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If you follow conservative politics, you should be familiar with the Heritage Foundation.
Heritage was probably the most influential Washington D.C. think tank during the Bush Administration. It has long acted as a cheerleader for all kinds of federal power usurpations and rightfully received criticism for proposing legislation that was basically a forbearer for Obamacare. Heritage also frequently criticizes the principles of nullification. The organization often acts as a conservative wolf in sheep’s clothing, advocating for unlimited federal power.
That’s what makes Is the Supreme Court the Final Word? by Rich Tucker, extra surprising. Tucker writes, “Supreme Court decisions are crucial, but they are not the final word. It’s our duty as American citizens to keep pushing back, through all three branches of government, against any proposal that violates the Constitution. That’s the way to make sure our union can endure for another 225 years.”
The article gets even better from there. Tucker argues that pushback “works at the state level as well” listing ballot proposals as a way to circumvent Supreme Court rulings.
It’s unfortunate that he didn’t bring up the Jefferson-Madison-approved rightful remedy of nullification, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Here we have a conservative think tank actually suggesting that Supreme Court justices are not our overlords, their words are not canon, and that we should fight for constitutional government regardless of what asinine opinions they might offer.
It is this line of thinking the Tenth Amendment Center has pushed since its inception. Still, we should remain skeptical and ask questions about this new tact from Heritage. You have to wonder, why is it opening its mind to the idea of resisting the courts all of a sudden? Why are these folks changing their tune? How come it has taken them so long to come to these conclusions when the answers are clear within the writings of the Founding Fathers?Details
A bill has passed through the Texas State Senate that aims to protect the privacy of their residents from the police state by instituting strict limitations on the use of unmanned drones in surveillance by law enforcement.
Dubbed the ‘Texas Privacy Act’, H.B. 912 is an attempt to rein in potential abuses related to the rapidly-developing drone technology that has made its hands into the hands of government at the state and federal levels. The bill was originally authored by Rep. Gooden (R-District 4) and has amassed over 100 co-sponsors since it was introduced Feb. 1, showing vast and bipartisan support for stopping the government’s Orwellian takeover of our skies.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 128-11 on May 10th. (roll call here) And last Friday the Senate passed a slightly amended version of the bill by a vote of 29-1. (roll call here). HB912 will now go back to the State House to either concur on the amendments or form a conference committee to approve a final version acceptable to both the House and Senate. Then it’s off to Governor Perry’s desk for a signature.
The bill states that “a person commits an offense if the person uses or authorizes the use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft to capture an image without the express consent of the person who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image.” The offender would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if they were caught violating this part of the law.
Data gathered by law enforcement illegally ‘may not be used as evidence in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding’ according to the bill and ‘is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for its release.’ This incentivizes police to not misuse the drone technology unless they wish to risk jeopardizing their entire investigation.Details
Michigan is yet another state that is fighting for its residents’ right to keep and bear arms. Over a dozen State House members are co-sponsoring a Firearms Freedom Act that was introduced on Jan. 24.
House Bill 4099 is supported by Reps. MacMaster, Genetski, Lauwers, Rogers, McMillin, Somerville, Pettalia, Daley, Rendon, Kurtz, Haveman, Kelly and Johnson and is intended to stop the federal gun grabbers from controlling firearms made within the State of Michigan. Michigan joins Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and a whole slew of other states that are battling back against federal gun control measures with legislation introduced during the 2013 session.
The bill asserts state sovereignty and affirms the natural rights of its citizens stating, “Amendment II of the constitution of the United States reserves to the people the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Michigan was admitted to statehood, and the guaranty of the right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Michigan and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Michigan and the United States.”Details
A bill introduced in the North Dakota State House of Representatives looks to protect the privacy of its residents from the police state by making a set of guidelines for the use of unmanned drones in surveillance by law enforcement.
House Bill 1373 was introduced by Reps. Becker, Anderson, Beadle, Heilman, Hofstad, Monson, Rohr, Toman, Hanson and Sen. Sitte. It was first read on Jan. 21 and referred to the Judiciary Committee where no action has presently been taken.
The bill comes in response to the growing national concern over predator drones, the controversial machines used to drop bombs onto people in foreign lands, coming to American skies en masse. Public safety concerns abound after repeated instances of crashes both domestic and abroad. Another troubling bit of information is that the Air Force maintains the right to spy on and collect data from drone missions about American citizens without so much as a warrant for up to 90 days as long as they claim it wasn’t intentional.
The text of HB 1373 states that “except as provided in section 4 of this Act, a law enforcement agency may not use an unmanned aircraft for surveillance of a person within the state or for the surveillance of personal or business property located within the borders of the state to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct.” Section 4 of the Act gives law enforcement the right to use drones for weather-related catastrophes, exigent circumstances requiring reasonable suspecion to prevent immediate danger to life or bodily harm and national border patrol.Details
Facts: Pennsylvania’s 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery predated the Constitution by 7 years. It predated Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation by 83 years and it predated the 13th amendment by 85 years.
Pennsylvania’s emancipation act also preceded the end of slavery by more than 230 years (and counting) in the handful of countries where slavery is still practiced today.Details
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?Details
House Bill 149 (LS: 83R) – Texas Liberty Preservation Act.
HB149 is a Bill introduced in the Texas Legislative Process on Nov. 12, 2012, by its author (Rep. Lyle Larson) and currently sits at stage 1 (filed). The design of the Bill is to nullify portions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) implemented by the federal law. Specifically, sections 1021 and 1022 are being made invalid and illegal in the State of Texas. You can read the entire bill here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/HB00149I.pdf#navpanes=0
Section (1) (b) (1) of the Bill lays out the constitutional groundwork of the findings that prompted the bill in the first place. It notes the limitations of the federal government under the 10th Amendment. It read:
(b) The legislature finds that:
(1) The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution authorizes the United States federal government to exercise only those powers specifically delegated to it under Article I, Section 8, United States Constitution;
Many people think that whatever the federal government creates as law it is the “supreme law of the land” but that is not true. Often the federal government creates laws that are thrown out because they go beyond the powers delegated to the government in the Constitution. Section (1) (b) (3) of the Bill makes this point eloquently clear. It reads:Details
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!Details