I recently appeared on the Lions of Liberty podcast to talk about why libertarians should care about “state’s rights” and the importance of political decentralization as a strategy to advance liberty.
While demagogues like Jesse Jackson spew propaganda falsely equating states rights with slavery, the NAACP realizes that the states can be agents for social justice fighting back against a racist, repressive, draconian federal government. That is exactly what we’ve seen with states fighting back against the war on drugs.Details
Last May, Herndon, Kansas, Mayor Kenny Chartier introduced an ordinance nullifying federal gun laws in his town. The legally binding ordinance prohibits “any agency or person in the employ of the City of Herndon from enforcing, providing material support for, or participating in any way in the enforcement of any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of federal government regarding personal firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition with the city limits.”
The city council unanimously adopted it.
Chartier took action after Kansas Gov. Brownback signed a state Second Amendment Protection Act into law last April. The state law nullifies a wide range of unconstitutional federal gun laws. Passage represented a huge step in protecting the right to keep and bear arms in Kansas, but Chartier understood local support would play a vital role in the ultimate success of the new Kansas law, and he did his part to add another layer of protection for citizens in his town.
And the Herndon mayor didn’t stop there.
Recently, Chatier sent an email to “every town, city and municipality in the state of Kansas that had an e-mail address,”urging them to pass similar Second Amendment Preservation ordinances supporting the state law.Details
Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.
On Tuesday of this week, the Norristown Patch announced that same sex couples can now marry in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The Patch went on to elaborate that the Montgomery County Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, had “worked closely with the Register of Wills solicitor Michael Clarke and Montgomery County Solicitor Raymond McGarry to study ‘every aspect of the law,'” subsequent to a request for a marriage license from a same sex couple. That couple evidently bowed out, but Hanes went public with the county’s position – saying, “I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA as I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional”.
From the Patch,
According to Hanes, he took the oath of office 19 months ago to uphold the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, and cited Article 1, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides for the rights of men, among which is “pursuing their own happiness”
So what Hanes was saying was that he believed there was a conflict between the state law and the state Constitution and when the law conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution takes precedence. In other words, Hanes was prepared to nullify the state DOMA law because he believed that it conflicted with the state Constitution.Details
Cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.
If you can only ever read one thing by Hayek, may I suggest: “Why the Worst Get on Top“, chapter 10 from “The Road To Serfdom“? I can’t say it better than he did, so I’ll just give you some highlights to whet your appetite.
“…We must here return for a moment to the position which precedes the suppression of democratic processes and the creation of a totalitarian regime. In this stage it is the general demand for quick and determined central government action that is the dominating element in the situation, dissatisfaction with the slow and cumbersome course of democratic processes which make action for action’s sake the goal….
… If the ‘community’ or the state are prior to the individual, if they have ends of their own independent of and superior to those of the individuals, only those individuals who work for the same ends can be regarded as members of the community. …
After an embittered presidential election, a never-ending kabuki on Washington finances, and now a fierce debate over property rights, many would be surprised to know that members from opposite sides of the political spectrum have found some common ground. Betsy Woodruf at National Review Online sure was. She was shocked to find agreement between the Republican Governor of Illinois, Mitch Daniels, and Tom Dickenson of Rolling Stone magazine regarding medical marijuana and federalism. Both, it seems, favor letting the states determine their own drug policy, even though they may not agree on what each state ultimately decides.
First, note that agreement between the two parties happens more often than not. In principle they all agree on war, debt, entitlements, taxation, police statism, drones, the central bank, socialistic healthcare, prohibition, and many other issues. Of course they disagree on just how much debt there should be; if the military ought to bomb the people of third-world countries or drop bombs and machine-gun them; and whether individuals should forfeit 35 percent of their income or only 33 percent. Some diversity of thought.
But what’s noteworthy about this particular case is that each can agree because neither is trying to force the other into submitting to a single policy. Here we see one of the great things about decentralized government: it tends to reduce conflict by allowing various groups to “live and let live.” This is isn’t possible when all policy decisions are made by one body, when a polity becomes too big.Details
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
Though many living in New England today might be loathe to admit it, there is a long history of nullification being used in the region to defy unconstitutional federal edicts. This week, the town of Sedgwick, Maine voted to carry on that proud tradition by nullifying certain federal agricultural regulations.
They did so through what might be the most legitimate form of democratic expression left in America: the New England town meeting. (Which have been held in the Sedgwick town hall since 1794.)
“Sedgwick citizens…to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing,”
but declares thatDetails
If you’re one of the unfortunate Americans that live in fly-over country, I have bad news for you. Our nation’s capitol is now pretty much off-limits to you. Last week I had business in Washington, D.C. and planned a few extra days to re-acquaint myself with our nation’s history. It turned out to be the…Details