Nullification: The means to reestablish federalism

In a USA Today article titled A solution to secession – federalism, Glenn Harlan “Instapundit” Reynolds  proposes federalism as a way to rein in government without splitting up the Union.

He defines federalism as, ” Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do — national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights — and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues.” After all, that political philosophy is the foundation of the country.

The Instapundit doesn’t suggest how we might actually make that happen.

Judging by the size and power of the central government, the reach of the laws it passes, and the accelerating rate of increase in all of the above, expecting the Congress and president to voluntarily stop doing what they’ve been doing for the past 100 years, or so, is insanity. It doesn’t matter which party wrests control of the system, the federal government continues to grow. Don’t expect the Supreme Court to side with Liberty, either.

Details

A Fork in the Revolutionary Road

[This essay was first published on the author’s personal blog]

Mitt Romney was officially made the GOP’s nominee last week and now the Ron Paul revolution is over. After nearly thirty years in public office the good doctor is gracefully retiring from politics, and while it’s not following a term in the oval office, he’s no-less started what may be the greatest mental brushfire in American history. And now with millions of people inspired by the message of liberty, the obvious question is “what’s next” for the remnant?

A number of writers and activists have weighed in on this topic and below is a collection of these valuable essays and commentaries with some of my own thoughts for the Paulbots and revolutionaries.

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of the indispensable Antiwar.com, had this to say regarding the true nature of the republican party and their rules:

As for the rules governing the political process – they can be changed at a moment’s notice, and bent any which way, in order to facilitate this seizure. Ron Paul’s supporters in the GOP learned that the hard way, as the Romneyites used their control of the party bureaucracy at the state and national levels to retroactively change the rules in order to unseat duly elected Paul delegates. In Maine, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Oregon, Oklahoma, and elsewhere, the party bosses have disenfranchised Paul voters – closing down party caucuses, rejecting as delegates anyone under 50, and calling the cops when all else failed.

This description of how the convention was governed – and the primaries leading up to it – is precisely how the state works in general. It’s evil and corrupting, and ultimately founded upon violence and coercion. The GOP’s rules are in essence no different from the “Pirate’s code,” which is “more what you call guidelines than actual rules,” to borrow from the famous movie line.

Details

Name Calling and “Tenther Nullification Nonsense” in Arizona

AzBlueMeanie claims in the article Neoconfederate insurrectionists in Arizona Legislature revive discredited ‘nullification’ theory that:

All elected officials in Arizona take the following oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of __________ according to the best of my ability, so help me God.”

And yet the Arizona legislature is populated by Neoconfederate insurrectionists who have violated their oath of office and are actively engaged in acts of domestic insurrection against the United States government.

Let’s get this straight now… AzBluemeanie believes that a state elected official who stands up against what he or she perceives to be a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution has “violated their oath of office and are actively engaged in acts of domestic insurrection against the United States government”. That is a pretty bold statement to make with no evidence to back it up. Nice job!

Let us bring some credentials into the discussion.

Details

Montanans Plead the 10th

Last August, a group of medical practitioners and pharmaceutical manufacturers filed suit against the federal government in U.S. District Court. They claimed the feds violated their rights by sending armed agents into their businesses and, according to a report in the Santa Fe New Mexican “‘seized and destroyed thousands of live plants,’ and ‘took away hundreds of pounds of dried marijuana’ during a March 2011 raid on licensed producers, and stripped certain providers of lights and other equipment used to grow and distribute the herb, which caused […] significant financial damage.”

But the district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims, saying the issue had “already been decided.”

However, as Daniel Abrahamson notes, medical marijuana hasn’t really been decided by the courts, as most of the relevant cases haven’t actually been argued in court. In nearly all cases, the parties have settled or withdrawn their appeals. So it would appear to be an open question, ripe for such a challenge.

The group hopes they’ll have their chance to advance their case later this year in the 9th Circuit Court. One of the chief complaints raised by attorney Paul Livingston, who represents this Montana group, is that “It is truly astonishing that so much weight is given, so many actions taken, and so much reliance placed on a demonstrably false notion; that marijuana has no known medical uses.”

But the main thrust of their case doesn’t rest solely on the medical science regarding cannabis, the 10th Amendment will also be key to their argument. Livingston will attempt to show that both the power to police and provide safety to the public lie not with the Feds, but with the several states. Such a two-pronged approach ought to be the most effective, insomuch as petitioning the government courts to limit their own powers is concerned.

Details

Sportsbook Showdown: California Moves to Allow Sports Betting

The federal government currently preempts the states regarding the issue of sports gambling, allowing only four states to sanction the activity. This however may change soon, as legislators in California are considering a bill to decriminalize sports gambling in the state. Under the proposed Senate Bill 1390, which was recently approved overwhelmingly by the senate, sports betting would be allowed at licensed gambling establishments, including casinos and horse-racing tracks.

Unfortunately for freedom lovers, the bill is not the result of someone reading Lysander Spooner’s Vices are not Crimes and deciding to let a thousand flowers bloom. It is entirely an issue related to tax revenue generation, itself the result of profligate government.

It’s no secret that plenty of Californians – and folks in all the other states for that matter – place bets on sporting events, despite a federal prohibition. (Isn’t it funny how laws against non-violent behavior with no victim never seem to work out?) Because of this, legislators are hoping to begin regulating this gambling for the purposes of collecting licensing fees and taxes on winnings.

As part of the legislative process the committee researched Nevada’s sports gambling totals and estimated them to be somewhere north of two and a half billion dollars. Given California’s immense budget deficit, even a fraction of that multi-billion dollar industry would help to relieve fiscal strain. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Roderick Wright, said of the “illegal” gambling “We receive absolutely no money from it,” and suggested the state could end up with “a great deal of money” as a result of his bill.

Details

SCOTUS and the EPA vs Private Property

On March 21, TAC reported that the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of an Idaho couple who had been petitioning the court system to be allowed to make their case concerning EPA administrative heavy handedness. The post, U.S. Supreme Court: Idaho Couple can take EPA to Court, reported that the couple had been directed by the Environmental Protection Agency to restore their newly acquired home construction plot back to its original state or face stiff fines. The EPA would not allow an appeal, or even a hearing.

Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution enumerates the main powers delegated to the federal government, specifically those of the Legislative Branch. An original understanding makes it clear that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to form a federal agency which can dictate what people can do with their private property. Just as it has no authority to demand the American people purchase something, Washington D.C. has no power to tell us what to do with personal or real property we own.

Utah, Colorado, Nevada and many other western states are neighbored by separate “federal states” which cannot be utilized for their own taxing purposes or to access the natural resources that reside within them. This is due to the fact that the federal government had either grabbed up the land when the state first entered the union, or had purchased it by some means. Regardless of how it was acquired, the federal land is within the state, and the people of that state cannot utilize it, in most cases.

Federal ownership of the land creates no benefit to the state itself. As U.S. Government Property, it is considered a resource of the U.S. Federal Government. In some instances, such as the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, the area has been deemed A UNESCO World Heritage Site and is “legally protected pursuant to the Law of War, under the Geneva Convention, its Articles, Protocols and Customs, together with other treaties including the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and international law”. Our Congress had to ratify that UN treaty. “While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site”.

How is that for giving away Sovereignty?

Details

ACTION ALERT: Help Maryland Nullify the TSA

Un-consented contact means a contact that a person does not want, or contact that was informed as wanted to avoid. This is exactly what Maryland’s House Bill 1111 is proposing to make a crime. The legislation could substantially curb the federally mandated Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) blatant violations of American’s civil rights. We urge you to contact the individual leaders of the House Judiciary Committee and express your support for this bill, and the protection of our Constitutional rights.

The Maryland State Legislature proposes in the bill titled “Public Safety – Restrictions on Searches for Security Purposes – Penalties”, to define illegal detention,  search, and seizure by a public servant as a crime against the victim of the encroachment, and authorizes the State Attorney General to make use of existing laws and the Tenth Amendment as a defense against any federally levied claims against its constitutionality:

Synopsis:

Prohibiting a specified public servant, while acting under color of the public servant’s office or employment, from intentionally subjecting another person to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that the public servant knows is unlawful, intentionally denying or impeding another person in the exercise or enjoyment of a right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing that the conduct of the public servant is unlawful, or intentionally subjecting another person to sexual harassment; etc.

ACTION ITEMS

Details

Will Pennsylvania Nullify Health Mandates?

After having been reviewed multiple times since January 31st 2011, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 10 (SB10) by a vote of  29-19.  The bill is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Pennsylvania which would prohibit any government from requiring the Pennsylvanians to buy health insurance. It states, in part –

“no law shall be enacted requiring a person to obtain or maintain health insurance coverage”

Pennsylvania Senate District 25’s Joseph B. Scarnati is the prime sponsor of the bill which still requires a vote by the General Assembly’s House of Representatives. Once fully passed by both houses, it can be placed on the ballot for a statewide referendum.

Already, ten states have passed similar bills, commonly referred to as the Health Care Freedom Act. With the current SCOTUS review of Obamacare, this action along with many others currently in process in other states, sends a clear message that Americans are not content with the Federal Government encroaching on their liberties.

The amendment, if approved by the people of Pennsylvania, would also prevent the federal government from imposing fines or penalties against people who don’t buy insurance — up to 2.5 percent of household income.

Details

ACTION ALERT: Health Care Nullification Bill in New Jersey!

New Jersey A861 would render the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”  null and void in the state.  Sponsored by Assemblywoman Alison L. McHose, this bill not only voids the insurance mandate,  it declares the entire act null and void within the state.

“This bill renders the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Pub.L.111-148, as amended by the federal “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010,” Pub.L.111-152, and any federal rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, null and void and of no force and effect in the State of New Jersey.”

A861 currently sits in the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. Your help is needed to get it moving towards a floor vote (action steps below)

BASIS FOR THE BILL

The bill itself provides the rational for nullification, based on the Tenth Amendment:

Details