Montgomery County, PA Endorses Nullification

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.

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Heritage Foundation Questions Supremacy of Robed Federal Goons

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?

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Oscoda County Leads Michigan Effort To Nullify Federal Gun Control

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.

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Michigan Legislators Taking Action To Nullify Prohibition

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.

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The Mainstream Media Is Recognizing The Supremacy of Nullification

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.

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Why Local Matters

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce again presented a plan earlier this year that attempted to liberate grocers in the state to sell wine and liquor. Soon after, they presented a bill to the legislature, hoping to liberalize the state’s regulation of alcoholic beverages. This is a regular occurrence, although it’s entirely unnecessary, given the recent history of alcohol legislation in the state of Kansas. If all of this seems strange to you, allow me to provide a little context.

Kansas has a storied history of alcohol prohibition; it was the first state to enact such a government program. Voters first moved to prohibit alcohol in 1881, and such restrictions continued until 1948 when again, a majority of Kansans voted to lift some prohibitions. Of course the 21st Amendment was adopted fifteen years prior, but that was of no concern to the legislature, who never considered the amendment, and to this day has not ratified it.

Carrie Nation made a name for herself in Kansas, helping to start a chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement. She began with harassing saloon owners and consumers of alcohol and within a short period was destroying their property. Wielding a hatchet, she would march into a saloon and attack the bar, before smashing as much of the stock as she could, to prevent the consumption of alcohol. Nation claimed to have been called to do this, and during her career of “hatchetations,” as they came to be known, was arrested dozens of times.

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Will DC be the next “State” to Nullify Federal Prohibition?

Oh the irony to think that the capital city of these united states will be nullifying their own law even while their agents are raiding dispensaries in the states.  The voters in the city of DC approved medical Marijuana in 1998, and finally all of the licensing is complete.  The dispensary by the name of Capital City Care will be the first to open on the 22nd of April within blocks of the White House, and with a clear view of the US Capital.  This will be a hugevictory for the forces of liberty, in the face of the growing police state.

After resisting the clear will of the American people for so long, DC could have to call it quits and accept the demise of the war on drugs (police state), as they join the 18 states that have already nullified the war on pot (as a legal drug) .  As I have always said, weed is much like the war on drugs.

Respectable opinion on weed seems to be that it is a “gateway drug”.  This is meant to give the impression that one puff of it will lead one through a gateway and down a path towards desperation, and dependence upon drugs for daily functioning.  Doing unspeakable things for the next hit of your current drug of choice.  Theft and violence will become the life of the addict or so says this paradigm.  In reality it is the war on drugs that is the gateway, it is a gateways towards tyranny, and authoritarianism.

It is ironically the so called “Constitutional” Conservative who are the biggest cheerleaders for this insane policy.  Even as they hold the correct position on so many policies that you should not pile additional laws on already illegal behavior (such as opposing gun control because murder is already illegal, or opposing hate crimes because the crimes they punish are already illegal.)  None the less they point towards the culture of crime that surrounds the drug trade (as surrounds all black markets regardless of the banned items for sale) and say “look drugs cause murders and robberies.”  Murder and theft are already illegal, so why is that an argument for prohibition?

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Missouri 2nd Amendment Preservation Act One Step Away from the Governor’s Desk

“The Second Amendment Preservation Act” successfully made its way through a Missouri State Senate Committee on Wednesday, bringing the state ever closer to protecting the natural rights of their citizens.

HB 436 was passed by a Senate Committee on a 4-1 vote. The bill was already passed by a strong veto-proof majority in the State House. It now awaits a full vote in the State Senate before it is fully passed and sent to the governor.

UPDATED 04-26 We’ve been informed that the Senate committee removed an unrelated amendment that the house inserted, so after passing the full senate it will first go back to the House for concurrence, then to the governor’s desk.

If passed into law, HB436 would nullify virtually every federal gun control measure on the books – or planned for the future.   It reads, in part:

All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

(2) Such federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations include, but are not limited to:
(a) The provisions of the federal Gun Control Act of 1934;
(b) The provisions of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968;
(c) Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services which could have a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
(d) Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which could have a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
(e) Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which could have a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
(f) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of any type of firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and
(g) Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.

The bill also does a service of providing the State Legislature and the public-at-large with a history lesson that is particularly appreciated by Tenthers, saying, “The limitation of the federal government’s power is affirmed under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States is reserved to the states respectively, or to the people themselves.”

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Missouri Looking To Amend State Constitution To Bolster the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The State of Missouri is getting serious when it comes to protecting the gun rights of its citizens, and the legislature has proposed amending their State Constitution to show they that mean business.

Senate Joint Resolution 14 was passed by a landslide 29 to 2 vote on Apr. 4, and this proposed State Constitutional Amendment would provide ‘that a citizen has the right to keep and bear arms in defense of their family, in addition to the current rights in defense of home, person and property.’

The bill gets even better from there as it would not just re-affirm gun ownership rights for individuals but it would also remove ‘language stating that the right to keep and bear arms did not justify the wearing of concealed weapons’ and provide ‘that the rights guaranteed under this provision of the Constitution are unalienable. The State of Missouri is obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.’

The language in this proposed amendment is clear that the State of Missouri must act decisively in protecting the God-given right to bear arms. It is unclear how this would exactly take shape during a full-scale federal ban and seizure of firearms, but this type of action is a decisive rebuke of the would-be gun grabbers and creates the legal requirement that the State defend against such acts. The message is being sent loud and clear to the federal usurpers that at least one state will be firmly on the side of the people should they overstep their bounds on this important issue.

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