduce Employee Health Benefits

by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute

ObamaCare supporters promised the law’s employer mandate would require employers to provide workers with comprehensive insurance. But they apparently didn’t read the bill very closely. It’s a recurring theme.

According to the Wall Street Journal, employers and employee-benefits consultants have found, and federal regulators now confirm, that the law actually requires most employers to offer no more than very flimsy coverage. Many employers are now exploring the option of offering limited-benefit health plans that cover preventive services and maybe “$100 a day for a hospital visit” but “wouldn’t cover surgery, X-rays or prenatal care.” Indeed, the law could push many employers to reduce the amount of coverage workers receive on the job.

The Obama administration’s reaction demonstrates they had no idea what they were doing. The Wall Street Journal:

Administration officials confirmed in interviews that the skinny plans, in concept, would be sufficient to avoid the across-the-workforce penalty. Several expressed surprise that employers would consider the approach.

“We wouldn’t have anticipated that there’d be demand for these types of band-aid plans in 2014,” said Robert Kocher, a former White House health adviser who helped shepherd the law. “Our expectation was that employers would offer high quality insurance.”
The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

This and other employer responses to the law could make the roll-out of ObamaCare’s health insurance “exchanges” even more of a train wreck.

-To the extent ObamaCare’s employer mandate pushes firms to offer bare-bones plans, premiums for plans offered through Exchanges will rise. The healthiest workers will enroll in their employers’ bare-bones plans, but workers who have expensive illnesses (or with dependents who have expensive illnesses) will seek more-comprehensive coverage through the Exchanges. The influx of sick consumers will increase the premiums for Exchange-based plans. Many of these sick workers won’t receive any premium-assistance tax credits or cost-sharing subsidies because their employer’s bare-bones plan will likely satisfy ObamaCare’s definition of adequate – and because the statute forbids those entitlements in the 33 states that have declined to establish an Exchange.

Details

Act Now to Help Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania House Bill 961 is a bill to nullify warrantless drone spying, wiretapping, and electronic surveillance. This bill is currently in the Judiciary Committee and needs your action to help it move forward.

HB961 requires that a judge sign an order for the use of a drone for surveillance purposes during a criminal investigation or unless prior consent was given. See Chapter 57 Title 18 Subchapter 5704 Section 4 for current Pennsylvania wiretapping law.

Call and email members of this committee to get this bill moving. The first step to move this bill forward is to urge the Chairman to schedule a hearing for HB961. Contact members of the committee to not only urge the chairman also, but to vote YES on HB961.

Action Items for HB961.

1. Contact the Committee Chairman. Politely ask him to schedule HB961 for public hearing and vote.

Ron Marisco (717) 783-2014

2. Contact the other members of the Judiciary Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on HB2710.

Thomas R. Caltagirone, (717) 787-3525
Todd Stephens (215) 368-5165
Bryan Cutler (717) 783-6424
Glen R. Grell (717) 783-2063
Timothy Krieger (717) 260-6146
Sheryl M. Delozier (717) 783-5282

Details

IRS an arm of the Fed

Reflecting on the story of the Internal Revenue Service targeting groups with names that included tea party, patriot or any other name that marks a group as pro Constitutional, pro Freedom or pro Bill of Rights, leads us to consider the history of the IRS.

Why would you even approach the IRS for blessing?  Your group is, itself considered to be an enemy of the Fed to which the IRS owes allegiance.  Any way they can, the IRS will cause opposition to its perceived enemy.   Did the American army ask the enemy governments to finance them for WWI or WWII?

The federal income tax was created in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th amendment to the Constitution.  Before that time the Fed ran on “tariffs.”  Using only tariffs was wise, it kept the government constrained to its Constitutional duties. There were some high tariffs, which did cause some anger and resulted in the “Tariff of Abominations,” but even that was not so high as to stifle the free enterprise system.  And the Fed had plenty of money to run what is properly within its scope.

In arguments during the consideration of the 16th amendment (1909), Representative Samuel McCall (Mass.) stated “….leads me to believe that the chief purpose of the tax is not financial, but social. It is not primarily to raise money for the state, but to regulate the citizen and to regenerate the moral nature of man. The individual citizen will be called on to lay bare the inner-most recesses of his soul in affidavits, and with the aid of the Federal inspector, who will supervise his books and papers and business secrets, he may be made to be good, according the notions of virtue at the moment prevailing in Washington.”

Details

Federalism (“States’ Rights”) Get Short Shrift in Colorado Judicial Exhibit

I recently visited the new Ralph Carr Colorado Judicial Center—the huge and incredibly expensive building complex that now houses the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. But even after spending $258 million, they couldn’t get one sign right. An exhibit there has the worthy purpose of educating the public about the rule of law.…

Details

Action Alert: Help Missouri Nullify Federal Gun Control

Missouri House Bill 436, the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, has passed both the State house and senate – and is on it’s way to the Governor’s desk. If signed into law, his bill would nullify virtually every federal gun control measure on the books – past, present and future.

Your help is needed right now to ensure that HB436 becomes law – and federal gun control is subsequently nullified.

Action Items

1. Contact Governor Nixon.  While he’s not expected to be a friend of the effort, still call him and respectfully urge him to sign HB436.

2. Contact your State Senator and State Representative There is a veto-proof majority in both houses, but to ensure that holds, call your senators and representatives to voice your support for HB436 today!

http://www.senate.mo.gov/LegisLookup/Leg_Lookup.aspx

http://house.mo.gov/legislatorlookup.aspx

3. Share this information widely.  Please pass this along to your friends and family.  Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state.  Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters. 

Details

Oregon Action Alert: Help Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

Last month, the Oregon house voted to pass HB2710, a bill to nullify warrantless drone spying.  This bill is scheduled for a Work Session in the Senate Judiciary Committee with a possible vote out of committee on May 29th

HB2710 “provides that law enforcement agency may use drone to intercept communications only as provided under laws relating to wiretaps and other interceptions of communications.”

In other words?  No warrant = no drone.

Action Items for HB2710.

1. Contact the Committee Chairman. Thank him for scheduling the hearing, and encourage him to vote YES on HB2710.

Floyd Prozanski 503-986-1704 sen.floydprozanski@state.or.us

2. Contact the other members of the Judiciary Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on HB2710. 

Details

TSA – is Groping of the Public in the Constitution?

Remember the guy in Portland Oregon who went naked at the TSA checkpoint to protest the federal frisking policy?

I see he has been fined $1,000.  And get this: the TSA said they fined him for breaking their rules.  THEIR rules?  Apparently they have a series of rules that We the People must follow: “no person may interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties.”  (What was a naked man threatening them with, one must wonder. But I digress.)

And now for some humor.  The TSA representative said “All of TSA’s policies and procedures comport with the law and the Constitution.”

I have my Constitution out. I don’t see any delegated power indicating the feds may fondle people for simply wanting to travel.  Ah, here it is, in the Fourth Amendment.  “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, paper, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Details