We should be skeptical of anyone who claims to love liberty and yet does not support state and local nullification of unconstitutional federal laws.Details
Arizona SB1291 is a bill which takes strong steps towards nullifying “indefinite detention” powers. While this bill has passed its first committee, it still needs to be approved by another Senate committee before a full Senate vote.Details
It seems like we can’t go one day without another fact-free, historically-illiterate, unhinged rant from MSNBC’s top Obama stooge Chris Matthews.
A recent screed took shots at nullification and featured all of the usual absurdities, tying it in with racists and confederates. Desperate to protect his lord and savior Obama during a time that his presidency is plagued with scandal and incompetency, he comes out with the all-too-familiar canard that anyone pushing back against his agenda is a ‘racist.’Details
One criticism leveled against nullification is that it is usually a “partisan thing.”
In other words, most of the proponents of nullifying Obamacare are Republicans. Also, a vast majority of proponents of nullifying the war on drugs are Democrats.
This is a true statement.
With most nullification efforts now underway, the effort is partisan. This is not a real argument against the movement; it is simply an observation. In reality, any effort, with certain exceptions, will of necessity be partisan. (As it will be nullifying an act of the federal government controlled at the time by one party or the other).
Of course, these same critics would hold up the Patriot Act (passed by a Republican, and sustained now for five years by a Democrat) as some shining example of good governance. To these people, the fact that an act passed Congress, the Senate, and was signed by the president, gives automatic legitimacy, as long as some of the people who passed the bill were on both sides of the “aisle.” They would have you believe that the acts of Congress all represent the consensus of the nation at large.
But what is consensus?Details
A recent opinion article on creators.com headlines, “Let States Write Their Own Pot Laws.”
The Orange County Register editorial board argues that the president should move marijuana to Schedule II status, making it easier to prescribe in medical marijuana states. It also points out the confused signals coming from the Department of Justice. And this was before the DOJ announced it would not challenge new laws for recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado, even while insisting weed is still illegal.
“I think they’re confused about what to do,” the California coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said.
After arguing extensively for reclassifing marijuana, the board brushes by the real solution. Pointing out that states are the “crucible of democracy, it says Obama “should to ask his Justice Department and DEA to let the 50 states establish, and enforce, their own marijuana laws.”
In fact, nobody should need to ask permission. The federal government has no power to regulate plants grown within a state.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
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
Three townships in Michigan have joined the wave of resistance to federal violations of the Second Amendment, as Comins, Greenwood and Big Creek passed resolutions proclaiming the unconditional right of their residents to keep and bear arms.
The Big Creek resolution passed unanimously, while the Comins resolution passed 4 to 1. The Greenwood resolution was extended to protect the entire Bill of Rights and passed unanimously. The resolution was also introduced in Clinton Township, where it was tabled and will be discussed at a later meeting.
Activists in Oscoda County say they hope to get similar resolutions passed in all of the townships within county limits, sending a message to state legislators that they must act to protect Second Amendment rights from federal intrusion.
“I plan to get all our townships on board, then start on other counties around us, and hope it snowballs into a statewide process.”
Joseph Stone introduced the resolution in Big Creek Township.
“I am a strong Second Amendment and open carry advocate and we need to continue to fight for our rights,” he said.Details
Michigan is following the lead of Colorado and Washington as their State Legislature has proposed a bill that would decriminalize possession of marijuana and another that would affirm the right of medical marijuana dispensaries to operate.
House Bill 4623 was introduced in April by Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and was co-sponsored by six other legislators as well. This bill would reduce possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil infraction punishable by a small fine and would serve as an important rebuke of the war on drugs, one of the federal government’s most evident ongoing policy blunders.
Although this bill does not completely legalize marijuana for possession and cultivation, it does prevent people found with up to an ounce on them from being prosecuted criminally. Instead of potentially facing jail time and heavy fines, first time offenders would be fined no more than $25 dollars with second time offenders fined a maximum of $50 and offenses from that point on would be fined no more than $100.Details
We at the Tenth Amendment Center have promoted the idea that nullification brings people from both sides of the political equation together. And although we have seen mainstream voices from the establishment left and establishment right come together to denounce nullification, the idea continues to catch on amongst the freedom-starved American people. One recent example of nullification catching on comes from the left as author W.W. Houston wrote a recent article for the Economist on May 9 triumphing the idea of nullification and states rights.
Houston began his article with an interesting anecdote about the founding of the Republic of Texas. According to legend, freedom fighters in Texas held up a flag over their cannon that said ‘COME AND TAKE IT’ in defiance of their Mexican oppressors. Houston brought up a recent bill that had passed the Texas House that declared all federal gun control laws to be null and void, comparing it to their revolutionary ancestors. Usually, you would expect a mainstream media outlet at this point to go on a tyrade against this legislation calling it “crazy”, “racist”, “extreme” and every other derogatory term they could come up with. However, this time the Economist has thrown us a curve ball and is actually running the pro-States Rights point of view.
The article goes on to give a solid description of the arguments and counter-arguments for nullification before closing tremendously with an eloquent defense of states rights. “The discretion of states to decide what federal laws they will enforce strikes me as part of a healthy division and balance of government power. Requiring that states devote its citizens’ resources to the enforcement of laws with which the state legislature disagrees seems to me straightforwardly to deny the democratic sovereignty of the state’s people,” Houston said.Details